It’s early. Weekend morning and I'm tired. Dog walking. Sluggishly. Not like during the week. Urgent, ambition, hurry and desire. This morning I just want to write. Dog wants to walk. How many different people do you have the please before you can please yourself?
I think about farmers who get up early and walk to the barn, walk to the field, walk to the greenhouse, walk to the chicken coop. Every morning. And how they put the plants and the animals before themselves. I picked up our first Fall CSA this Wednesday. Greens mostly. Radishes too. Made a nice salad. Lettuce, micro-greens. Something spicy too, mustard greens maybe? I think about how ungrateful I am. I looked at vegetables that came in the farm tupperware and lifted my upper lip. Didn’t know what I was expecting. Tater-tot casserole, hamburger helper, sicilian deep dish pizza, snickerdoodle, brats. Just vegetables. The vegetables’ journey from seed to the coffee shop—how many dawns I didn't have to tend to them.
Last night a girl at the soccer game held Ellie and told me people only think of themselves. Nobody thinks of anybody else unless there's money involved. Nanny someone else's kids? Sure $15 an hour. Nobody does it for free. She says this is the grotesque cancer of capitalism. She didn’t say that. But it’s a fine paraphrase. It's the grotesque pesticide of capitalism. And now it’s growing inside of us, the need for money. Said as I’m trying to gather $ and supporters on Patreon. I resist writing for free. Doing what I love for its own sake.
The girl was from Las Vegas. Said her best friend died in the shooting. Smile on her face, never shed a tear, didn't break a sentence. Voice never wavered. Are we hurting on the inside, lying on the outside?
If Kate and L and me go to Thailand for a year we’ll have to leave the dog. Maybe my sister will take him. He’s a good dog. He barks at people who come to the house. Annoying. He pulls at the leash. Working on that. But an affectionate dog. Never would've gotten one on my own. I love the dog you could say but not like Kate loves the dog. When you zoom in on that statement does it mean I don't really love the dog? When you zoom in on any statement though you can turn it from yes to no.
My friend Chuck is getting married in two weeks. I think: do you love me like you loved me when you said I do? The answer has to be no because change changes everything. Does that mean you don't love me? Or does it mean that things have changed?
Rejection email went like this: Hi Randy, passing on this one. Thanks for thinking of us. Christopher Meeks.
It was one of those days. I wrote back and said it's Ryan. Not Randy. Yes probably taking frustrations out on the wrong person, but sometimes we yell in traffic and it’s okay. I wanted to pound the keyboard, say take note buddy because one day soon I'll be very famous. I hope you’re sore that you “passed.” Stop saying pass when you mean reject. You mean the writing is not good enough which is really what I was sore about. I’m not good enough, I hear. Another rejection to the pile. My mentor says this is bound to happen, this is the process, it's inevitable. Like being sore after you run. Being sore after you write. I told the editor the world is cruel enough. At least get my name right.
I was gonna send it then. But I figured I had time to elaborate, he wasn’t going to read it anyway. I said imagine your eulogy. YOUR eulogy, I said. Imagine they’re busy and get your name wrong and instead of Bob they say Blob. Imagine. Blob died today. The good life Blob lived. Blob left a wife and kids. Blob blob blob. Your life is reduced to a blob. I hit enter, then send.
He replied that he was sorry. That sometimes people misspell his last name. Which is Monks, not Meeks. I figured while I had him on the hook and line, I’d keep kicking the conversation, sink him.
Work my magic. So I went and told him about the state of the writing psyche because clearly since he's on the top of the totem pole looking down picking whatever tickles his toes, since he’s way up there, squinting around ready to sweep up the rats like me scurrying around below, he’s way up there with his shiny talons curled under him, blood on beak.
So I wrote: It's gulag, I said. Getting with these “love you but no” form letters from literary magazines.
I wonder if he felt sad. When he read my submission about gay girls in the south getting pride tattoos. If he felt as sad as I was when I wrote it. Then I thought about how sad I looked emailing him, honestly so sore.
Just keep writing I can hear my mentor say just keep writing. Maybe my stuff will be published posthumously. Auto-corrected post-humorously. God that’s good.
Deep deep deep deep down I know the fire, dante’s infernal hell inside me churns stomach acid into words and doesn't give a damn about fandom or fame. That crowd craving comes from cranial clouds much higher up, ether clouds. The hallucinations of the mind, twisting itself like plastic in flame.