nothing finer

Than to be in a v… wait. No.

There’s nothing finer than a cup of coffee, a mix of David Bowie/Rise Against/Nine Inch Nails in your ears, as you finalize the edits on the fourth draft of your novella.

Thirteen scenes I hope to combine to six.

I know you can’t sell a novella. I’m hoping to package it as The Mungk & Other Bullshit, which I realize will be a tough sell on bookstore shelves, but it’s also an eyecatcher. It was suggested to me to call the book The Little House In The Country, but that sounds fucking boring and generic.

The Mungk is a weird name. And people love swearing.

You see the word Mungk and ask, what the fuck is that (although you might be one of those people who don’t swear like longshoremen, so you might say, “what a strange looking word, perhaps I should inquire as to its meaning” and then drink some tea with your pinky out and adjust your monocle, you fucking weirdo), and then pick it up.

Pick it up and maybe buy it. And then maybe that money goes through the various systems of skimming off the top from the store, the distributor, the publisher, agents, managers and probably some grifting professional organization that claims to advocate for authors, but actually keeps them poor and begging, like the RIAA and MPAA do to movies and music, and then finally, that pittance will arrive in my bank account, where it’s probably already been paid out in an advance and I’ll actually get nothing extra for it at all.

But if enough of you do it…

Well, shit.

Break out the fucking tea.

Target: 700 words
Written: 302 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
Comics: Saga 21-24
Music: Out In L.A., Red Hot Chili Peppers

and immediately, fallen on my face

Metaphorically speaking.

It’s a Sunday. I don’t know how it got so far away from me. Being completely caught up yesterday, doing all the things I’ve wanted to, in order to get where I need to be and now, here I am; back behind again.

My face is bruised, blood spews from a cut over my eyebrow; I think my orbital bone is broken.

Metaphorically speaking.

My face swells, my brain too, inside my skull. I swirl, lurch and stagger.

The tasks are piling up.

This is the thing I didn’t want.

This is the pressure I was trying to avoid.

I don’t want to reevaluate.

I want to push through.

I want to make it all mean something.

But it means nothing, like a Wes Anderson film, without the whimsy and quirk, and Scarlett Johansson flashing her naked body.

Yeah, we watched Asteroid City, so I guess, technically, it does include that last thing.

Literally speaking.

So, it’s not all bad, I guess.

Target: 600 words
Written: 498 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: People Of The Deer, Farley Mowat
Comics: Monstress 9-12
Music: Plea For Peace/Taken Action, Volume 2, Various

no longer cool

It appears I’m not cool anymore. I mean, I was never really cool, but at least, I knew where the edges were, where the hip things were happening, even if I didn’t give a shit about them.

Now, I don’t care, more interested in exploring the expansive stuff of whatever scene I missed out on by virtue of era, location or the fact that I wasn’t cool enough to be invited in.

Or didn’t care enough to join.

Trends, fashion, these sorts of things never interested me. While a million morons rushed out to buy Stanley cups, all I could think is it’s not THE Stanley Cup, so who gives a shit?

Trends come and go so fast now online that the only way to stay on the bleeding edge of popularity is to spend all one’s time online, which is boring.

Plus, who cares? Spending time and money on shit that no one will give a fuck about tomorrow is just a good way to create clutter and miss out on time one could have spent actually enjoying one’s life.

It’s nothing more than a hyperspeed version of keeping up with the Joneses.

Fuck the Joneses. Who the fuck are they to set the standard?

Who are they to tell you what’s interesting or important in your life?

That’s the great thing about a real scene, real art, real cool – it remains that way no matter the age because it speaks to something fundamental inside us.

Cool is timeless; iconic is not just every random little thing; it’s the truly epic, the truly transcendent and emblematic. It’s crossing the bridge in Selma, it’s the Gettysburg Address. It’s the Velvet Underground. It’s Freddie Mercury at Live Aid. It’s Marilyn Monroe. It’s Caesar crossing the Rubicon. It’s Gretzky kicking his foot out as he lifts the Cup.

It’s real fucking Stanley, not some bullshit fad.

Stop using it for every little thing. It ain’t iconic if it’s old news tomorrow. Iconic is a state of being that speaks for itself, not a label for something you’ve been told is cool.

Target: 500 words
Written: 509 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris
Comics: Rat Queens v2 20-23
Music: The Very Best Of The Smiths, The Stones Roses, The Who and Violent Femmes, by The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Who and Violent Femmes (in which these are all separate albums by their respective bands and technically, the Who one is called My Generation: The Very Best Of The Who).

paths of glory

I’ve taken to watching old movies (Stanley Kubrick’s early work) and (an) old TV show (The Adventures Of Superman) and I’ve stumbled upon Paths Of Glory.

I think we’re all more familiar with Kubrick’s bigger works, but Paths Of Glory is, I think, where we first saw how brilliant he could be. I mean, Fear And Desire had hints, but it was amateurish, early stuff, done on the cheap. The Killing and Killer’s Kiss were… okay. Kind of generic noir, to be honest, other than maybe the fight in the mannequins. Heist movie was not his forte; there wasn’t enough philosophy behind it. He disavowed Fear And Desire, but it was my favourite of the pre-Paths Of Glory films.

An exploration of human psychology, even done with clumsy hands, is always interesting. Some of the best movies come from B movies; for sheer entertainment or from sheer gall; the audacity of a movie about aliens or swamp creatures or men with brains on the outside of their heads to really take a swipe at the human condition.

But Paths Of Glory might be one of the best commentaries on war ever depicted in a movie; revolutionary for its time. It’s nothing short of brilliant, and not just because they’ve managed to capture the fact that Kirk and Michael Douglas are the same person.

If you get a chance, watch it; for its time, the scene where they try to take the ant hill is an pulse-pounding depiction of the futility of trench warfare; the disjointed juxtaposition of these trenchmen versus their generals, sipping cognac and throwing parties, is tremendous.

It reminds me of what I always think whenever countries want to go to war and what I would say to any leader who asked.

You first.

Target: 400 words
Written: 277 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: If Chins Could Kill, Confessions Of A B Movie Actor, Bruce Campbell (funny thing, synchronicity, and the overlap of Kubrick and the Evil Dead)
Comics: Chrononauts 1-4
Music: Kick, INXS (one of my all time favourites)

absurdity

I love the absurd. More specifically, I love absurd that knows it’s absurd and leans into it. I don’t like weird for weird; people being weird but taking themselves seriously over it.

But absurd and knowing it? Not caring and laughing along? Leaning into it?

It’s why movies like Evil Dead 2 and Army Of Darkness were so brilliant. It’s why once Legends Of Tomorrow realized how ridiculous they were, the show got infinitely better, contributing one of the single best season finales I’ve seen on any show ever. Beebo, anyone?

It’s why Airplane, The Naked Gun and Major League were instant classics. It’s why Monty Python works. It’s the basis for Seinfeld and Community.

To embrace the absurd is to embrace ourselves, our foibles, our fuck-ups, our downright stupidity. It’s to understand the utter ridiculousness of the human mind and human condition and find a way to laugh along with it. Humanity is exposed by comedy; our self-importance is flayed by absurdity.

There is no one more at peace than the one who is not only perfectly comfortable being absurd, but perfectly aware of how absurd they are.

Target: 200 words
Written: 389 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: Get It Done When You're Depressed, Julie Fast
Comics: Mind The Gap 5-8
Music: Quadrophenia, Discs 1 and 2, The Who

working for disappointment

Rejection is a thing. I’m a wannabe writer and I’m not Brad Pitt or Wayne Gretzky, so naturally, rejection comes with the territory. Nobody’s beating down my doors because I’m so good at what I do or because I have a terrific eight-pack or symmetrical face.

Interlude: I’m married to a wonderful woman, so don’t take that as looking. It just means pre-wife, things weren’t so super easy. I did okay sometimes, but yeah. Nice guys finish last for good reason (and I have a lot to say about the mistaken belief that somehow the “nice guy” is getting screwed by the “asshole” – it’s a largely false narrative propagated by John Hughes that ultimately drives a level of delusion and entitlement in normal men that is absolutely toxic. Thanks, John Hughes, for inspiring incels).

Ultimately, it has nothing to do with nice or asshole, anyway. Lots of “nice” guys are actually dicks, and the “asshole” may actually be a great guy. The asshole may also be an asshole, and the nice guy may be a nice guy as well, just super insecure or shy. Like I said, false narrative.

Anyway, #rantoff. Back to writing.

Target: 100 words
Written: 182 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: Choose Yourself, James Altucher
Comics: Pretty Deadly 9-10, Pretty Deadly: The Rat 1-2
Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Zephyr Song (like, 3 different single versions. I have a problem.)