It Makes Me Sweat
“I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.
To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.” Charles Bukowski
“One writes to keep going, to keep oneself from going mad. One writes to be able to write the next piece of criticism or to live through the next day or two. Maybe it’s an apotropaic gesture, maybe one writes to ward off death. I’m not sure. But I think in some sense that’s what poets do. They write their poems to ward off dying.” Harold Bloom
I consider myself a writer. Mostly I consider myself a lazy writer. On my worst days I consider myself a near-worthless dolt – devoid of a passion, a screaming and grabbing need, to do nothing but write. This is my ‘perfect vision place’ – where I have completed my morning meditation, coffee, reading, Morning Pages rituals and then come to this very keyboard and pull up “the current work” and sit for a moment to open the mind channels and then begin to type and then a little faster and I feel my pulse quicken and wow, look, five hours have rushed by and my fingers are cramping and sweat has been projecting out of and off my head for who knows how long, but the table is soaking wet, and yeah, that’s cool, now I can rest and eat breakfast and go for a walk if it isn’t pouring and stream about three episodes of “Friday Night Lights” and then come down here again and look at baseball articles and possibly waste half an hour on the horror that is current twitter tweets, and at 9:30 or 10 this night head up to bed – incredibly lucky if the wife is still awake so we can talk just a little more. And if all the blessings in my life stretch out just one more day, and I am lucky enough and still healthy enough to awake again and crawl out of bed and make my way down to the meditation chair and do all that morning stuff once more, well then I drop myself back down into the all-in, half-crazed, nothing-else, non-stop five-hour writing blast. And that never doesn’t happen.
Anyway, that’s the vision I cherish and hold onto all these days of barely writing and too much streaming and bad news reading. That one of these days I can become more like Bukowski, more like Joan Didion, more like Kurt Vonnegut Jr and John Gardner and Virginia Wolfe and be drawn like iron filings to an all-powerful magnet and glue my ass to the keyboard chair and plunge into it just the way Dr. Hunter S Thompson did 12 hours before deadline and not a word on paper yet. With the mojo machine literally screaming for copy. Yeah, write like my life depended on it.
By the way – I saw somewhere 20 minutes or so ago, I think it was scrolling through the Russian news agency known as Facebook, Harold Bloom – quoted above – passed away today. More evidence that there really is no such thing as having all the time in the world.
Man, I sure do need to get my ass in gear. And my fingers a-flying.