Tuesday, December 06, 1994

I might write a story about a crew of road workers, guys who pave roads and highways under those lights that are exactly like the sun; whose task it is also of course to paint the dividing lines. When it comes time to lay down the big white stripes the foreman tells this motley group of ex-cons and speed freaks to "paint a bright straight one, boys." He says this every single time, and for this and many other affronts the men despise their boss with a sinister passion. One night it begins raining just as they're about to put down the lines, so they all go to this tittie bar instead and get absolutely shitfaced and drag the foreman, whose name is Doug, out into a weedy lot behind the bar, in the rain, and each take turns raping the shit out of his ass. In the end they paint a big sloppy streak down his back and into his ass crack and leave him for dead.

Finch is wondering why we should go to DC with no money to play in a little hole. I think we should go, but I see his point. Since we have to be in New Hampshire the following night, we might have bitten off more than we can chew, or sucked more than we can swallow. We'll see.

Monday, December 05, 1994

We played in NYC on Friday. Have a sense of obligation now to document our comings and goings, as it were, but I'm not sure how it will come off. Anything can be described successfully, I guess. Not much to say about an experience that we had already had over and over, some just like this night, others not. Most just like this night. Went to the Downtown Lounge, on Houston St., a street too wide and dangerous to sustain a cogent night life, it would seem. But when we arrived there was a darkly clad crowd in a small hot room, smoking cigs and listening to some thrash punk band. We went on after many hours of waiting, and shooting pool. One guy who beat me said as he was leaving, cheerily: "Time to go home and be sick." By the time we played there was hardly anyone there. Had a good set, could not get the sound guy/manager to give us a nickel. Something about how the chick with the door money had gone home. He was shaking his head and looking down as he spoke, and fidgeting strangely with a little strip of white plastic. "Sorry. You should have asked sooner." We bought a couple of bottles of Olde English and headed home.

Saturday was a much better night, at Leo's in Portland, Maine. We were greeted by an impossibly good natured hippie cool guy who brightly offered free Guinness ("Just don't let it get out of hand") and pizza. Played for a small but extremely enthusiastic crowd. We never get new music up here, they said. You guys are so different. They seemed intent on telling us just what it meant to them that we had come up, how wonderful it was. A drunk fat chick wanted to get laid. An exile from Connecticut wanted news from home, was fascinated that we were from down there, probably figured every Connecticut band sounded like us now. Altogether a really good time. Listened to WFAN on the way home. The voice of the Jets, Mets, Knicks and the Rangers.

Friday, December 02, 1994

The great thing about these computers is that when you have absolutely nothing to say you can make a mark on the paper, or the screen or whatever, like some pretty /////////////////////'''''''''''''''''''or222222229-=9iooupp86ivfwxsbyn8unl, some nonsense and in a hundred million years of leaning exasperatedly on the computer, depressed and grieving from a near eternity of writer's block, you might have written The Odyssey or maybe at least a solid detective story. Just like that! Wondrous machine.

Microsoft software defines all of our lives: identically laid out resumes, memos, lost and found ads; fonts falling in and out of favor, clip art, spreadsheets; everything rigidly and meticulously formatted. What standard(s) are we gravitating towards? What to do with the utter loss of aesthetic originality in the workplace? Who cares? Everything is such a breeze. Printer chooser. E-mail. Will there be a tremendous backlash, a revolt, even, against what is perceived finally as nothing more than aesthetic and methodological fascism imposed on the entire world by some vague horde of brats in California? They mean well, sort of. Or at least they never meant to devastate the mind of every single living human being. They have not-bad aesthetic instincts and know-how and the level of efficiency and productivity that their work points to is astounding. In its unerring pursuit of perfect flexibility, adaptability, and versatility, Windows holds out the promise of true freedom but delivers none; only an elaborate labyrinthine path. Wondrous machines. Entire paragraphs deleted just like that.

Thursday, December 01, 1994

Just finished writing a song – early in the morning of Dec. 1. Wouldn't have known what day it was unless I was working on the computer... the machine, with machine-like precision, knows the time and the date and does not hesitate to call it tomorrow when it's a minute past midnight. The machine.

It occurred to me that a great constraint of writing is that you can only write one thing at a time. It will be a great evolution in mankind's history when a writer effectively writes more than one text at a time. And not as a stunt, mind you. Because he has to, because the words, thoughts, directions, digressions are arriving too quickly or even all at once. A second pair of hands would be useful, I suppose. And by the way, what a weakness, what a shame it is to reread one's writing, as I have just this moment done. Or to stick the computer cursor into the text at will, as I have just now done, changing the very meaning of an entire half a paragraph (should it be a separate paragraph?) that I've just written, to say this: I am not sure of what I am about to write. That is, what I wrote earlier. I mean – this: Writing teachers, great and not so great teachers, will tell you that you must revise; but I suspect that writers, especially great writers, will tell you that it is really preferable not to look, even; but rather to race through page after page, unhinged. I am consigned to stop feebly at every turn – a comma here, a semicolon there, never sure it is quite right. You can not calculate great writing, arrive at it systematically. It has to flow freely. The words can be modified but the writing must be done.

Monday, October 03, 1994

On the way to work I saw a big plane, a passenger plane it seemed, arcing slowly, very close to the ground, in a place where there were no airports. I was fascinated of course and it occurred to me almost immediately that I wanted to see this plane go down. I mean, I wanted to see it loom spookily over the highway awhile, engines sputtering, rudders flapping nonsensically, and finally slam into the ground in a clearing in the woods. Why else would I be so excited, so unnerved when it disappeared from view? I tried to impose some measure of empathy on myself by imagining that my mother was aboard but it didn't quite work. Do we feel that witnessing atrocity is a privilege of living in these demented times? I saw myself as an awestruck bystander to catastrophe, maybe even narrowly escaping as the thing bellied stupidly onto the highway, gathering oncoming traffic in its useless wings. In a sense we can do no better than stare impassively at scenes of carnage, devastation. We are all beyond rescue. But I still tried to think of my mommy up there, not wanting to die, wanting to see her son again. And this is how I tried to feel about those doomed people in that big steel deathtrap, all the while craning my neck and nearly losing control of my car. Suddenly I would see it again, circling strangely, almost completely on its side. It had to be some kind of military plane. I thought of the horror movies when you think the monster's dead but he pops back up and grabs you by the neck.

But soon he was completely out of sight and I went on down the smooth, new highway to the funny-shaped building where I work.

Tuesday, June 21, 1994

I am becoming aware of the passage of time as a terrible confluence of seconds into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into eons, until lifetimes and generations pass in what seems like instants.

It was my last day at Aetna, and Meg took the occasion of my departure to contrive a pleasant, gossipy exchange about what else, O. J. Simpson. We were discussing the length of the knife used to commit the murders and we agreed that it was indeed a very large knife – I thought of J. L. quoting the cop: "It was a substantial knife," such cop talk – and just as suddenly, as though continuing a phrase uttered about the gravity of the wounds and Nicole Simpson's nearness to decapitation, a secretary mentioned all the wonderful knives her father had given her for her new apartment: some big, some small, all very sharp, with stone sharpeners, her dad is a chef you know. And we nodded just as agreeably to the train of this conversation as to the previous one.

Monday, June 20, 1994

Everyone wants to see you naked. The reason no one really minded when the TV news broke into the big game with live footage of O. J. Simpson driving down the highway with a gun to his head isn't because he is a "beloved hero" and that we are captivated by his tragic plight, or that we are awed by the surreal or Shakespearean in current events, or even that we want to see famous people bite the dust, exactly. It is this: that we like to see people naked. We look and point, and take great pleasure in staring and sharing the pleasure of staring with others. O.J. was cruisin' in the buff, emotionally stripped and revealed as people rarely are even in the hungry voyeuristic TV eye. His nudity was made all the more flagrant by the phalanx of cop cars that followed him, "uniformed" men with guns that protected them whereas O.J.'s only served to shame him, to reveal him, to blow his dignity.

We like naked ass. We are horny for the shame of others because it reminds us of the shame we feel regarding our bodies and of our earliest and most profound erotic sensations. The lurid appeal of emotional nakedness, or more properly of emotional obscenity, is not at all different from the appeal of open cunt, or tits, or of hard cock. The tabloids and in general the media are emotional pornographers, purveyors of a more insidious obscenity that can't be regulated like the geography of the human body; it is the pornographic geography of the soul.