Thursday, January 03, 2008

I'm Wicked and I'm Lazy

Before I decided not to publish it, I had written a blog entry indicative of a man bereft of ideas: The Year in Review. Granted, it reviewed subject matter such as Chris “Leave Britney Alone!” Crocker (see below) and Dog Poop Girl (see above), which not only are stupid pop culture footnotes to the real business of 2007 like greed, death and destruction, but have no bearing on the world of writing fiction, which, in a galaxy far, far away, this blog was once dedicated to addressing.

I’ve written about four blog entries over the past four months (do the math), ostensibly because of the ongoing bed bug woes in my household. This ignores several inconvenient truths: one, I don’t fight bed bugs 24/7 (or 12/4, for that matter); and two, despite our bugs and Baby and stress and fights with Wife and lots of anguish, I still have time to play computer games or screw around online for trivial pursuits like Sudoku or important ones like porn.

Whether this poor production stems from fear or laziness, I will not speculate, but I will admit something to which I am loath to disclose: at times, I can be terribly, terrifyingly lazy. (Which makes good fodder for a blog entry in January, 2008: I resolve this year not to be a fat, stupid slug).

This is a deep-seated issue stemming from an abusive childhood. I probably read more than the average child, and was often stymied by certain verbiage in my books. When I would ask my father what a word meant -- alight, cogitate, affectation -- he always had the same damn answer: “Well, son, let’s ask a friend of mine -- Mr. Webster. He has this book called ‘the dictionary.’” My father, thus being doubly didactic, would force me to actually look up the word in the dictionary. If that wasn’t abuse, I don’t know what was.

There were a couple of lessons to be learned here. My father not only wanted me to learn how to use the dictionary and expand my mind, but to learn to stop bugging the crap out of him to get definitions of stupid words. I got the latter but not the former, and it wasn’t until college that I could cogitate upon alighting an intellectual journey filled with affectation and pretension.

But I left Britney alone

Now, of those who know me well, you’re probably a bit surprised. You’re saying, “Why, all these years, I thought Bookfraud was the hardest working man alive! He just put me to shame. And it turns out he goofs off more than George Bush!”

Fear not, familiar fans and foes, fear not. There once was a time that I was the hardest workin’ man in no business. I had two jobs in college, and two jobs after college. When I got it down to one job, I came home every evening to write. I didn't have a car, television or other distraction. If I were 15 years younger, I'd probably be more known in this space for my logorreah than my paucity of output.

But I’m 43, unpublished and unknown, and there are stretches in my life that I seriously contemplate not writing anything creative at all: no novel, no short stories, no blog, nada. For me to have considered this 15 years ago was unthinkable, like giving up breathing or sex.

There are many, many writers who manage prodigious output, and it is during times such as now that I turn to them for inspiration. George Sand wrote dozens of plays, novels, articles and other assorted works. Issac Asimov wrote, like, 500 books. Current belle du jour Steve Almond seems to appear on every shelf and Web site. And then there’s Joyce.

Sloth comes in many forms

Not James Joyce, but Ms. Joyce Carol Oates, who has written and published more in one month than most scribes could hope for in a lifetime. To say she is a graphomaniac is like saying that Proust was a hypochondriac (or Britney is a bad mother) -- deny if you must, but the evidence is overwhelming.

So, to review – I’m not writing much, my default position is sloth derived from a false belief all of my time is spent eradicating bed bugs or fighting with Wife about them, and these very words that you are reading now represent the new Bookfraud, the line of demarcation, the declaration that yes! I will not watch TV or play computer games or spend my idle hours trolling the Internet for Cubs news or searching my scalp for invisible lice but perched before the keyboard, typing until the hour the crow flies and dies and my fingers bleed and my head rolls off my hunched shoulders, until my toes shrivel and hair turns the gray of a February afternoon in Chicago, until I decide I must stop, that the effort is futile, that my life cannot go on until I stop, these words that will be blazingly original and new and never done before, because writers condemned to 43 years of solitude do not have a second opportunity on earth.