The Art of Life Imitates Fiction (not really) and throwing it away


Dear Friends,

And I do mean this, but take no alarm from it. Thank you for keeping me alive. Somehow I have managed to make it through thirty one and a half years with out serious personal injury, long stints in jail, and maintaining a professional career. It’s pretty unbelievable to think that my antics and behavior have not led to a premature expiration of my life.

I still remember the first time I read Raymond Carver. I had seen Lee Ranaldo do a solo show at the old Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. This was now about 14 years ago I guess. Maybe more. It’s hard to say. I was still very young and much less damaged all over. Anyway, he had read a story of Carver’s as part of his performance and the shit was beautiful. I got Ultramarine, a collection of Carver’s poems shortly after that. His writing on the lowest parts of life remain to this day something I hold very near and dear to me. He had just a bit of solem meloncohly to his words. And I’ve probably spent a good deal of my grown up life trying to express that same amount of sane sadness I truly beleive everyone suffers from. Somewhere in all those typed pages there is a beautiful madness that just seems so normal to me.

One of Carver’s stoires that sticks out most to me (and no I don’t remember the title and no I can’t look it up at the moment, all my books are in boxes) is a story about a fish pond. In this story a man introduces a foreign fish into his pond so that he can go fishing and then the pond is over run by these fish and everything goes to hell. It’s told from the perspective of a young boy and in the end, well the man losses his shit and no one is better off. But you feel the reality of this decission, this hair brained idea to import a crate of fish, so you can go fishing. It’s really rather clever and if I was in a more fit state right now my telling of it would be rather clever too. Or not. I don’t think I have ever been accused of cleverness.

Anyway, the point is, I wish for more Carver moments in my life. He is certainly a human being whose life I have romanticized and one in whose successes I am trying to mimmic. I don’t smoke, so that’s a good thing. And thankfuly I am not an alcoholic. Though evidence to the contrary certainly exists. The point is that staying alive, through the much needed help, reassurance and graceful eyes of others has moved me into a position to maybe do these things that I want to do. Hopefuly my own self destructive tendancies and general gloomy aire will not get the better of me and I will do less stupid things as I get older, instead of more.

Friday night, Saturday morning I had a Bukowski kind of evening. It wasn’t pretty or pleasant. I was chasing some bullshit fantasy that clearly I am neither vulgar enough, good looking enough, clever enough or just plain cool enough to ever swing. It is a weakness, one I fear many of my gender suffers from. I would much rather have myself a nice Jamacia Kincaid moment, publishing my first novel as I see Beating at the Womb to be my own At the Bottom of the River if I may be so arrogant. I have to try to stay on course. Holy Shit that isn’t easy. It is a bit fun though.

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