Friday, October 19, 2007

The Crystal Bears Are Cracked




Books are so fucking overrated. To think that I once romanticized the process -- going at the pages Kerouac-style, hopped up on bennies and black coffee, typing like a madman for days on end, Coltrane and Ornette blasting from the stereo, no food, little sleep, just enough nicotine to take the edge off, and maybe some weed to round things out. Then driving fast down a two-lane road, cute girl to my right, open jug of cheap wine in her lap, giving me generous sips as I tear over the broken pavement, Jerry Lee Lewis screaming on the radio, burning burning burning, looking for the final breakdown, that holy insanity where the gods collapse in celestial gibberish, their samsara world exposed for the eternal joke it is.

Oh, the poetic fantasies of youth.

Today, I'm a grouchy middle-aged crank who winces at the mere thought of composition. All those semi-formed sentences, phrases, and concepts crowding my brain, making me stab the keyboard and shout with Tourette's intensity at the screen, pissed at my failure to realize whatever it was I thought had meaning. When I'm in full writing mode, I'm an asshole, a prick, a short-tempered putz who cannot, cannot, be interrupted. The wife complains that I'm gonna break the keyboard, as I pound the thing as if it was my old Underwood manual, which gathers dust just behind me, a small reminder of earlier lit efforts, like "Love Gravy" and "Beautiful Lies," my first two books which were never published.

("Lies" came very close, however -- Nan Talese at Doubleday liked it a lot, but decided that her twisted book that season would be Heather Lewis' "House Rules," and not mine. Still, Nan was very friendly and supportive, and wrote me a long, upbeat rejection letter, predicting big things for me. Hi Nan!)

The main character of "Lies" is an aborted fetus who survives and hosts a very successful infomercial that becomes a highly-rated, gaudy variety show. There's also incest, murder, drugs, ghosts, demons, pornography, time travel, all tied together with absurdist comedy. How I missed with that I'll never know . . .

At present, I'm mired in Democratic Party history, which is in turn fascinating, boring, alarming, yet utterly predictable. Save for a few decent Dems, the mule party has been horrific in so many ways. But then, so has American history. Beneath the flapping flags and civics class rhetoric, countless bodies in various stages of decay are crammed in the national crawl space, as political clowns dance and honk horns, diverting attention from the rotting stench which they insist is all in our heads.

The next time you pull a twenty from your pocket, take a good long look at the man on the bill, a racist mass murderer who was one of the godfathers of the Dem party. A bit like having Milosevic on the currency, only with better hair.

"Jeez, Perrin. Is this what the next book's gonna be like?"

Too soon to tell. I'll keep you posted.

Speaking of Dems, I see that many online libs are all a quiver over Chris Dodd's symbolic stand against the latest FISA bill. According to Dodd's website, the presidential long shot is against the Military Commissions Act, warrantless wiretapping, shredding of Habeas Corpus, torture, extraordinary rendition, and secret prisons. That this is viewed as a courageous stand shows us just how deep the national crawl space goes. Still, I signed Dodd's petition, for what it's worth. But I'm under no illusion that this will curtail the military/corporate state.

Once Dodd lines up behind Hillary for the sake of party unity and national salvation, the wiretaps will still operate, torture will continue, war will drag on and on, citizens will be further alienated, to the degree that they're even paying attention, and liberals will scratch their heads, wonder why nothing happened, then insist that if we can elect "better" Dems next time, maybe, just may-be . . .

The stench from the crawl space is not in your head. Don't get too comfortable in the dancing clown's house.

No Shit? Dept. Reuters headline: "Pakistan says Islamist militants behind Bhutto attack."

Gee -- ya think?

Senator Obama, time to dust off that old Pakistan speech of yours.