On Farming, Nabokov, Internet, Culture, Knowledge, Writing

Last night I stayed up late watching farming motivation, tomato porn videos on YouTube. The guys was showing how you can greatly increase pollination of the tomato plant by fingering, slapping, shaking the plant, and around the fruiting special bits. Tomatoes carry both the males and the females stuff, so by vibrating the former you impregnate the later. I had noticed last night some drying blossoms on my own, think the heat and lack of water zapped them. Video made me realize maybe they were not pollinated and that made them weaker too.

I’v found my part of the stream and it’s having a cooling effect, or a redirecting of my energy from writing/reading to the farm. Not to say I’ve haven’t been doing either. It’s always there, crawling around, waiting. My JD Salinger binge had me noticeably nihilistic, the Camus stretch ruined me, and then the The Feud by Alex Beam about the friendship and subsequent “fight” between writer Nabokov and Literati Edmund Wilson got my haunches up and has sent me spiraling down the black hole of conspiracy world (Dave Chappelle, Kanye, Johnny Deep, may all be MKULTRA victims and clones). Despite Mr Beam’s and everyone else’s explicit statement not to see any of Nabokov’s work, Lolita and beyond, as confessional or biographical, I couldn’t see otherwise.

I know Tolkien was like that, didn’t like any real world parallels pointed out. I get the psychological need to distance ourselves from the thing. It ruins it for some, like the Wizard of Oz, doesn’t allow them to slip into into suspended disbelief. The real question, is there any other mode? Everything seems made up these days. Don’t know exactly why. Has to be the TV and internet, we live in little electronic bubbles of our choosing, inherently artificial, the so-called external reality has begun to mirrors this process. It all begins to break down at a point, like CNN current meme debacle, old traditional barriers start to dissolve.

I read the news, and about the world, like it is regular installments of my favorite Sci-Fi series. I’m using the internet through tethering my phone. And there’s only one spot that works in the house.. The upstairs window facing north. So the bedroom has become the office. It was nice to have the full desktop back, the youtube, all of it. Senior year of High School,  I made this ceramic block with the word “Knowledge” on it. It’s always been sort of a totem for me, a symbol of first principles.  I set my phone on that, pointed out the window, and it works well enough. And I don’t know while getting reintegrated, I realize  current events are just insane, nightmarish, other-worldly. You try to settle yourself down, cut the anxiety with a bit of reason. And if you shut it off and maybe went and wandered a field, or river, or something you could find ways to forget it, but you sort of don’t want to. You want to see where the story is going. How it will all play out. Stories and book are like that. Trying to write “popular” fictions gets me in a similar way. Conjuring up twisted characters and thick drama, set a tone for the spirit and day, which can sometimes feel negative and costly. I don’t like hurting people, fiction or otherwise, which doesn’t necessarily make for great fiction. It could, but you got to work harder for it, I think. Stop being a pussy, is what the shadow self jeers with.

The field almost feels easier. Just different, I guess. Farm work taxes the body, but nourishes the spirit, art work taxes both, and leads the body to lethargy and the spirit to turn manic. I’ve set up an academic hour in the evenings six to seven oclock, then out to the field for two hours to weed, mulch, and water. Balance. Knowledge.

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Morning View

6:00AM It all streams together, days, weeks, and I imagine soon years. 6AM Coen, almost 2, a monkey in the bed. He pats us both, “nice, nice, nice.” Then he tries to scare me with a boo, but he hasn’t quite mastered the technique to it. I give him the zombie moan and he dives into bed next to Mom, then sits up waits to hear it again, I oblige, he dives back down. We snuggle, smooch, try to steal a little more rest from the bed. The sheets were all clean last night, and the bed was quickly made up, so no little feet could track dirt or crumbs into it during their movie night.

Got in over a a thousand words on work on progress tentatively titled WK. Before that yesterday, same 6AM, I was able to edit the last several pages of Draft 2 of Kill The Television. Draft 2 saw plenty of chopping and rearranging. I have this thing, over-attachment issues I guess you’d call them. It makes me do things the hardest way possible. Like in High School, I almost didn’t graduate, it was half way through senior year I was behind two or three whole courses. My Mom had married this douchebag and moved us forty-five minutes away from my school. A newly received drivers license brought that extra boost of freedom, so senior year was spent in a abominable haze.

One day I was sleeping it off in the basement in Winterset. The door opened and down the steps came real Dad. I don’t remember what he said. It was something about school and how there was a possibility I wouldn’t graduate. I remember I cried. Still like a kid I tried to mount some muddled defense. I’m sure I didn’t communicate the why very well, and oddly enough I realized as my tears dried, and my heart slowed down, he was embarrassed too, by making me cry, everything. A double frustration being misunderstood and embarrassed. Point of the wander is I ended up taking several community college courses, along with a full load through regular high school. During lunch I would have to go in do all these assignments and readings at once. And since I felt like I was being challenged, that the tempo was finally turned up, I tore through the material. I remember the counselor, how she felt like a breath of fresh air, looked and talked to me like a human being. Smiling, teasing me that I was too smart to be in this position.

I think I’m doing the same thing with my writing. I feel very little impetus, outside perhaps this blog, and a few of the other things that have come up, to actually distribute what I am working on. I’m becoming a hoarder of words and novels. I have hard time objectively evaluating whether or not they are any good, a feeling which grows as they reach a stage of completion. I feel like I’m achieving some balance in the editing and writing question, but the retail end still doesn’t seem clear or obvious. It sounds corny, but its true, I don’t work well with others. I started with a writing group, attended a meeting. Was invited back to submit my work, did, read and prepared comments for all the other members, but then when the day the second meeting came, I cancelled like a dickhead. I don’t even know why. I liked all the other authors. They were friendly and entertaining. I liked the meetings too, enjoyed myself, enjoyed reading their stories. That Wednesday I was tired from the routine, and noise, and other things, and I just bailed out. I sent an email apologizing, mea culpa. The response was beyond understanding, so not a huge deal, but I’m just noting the self-sabotaging aspect of my personality.

Writing is my goal and dream and I think I shouldn’t be waiting for the real Dad to come stomping down the stairs telling me to get my shit together. That’s my point. You got to be great for yourself, in whatever way fits you. That’s the lesson. Be a hard case if you got to be, just don’t lie about it, to yourself or others. 7:36AM

9:52AM Breakfast sausage, eggs, hot coffee, doughnut bites Britney made last night. Me and the gang wrestle. My kids learn to take bumps at twelve months. They play there part well. I’ll be Apocalypto or whoever, get one, rassle him down. Then bro comes flying in with an elbow drop, freeing the other guy. They battle in combo. I teach them the art of fake wrestling, just real enough to make it work, but not real enough to hurt. They do pretty good at it, most the time. Eventually someone will get hurt, a missed grabbed, twisted up in some legs. We stop the show, dust off, and usually go back to it. Mom likes it but doesn’t quite get it. I snatched her exposed leg at one point, go zombie. It inflames the pirate gang. The kick, and smack trying to save Mommy from the Zombie Daddy, to no avail…

Reading: Robert Galbraith Career of Evil

This great song….

Led me to this great song…

Morning Stream

Middle of the night Kein, 4 yrs old, made a run for Mom and Dad’s bed, because it was “so comfortable” The several attempts included a potty break and snuggles from Mom. He does the stiff hand on the bed karate chop, his face coming through the shadows, “I just want to sleep in your bed.” Cute, infuriating. Parenthood.

Woke up to this article, from New York Post titled “Cops arrest knife-wielding clown who chased teen on subway.” I suggest you read it. Take a good look at the picture of the guy. Think about It for a second. Seems to be three options, all of which make me uncomfortable. First one, the money motive. Someone is paying these people to do these pranks, which are actually crimes. The second the perpetrators themselves get off on the act of scaring other people, and the attention, maybe like veteran-clowns down on their luck (the guy was 53).  A version of number two, these people are attentions seeking individuals and really, really, stupid. Or lastly these may just be demon infested, killers clowns from outer space. The second seems the most likely  one and scariest of all. The perpetrators are just like fractured, arrested-development weirdos who don’t get that they’re endangering themselves and others.

There was something about how well that guy was put together that makes me think it’s not number two though. I know crazy people can dress snappy, but its the subtlety of the outfit that gets me. Perfect clown get-up, but blended with the large coat into a grey-man everyday look. Allowing him to get to his stage, before his mission was blown. It’s not over the top. It seems attention seeking, thrill seekers, would want to go for a little more flair in the act.

Couple kids put a school on lock down in my city a couple weeks back dressing up as clowns. My six year old came home talking about the clowns which were scaring everybody. The neighbor kids had been hyping them up. I wanted to write this Literary Theory type of Essay, in the draft I started I titled it The Thin-Line Between Fact & Fiction”. The basic premise was because of how much artificial entertainment the average person ingested in a day through TV and computers, that they now spent more time in that artificial environment then the real, natural world. But further, that if we could sort of transport ourselves over there, what was to say those things couldn’t, and didn’t push back. Stephen King who has made several of these meta-moves in his own work is an interesting way to look at this. The merger of literature and film itself seems to be one of these processes of manifesting the imagination, and he definitely played a role there as well.

The point of all of it was to suggest maybe we need to sober up, dry out. Give our legs a stretch. Get out of the frontal lobe. Dive down into our bones, our heels. That we were losing something, merging with something else. Something that would dehumanize us. The clowns are scary. I also saw this video the other day, about this even more real knife attack in a New York subway. Someone had videoed it on their phone. The men wrestle and then one of them beings stabbing. People clear out, except for the random straggler who tries to scoot passed the scene. The guy who is stabbing has an accomplice, who tells the people who half try to intervene to “keep moving”.

Well, that’s all before the coffee. Take away point, watch your back! Think about things. I think they call it “situational awareness”. See subtle signs of clown gear, make sure you smile at the guy , and look him in the eye. Make sure he’s one of the good ones. And like the guy in other video said, “keep moving”, everything is okay. Not really. That came off a little menacing. I apologize.

Platform of the No-Vote Party

It feels like a dirty thing to say, half of me loves that, the other half is embarrassed, but since Obama Part 1, I am firm member of the No-Vote Party. There are fairly elaborate Constitutional, Legal and Natural Rights based theories that I could offer in support of this position. I instead, as an artist, will turn to analogy and metaphor. Move to a new house and discover two gangs own your neighborhood, they employ basic strong-arm tactics pay us a fee, and we will protect you from the other guys. Both gangs seem to have equal force, and they have established a Mafia strong hold for decades. You can pledge either gang and receive a sort of pass, you won’t be directly targeted, but because it’s a gangland, things aren’t that great. And the amount of the pay-off is always changing, and sometimes the street level guys grab your wife around the shoulders, ask her if she wants go get a drink. And you got to send your kids to the gang’s school, where both gangs send their kids, and before you know it they come home pledging a party line. You get the idea. This is the American political structure. To participate is insanity. The only option is to withdraw consent and run.

On purely Democratic ground the No-Vote party is the strongest, with almost 60% of the population, made up of mainly non-white poor people. I’m basically white, but doubly poor, so I still feel an accepted member. There are some unfavorable sorts, felons I mean, but at least they are interesting and know how to hold their liquor. There are no other collective platforms or beliefs of the No-Vote Party. I would like to suggest the somewhat literary mascot and slogan, from Melville’s Bartleby, “I would prefer not to.” Much like the ingenious character I suggest a similar course. Stay but withdraw your will. Withdrawal your will from a system run by crooks and liars, by wealthy special interest groups, by big money that doesn’t care about you, or this land. I would like to hope the compatriots in the No-Vote party feel the same. Realistically, I know that apathy fuels this majority, but I like to think it is an apathy produced by the realization that every four years this farce of a choice is played out with the same exact names and faces and agenda. All a sane person can do is sit back and say boldly, “I’d prefer not.”

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Two Critiques In And I’m Losing It…

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Not really. And I said this would happen. I made a pathetic joke in my last post about how I would soon be feeling that my work had not received enough praise, and that’s exactly what happened…

So here I sit, trying to figure out am I right or are my two critics right? The criticism, first chapter is too much of an “info-dump”. I know exactly what they mean, and I think ultimately they are right. I’m man enough to admit that. It needs shortened up and tightened up. i need to start more in-scene, in the action.

At the same time, it is the first goddamn chapter! And isn’t all reading ultimately an info-dump? I mean, you are reading hundreds of thousands of word of made up information? How much more dumpy can we get?

And like, earlier today I read some random person’s criticism of Tolkien that he was boring, and all the background information in his work was unnecessary, and I find that fucking shocking, because I absolutely love taking that slow, detailed journey with Tolkien. Not that I’m some Tolkien, not even close.

And like a sick bastard I had to go read the second critic’s story, who I’m pretty sure stopped reading a few hundred words into mine, and whose own posting is a massive info-dump!

It’s petty and ridiculous, and I basically agree with the criticism so I should’t be salty, but fuck. And I’m the one who asked for it, and it’s just one person’s opinion, two people’s opinion actually, and it’s not that great of a story, but man I have worked and worked, and it’s like fuck if you thought this three thousand words was an info-dump, what are you going to think about the other eighty thousands words!?

Breathe. That’s the key. You have to breathe. This is the work. This is the process.

We got one more critic coming down the pike, so stay tuned. (Oh god, more bad writing. Who says “coming down the pike”? It is colloquial and fake, betraying affectation. And then I say “stay tuned” which is again cliche, and anachronistic. You’re not tuning into this at all, goddamn it. Why would I say that?”