It’s not as if novel writing is a bag of picnics, but I don’t want to be a teacher forever. I don’t even want to finish the year. At least with a novel the audience can pick it up and put it down at their own pace and there’s no mandated hour-and-a-half session twice a week during which a given body of like human organisms is expected to jive with you on a mental level. Afternoon classes, the odds are scattershot at best, given the youth of the student and their likely late-night regimen of candy and caffeine and sexually charged dorm steps conversations, and they’re supposed to show up at 3:00 and 5:00 everyday with their minds unwrapped and ready to receive the guidance towards knowledge as best you can lay it out for them, it’s a devil’s errand, I feel abusive trying to convince kids of things like dying is bad and maybe we shouldn’t nuke Pakistan and what happens is I argue too well for the devil and they all walk out thinking, yeah, that would actually solve everything if we just killed everybody else.
Then I sit down at the novel keyboard with my big ideas that remain as clouds when all reports called for rain, and I wiggle my fingers and shake my umbrella at the sky and nothing, not a thing. You have to have faith in something, as a human, otherwise you’re the deadest of meats, and my faith right now is in writing and baseball and baseball is failing me as I watch the American Leaguers hobble their decrepit designated asses around the bases and of course writing is a bomb in the pants too, right when I need it most. You must have a faith that there are un-understandable things, so that everything else is attainable, but right now baseball seems like a mix of athletic luck and amphetamines and writing is no more than an ability to randomize effectively and this is leaving everything else in life as pedantic dust on my tongue, the stuff of fools, dropped from the ranks of the attainable to the why-would-I-bother. I need to believe that writing is more than picking the correct weird thing, and that baseball can dissociate itself from all of the other professional sports and give pleasure to the players beyond a paycheck. I just got a new glove. For my birthday, my girlfriend, terrific. I need to remember the marvel of physics, and that no one really gets why gravity. How, sure, but not why. Ballistic projections. The sweet spot. Not the physics of the sweet spot, but the queer rush to the soul of that connection, the way your mind sparks aflame at the instantaneous smell of it, pap, there it goes, fast as it can.
I’m in fiction because I believe, sometimes, that if it is done right the audience can hit that sweet spot with you. The writer is supposed to bring half the zipper. I’ve gone on the public record lately as being anti-poetry, but that’s only because the purest poetry seems more often not to give a fuck about the audience. Make loud noises: A gunshot, or a hammer on the kitchen table? It’s not important if there’s only one person in the room. I’ve never understood poetry noises. Not for lack of trying, it’s because they don’t want to be understood. They call you into the room with them, the poets, and they say turn around, and they make their loud noises but don’t tell you which is which. You can ask, but the best poets will remain silent, and move on to their university jobs. The second class poets will say, It’s up to you, and sign their souls away to adjunct teaching, and the lousy poets will say, oops, I should’ve asked you to turn around first, to which I will say back, let’s talk more about your fiction because you’re clearly out of practice.
But, oddly, or perhaps not, the majority of poets are lovely people, whereas fiction people are about 50/50.
This, ignore this. This is late-night novelist neurotic rambling, a guitar string complaining about being wound too tight. I haven’t been sleeping so well.