Friday, August 11, 2006

Less Stress — Write Away!

Adulthood has its benefits, but relaxation is rarely one of them.

As an adult, one has Responsibilities, the siren call of maturity. Often I wish I were a brilliant, irresponsible artist who had a coterie to pick up after me. You know, pay the bills, deal with the fans, secure drugs, and keep my "accidental" tranny prostitute hookups out of the press.

The title of the story is "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities," but my life right now feels like "Responsibilities Begin in Nightmares."

If you're wondering blog you've wandered onto, don't worry, it's good ol' Bookfraud, just having a good ol' breakdown. And writing, that one activity in which I could escape the stresses and turmoil of the world, has turned into a depression-inducing, stress-generating activity.

I don't have children, but it's beginning to feel that way. There's been changes at work that have put everyone on edge. My father died last year, and my mother is moving out of the house she's lived in for 23 years, and, super-diligent son that I am, I have to help figure out her finances, long-distance. I gotta figure out a trip to see her to help with her move, and see if I can stay on track with a long-awaited vacation. Our apartment needs work, we need new furniture, the toilet's broken. I was planning to drink a gallon of Gatoraid on my next flight.

A million other things are on my mind, and several of these have to do with writing. Including: what the fuck am I going to do with my agent, what the fuck am I going to do about my novel (which is not before any editors at present), and what the fuck I'm going to blog about, and shit, should I just join Murray's Monastery and Jewish Deli, West Palm Beach, Fla.?

Behold the future

In my early 20s, when the weight of the real world started bearing upon me, I would cope with typically immature means, such as drinking and experimenting with other people's sexuality.

Now that I'm in my 40s, drink no longer has the same copacetic effects, and experimenting with others' sexuality isn't as interesting. These days, I usually try the following ways to cope with stress, none of them particularly original or effective:

1. Instead of talking to Wife, a therapist, or Little Elvis (best friend, you know), I like to take my stress into my sleep, so that I can wake up in the middle of the evening, dripping with sweat, looking like a corpse drained of blood, screaming, "Yes, Sir, I would like another!"

2. Eat anything that does not contain olives, brains, or formaldehyde.

3. Fantasize about sex with green-skinned alien chicks, like Captain Kirk.

4. Hit the gym, and watch it hit back. Very painful.

5. Sit on the edge of the marital bed, head in hands, on the verge of tears, pleading with Wife that it wouldn't be so bad if I played poker for a living.

There was a time, not so long ago, that I would have made writing fiction the A-Number 1 way to deal with stress. But no more. Though I have no deadlines nor contracts to fulfill, my fiction writing can cause bouts of anxiety-ridden fits of pulling the hair out, for only because writing is one of the few career options that could relieve the stress of all the other crap, and if I don't make it work, am I going to be a maitre d' at Red Lobster my whole life?

At some point, the stress becomes neurosis, and I really start to lose sleep. Am I missing something? Have all of these years working a full-time job destroyed any hope I have for a writing career? Did I not take enough risks when I was young? Is there any hope that the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol will knock on my door? Is global warming going to destroy the world? Will Al Queda? Will the sun rise tomorrow? Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghkdfjfuhhrefofdlsfadjfqjkazjppmhuhnyt!

Now, to those who say, "Gee, Bookfraud, instead of going and spending two weeks at the funny farm, why don't you take a stress management seminar?"

To them I say: no! I hate stress management. Stress, by definition, is bad. I want less stress, not to manage it! LESS STRESS! LESS LESS LESS STRESS DAMNIT!

Oh, for those younger days — post-college, pre-career, and fully naïve years in which I really thought that my job was simply a means to an end: I would work for a few years, publish a novel, and take my rightful place in the literati.

May I have another?

Now I'm so stressed out about Life, I don't even dream the dream anymore.

Writing used to be a refuge, a place in which I could put my twisted ideas to paper and create worlds in which others could partake. I enjoyed writing, but such happiness has melted like ice cream.

I am going out of town tomorrow, hopefully to relax. I'll let you know if I survived the weekend. More noveltainments Monday. Or something. Until then, I will deal with my stress by leaving you with a string of semi-profane, meaningless words:



Hippie Toejam Festival.

Penile implants.

Dingleberry Hut.