Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gone Daddy Gone

Squirrels race across my roof, squeezing in late-season shags before their winter nesting. Years ago, before the blog, deep in custodian hell, I joked to the wife about writing quick humor books a la Lewis Grizzard or Dave Barry, just to get back in the game. Two titles possessed me: Buy This Book Or I'll Poop In Your Yard, and Squirrels On The Roof Vex Me So. The first cover featured me pants down, flashing a thumb's up while attending to business, the neighbors looking on in horror, crossing themselves, their dog covering its eyes. The second showed a crazed me shaking a fist to the ceiling as the squirrels threw a roof party, drinking chestnut martinis, indifferent to my protest.

I stopped short of pitching these to my old literary agent in New York. What if I actually sold one of these ideas? Did I really want to write humor for white suburban coffee tables and Glade-freshened bathrooms? I could fake it, sure, even parody the form while making some dough in the process. But in the end I simply didn't have my heart in it. So deeper into janitorial life I sank, mopping rural office stairwells at 1 AM.

The squirrels remind me of this, and I thank them for it. Had I gone that route, I seriously doubt The Project would exist. What The Project is at the moment is another question, for which there are no wrong answers. Now that I've started the book, written and spoken words overlap as hazy figures begin take shape. Humor permeates it all, but in what proportions I've no clear idea.

I'm about to fly through the rain to NYC, where tonight I have a set in the East Village. This promises to be an interesting trip as I've prepared almost nothing for the stage. I have plenty of ideas, concepts, jokes and observations, but I'm letting myself fall without nets or cushions. My last set at the Teneleven revealed much to me, and I want to explore that feeling some more. This could spell disaster, and I confess a little nervousness. But that's what it's all about: facing the fear while creating something new, even if it's based on old emotions and experiences.

As always, I'll file reports, so you won't have to wait a week to read fresh copy. See you from my man cave at the hotel.