Presumably, two million dollar advances don’t happen every day in the publishing industry. Or else, not as often as a writer would hope. I’m not even sure this book is for real–City on Fire by a guy called Garth Risk Hallberg. I really can’t imagine there was a bidding war for the thing. I’d prefer if his middle name were Mellencamp. The book is over 900 pages long, though from what I’ve read and the reviews I’ve seen, it only needs about 250 of those pages. The rest is a lot of gratuitous and rather dull self-analysis by multiple characters who evidently sound very much alike. Writing a book with so many characters is better left to the Russian masters of the late 19th and early 20th century gulags.
The night is the most difficult time and my brain is unleashed on itself.
I went out at 3:30 am in search of death. Not exactly Mission:Impossible here in Mexico.
I settled for a glutton’s supply of chips. I washed a knife with a cake of soap meant to wash clothes.
Do you have a Megapass? I was asked this at 4 am by a wandering drunk.
You have hearing problems? Eres sordo? A Megapass. Do you have one?
Will you kill me?
Cielos! He said. All I asked was if you had a Megapass, which you obviously do not.
I do not have a megapass. I’m, 80% sure I’ve never had one, though who know. Seems that a lot of the time people go right for 99% when they need to come up with a random percentage, which would make 99% right in the middle of the bell curve.
Which makes me think about the Pareto Principle, which (published in 1896) says that for events and products, etc. 80% of a thing is owned, bought, used by only 20% of the people. Pareto was attempting to describe the distribution of Italian land ownership, but it seems to work for many other marker markets as well.
The richest 20% in the world own 80% of the wealth.
It’s a bit like a law of fanaticism. The law of the few, though it translates to non human endeavors as well.
Focus on 20% of the problems and you’ll fix 80%?
Certainly, 20% of this law is 80% true. Or false. Hard to really tell. I’m 99% sure I don’t know the answer.
The world is one giant medio-lateral episiotomy done with the foetal head bulging.
Everybody has a pair of big scissors. They make the regular-sized scissors appear to be even more worthless.
Have you ever tried to throw away an old trash can? Like after you’ve bought a new trashcan. It’s next to impossible.
My budding poverty has prevented me from buying my regular anti-depressant. I usually have a few hours after waking up of feeling very unreal. The world has come off its hinges. Everything rolls and won’t stop. I see television snow when I blink. Does TV snow even exist anymore? Or is everything now a blank blue screen? When I was a kid I had a black and white TV with a rabbit-ear antenna that for some reason I wrapped in foil. It was supposed to make the reception better. When TV first arrived on the market, the reception was one of the largest problems. People put huge aerials on their roof so they could get the local news. Back then you didn’t get any news updates unless you waited for the top of the hour on the radio. Every day they did the Emergency Broadcast Test. It usually happened during the Price is Right. I almost got busted hooking school because of that damn thing. My mom was home for lunch and I had gone home and gotten in bed because school was a miserable gauntlet of pain. I had the TV on mute but I accidentally rolled on the wrong button and my shoulder un-muted the TV during one of those EBS tests. It was a half a minute of a piercing tone. If we had had a nuclear war, the tone would have proceeded news of the bombs. Growing up just outside of Washington, D.C., it was pretty much a given that should we have had nuclear war with the Soviets, news of it would have given those tests a purpose.
Back then when there was a strange or disaster or tragedy, like when the space shuttle blew up in the early 1980s, nobody speculatively accused the Soviets of sabotage. Now, as soon as a brunette goes into a school and starts shooting, we blame jihadi Islam immediately until it’s proven otherwise.
The USSR seemed an unbelievably closed society, considering how large it was. I can remember that when it was obvious that the country was failing and communism was about to fall, some people didn’t want anything to do with the new reality. Most of these people likely had jobs in the defense industry looking back. I remember a lot of people were nervous that with the new “peace dividend,” the country would be sent flailing out of control to the left. And we would certainly be able to cut out trillion dollar defense spending. But that never happened. I read stories about how now more than ever we needed a larger army and more weapons. To suggest otherwise was unpatriotic. We needed to step on the gas, to floor it now that we were speeding away from the Cold War. It was around then when I first read about the internet. I had a friend who had a modem and told me about how it worked. He said he could use the modem to log into the city’s public library site though he didn’t use the word “site” because it was essentially just nonsense. I think you could reserve a book using the primitive language.
I had dreams of using this system to buy and sell stocks.
How did I turn out into a completely broke drug-addict starving writer living in a Third World country? Does a person still have any potential when they reach 40? I was waiting until 40 because I imagined it might make me feel as though I’d finally grown up. It only made me feel more out of shape and less able to do something about it.
Here comes the tide of low feelings which turn suicidal very quickly. As soon as I run out of writing to write, I immediately start to sink into the sand pit of self-hatred.
Eleven days until I can buy food and medicine. Only 11 damn days.
Luckily I have enough fresh water so that I don’t have to boil then cool and strain two or three times before drinking. You can’t boil away pesticides.
I need to buy soap, razors, and do a huge laundry. I can imagine that I smell like acetone, my body in ketosis. I tried to sharpen an old razor but it was too rusty. So, I started to grow a damn beard. Most of my beard hairs are coming in snow white. Interesting. A good bit of the hair on my head is as well. I can’t imagine dying your hair just because it’s going grey or white. Who needs to take on another thing they need to do until the end of their lives? It’s bad enough being tethered to a prescription drug like the anti-depressant and benzo I have to take. Worse when you run out and go into acute precipitated withdrawals. That happened to me for a couple weeks in 2003 when I moved back to Brooklyn for the first time since I moved to Nevada. I ran out of both. But back then it was possible to order drugs off the internet. And I had credit on credit cards (before my ex ruined my financial life). I paid maybe $200 and received a letter from customs saying they had seized my meds. So I wrote to the company. They sent out two more shipments. I thought they were dicking me around but this time I received both packages in the mail just a day or two apart. Suddenly, I had 400 2 mg tablets of klonopin. I could walk outside again. I had cable, a futon, a desktop with a huge flatscreen that could also be used to watch TV. I had a desk on order. I also had a wife who was a legal hooker working in a brothel outside of Reno, Nevada. She asked if she should send me some money. No, I said. I didn’t want that blood money. Or maybe it would better be described as sexual fluid money?
One day I hope I can machete my way through the million or two words I’ve written over the period since. I’d like to get it down to normal book size and publish it. Having a basic understanding of the nonfiction book market, I’m almost certain that it won’t sell more than ten copies. It’s about mental illness, a family of prostitutes, Nevada marriage and sex. Sex and unsex. If unsex was a real word.
My goal was to get her out of the business. She had started on her own and she got herself out of the business on her own. But she did it by getting arrested enough times and becoming a felon so that she couldn’t work at one of the brothels anymore. She isn’t even allowed to drive. Of course, with a meth habit like she had, she just started working illegally, seeing random guys in Reno hotels. That story always depresses me and being depressed at this time of day is almost too much for me. I need to try to hide my keys from myself so I won’t go for any late night walks into oncoming traffic. How do you intentionally hide something from yourself? It’s like playing yourself at chess. You always secretly root for one of your two selves.
I’m rooting for anybody who isn’t me. The guy in the speeding van who will kill me?
They couldn’t take out Stephen King with a speeding van. Maybe that should be a lesson to me. Unphased by literary critics and out-of-control speeding vans.
Muy mal, me imaginlo.