St. Malo a go go! Cf. yesterday
, I'm booked and good to go.
Ah, hatred! Failure produces hatred, I am convinced. "Having learned my lesson I never left an impression on…anyone…" ? A great Morrissey lyric, pre-the National Front flirtations. So I'm booked to go to St. Malo, so why am I distressed. 950 words of pre-edit trash is why. So bad it sits on the screen and sniggers. O hateful! Bad work makes for bad everything. I write in my room beside a park, and every day four or five people meet there to walk their dogs, or more correctly to let their dogs joust and jostle and try to roger each other. There's one dog, a pit bull terrier named Baloo (I like to think), or (David) Malouf (I also like to think, but can't quite discern). He's a wild one, and every day, seemingly just prior to me getting anything written of any quality whatsoever, I hear his owner in shrill tones call out, "Ba-looo, Ba-looo"; in this horrible, high, interrogative and yes, entitled iamb I've come to detest. It's every day, and Baloo won't listen. I know it's not a train or a jackhammer, but goddammit, Baloo, turn! Turn on her! Or leap the bounds of that tiny park and fly! Nietzsche at the end: "I wrote nice books, didn't I?" I've been thinking of Gass on his thirty years of The Tunnel ? that in writing a novel every possible motivation, positive and negative, is drawn upon, and that, for anyone who's read that book, is palpable. The bottle calls.
It's the Primal Scream! The last time I saw the Scream was in Tokyo, circa-the "XTRMNTR" album, and that was amazing, lighting and VJing, a crazy, aggressive, utterly self-assured and powerful and inspiring thing, a total and complete reinvention, and throughout Mani, ex-bass player for the Stone Roses, played in his prototypical, leaned-back-into-a-strong-wind stance, wearing a truly superb Clash "Combat Rock" T-shirt. Dear readers, it was I! Dear readers, it was I, who, after Mani stripped that T-shirt at the close of the concert and hurled it into the crowd, it was I who wrestled with several wiry and well-built young Japanese girls for possession of that T-shirt, which to this day I wear and carry everywhere (and have washed a few times). Mani's a bit older now so perhaps it's okay no such souvenirs were taken at Saturday night's gig at the Academy. It was a stripped-down gig ? no visuals, no frippery, but thankfully no straight-out Stones devotion either ? they played everything from "Screamadelica" to "Vanishing Point" to "XTRMNTR" to the new album. Because I was concerned. In the last few years I've had the opportunity to see several heroes in reprise live, and it's been sobering. At Summer Sonic in Tokyo, Ian Brown of the Stone Roses in a lime green shell suit monkey-walking his way through no less than five Roses songs before playing something new. I know he's tuneless but that's just charmless. Duran Duran on a different stage, and the formerly svelte and beautiful Simon le Bon horrifically bloated, churning out "Girls on Film." Line-up-wise, the Scream now have a young and beautiful reincarnation of Bobby Gillespie on guitar (with a gorgeous Gibson ES-355 that eerily resembled BB King's Lucille) who is named, apparently, "little Barrie" and is replacing legendary guitarist Throb live, but otherwise are relatively intact. And relatively rocked. So I considered myself justified in throwing sobriety to the wind and paid hideously the next day.
The best line I wrote today was someone else's:
"Le feu couve encore sous la braise," they say. "The fire still burns under ember." I love that.
A bad translation of a journalist on the Paris riots. On a related note, I'm kind of a David Fincher fan and was thrilled when in Cannes to discover the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité or CRS. This photo was taken shortly before the man beyond the officer stole the officer's phone. And then got shot. Kidding. Anyhow, in Fincher's The Game CRS stands for Consumer Recreation Services among many other things. There were so many of them in Cannes I sometimes felt I was moving through a filmic netherworld, where the riot police were recruited from the extras for action films that never got distributed. Never got "foreign berths." Well, I was thrilled and then oppressed. I'm the kind of guy who stares helplessly at police with machine guns at airports until they start to stare back. And I'm always carrying a stupid anonymous brown box.
And which the mention of a filmic David brings me to Mr. Lynch. I'm gagging to see Inland Empire. Literally gasping. There's some great video at http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/, which is, yes, a real foundation founded by the real David Lynch, and devoted to the modest aims "of Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace," where in the Q and A at Emerson College the loveable Mr. Lynch refers to something or other as being "a hair absurd."
It is a hair absurd to hate the world when really you hate yourself. Hate failing.
Chip Kidd again: "Perhaps drinking and crying will reveal the answer." Read, if you are a writer, immediately, dfw's essay On the Nature of the Fun. He understands there's so much stress and self-beration and infant-coddling and infant-despair, especially in the last third of something, it's easy to forget about the fun part. Like, you chose to do this, why are you doing something that feels like total despair and second-rate silliness, time- and money- and energy-wasting trauma-collation, etc…. But I feel that as for the first third of a book, like Lynch says, though it is an unresolved trauma to have it unfinished (he was talking about Mulholland Drive when the network zapped the TV series) there's still all that room to dream ? and there are things to be constructed, so much stuff to do. Work to do. Then comes the last third of a book: you start to realize that this thing that you've made now has its own demands, its own constraints, for better or worse, and it's all almost over. But if you don't get the ending right then all the potential you saw when you started is doubly let down; not only is the beginning and the middle a sort of sorry betrayal of the dream's Platonic shape but the ending that was a vision and that would redeem the foregoing faults and warps and sags (and not to mention the sort of sophomore, predictable, goofy idea that gave the whole thing shape in the beginning anyhow, and the characterization you sacrificed for pace and the pace you sacrificed for characters that now don't go anywhere or if they do they go there really slowly, not to mention the actual first choice you made, the first goofy dream [or did I mention that], and let's not even talk about the title, and not even contemplate thinking about how it meshes with what came before and what's going to come next and there's an ending to the novel itself that must be thought about too, which is the following anxiety to the power of ten), the ending that had to be just right now just looks silly and you'd rather watch endless Aeon Flux (the series, natch) or drink gin than even look at it, so you do, but you still do it all at your desk, right in front of your manuscript, which waits. And there's the problem that you start to think your Platonic dream was sort of sad and reduced anyhow. And then you realize you've repeated yourself about the original dream three times and maybe that's where your real worries lie and that possibly, even your worries are badly written. Also, please remember when things are grim, contemplation of David Lynch's Rabbits, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, or David Lynch's hair, is superbly calming.