Monthly Archives: April 2012
Bangalore, India. We were running, myself, Lloyd, Aleister, and we even had a porter under our employ as well— an old straw-thin Indian man hustling the last of our luggage with us to platform three. The three of us, all but the porter, were just in time to jump on the final car of the moving train, luggage-in-hand, but our poor fourth was left bent and wheezing under what in retrospect was a disproportionate share of our total luggage weight. In the rush to catch our train, we’d loaded him up too heavy, a callousness that cost us our ride to Nepal.
An unfortunate circumstance but a telling one. Missing the train ended up feeling to me like a summoning of sorts. While Lloyd and Aleister are rerouting to Nepal— a Tuesday bus from Bangalore to Delhi and a flight to Kathmandu—I’ve decided to break away and return for a time to the solitude that marked my arrival in this country. I’ve put my own itinerary together this evening, seven amazing destinations throughout India. I’ll be heading out tomorrow, quite certain of this new path’s integrity, equally certain that I’ll be missing my friends before I even breach Bangalore city limits.
“Susannie,” pronounced Sue-Xany. That’s the name of Lawrence’s dog. We met up for a visit earlier today to take Susannie to the beach for a bath.
Then tonight I’m working with Lloyd and Aleister, hawking cool shit at the famous Saturday Night Market. I really need to get some video of the SNM. It’s basically Wall-Street meets Woodstock meets Smiley’s Flea Market, that with a dash of Ibiza-style club scene and a scattering of fly-by-night britishy football pubs.
Any case, I really didn’t plan on posting today, but I just read the best interview I’ve read this year. It’s Gary Amdahl, author of the short-story collection, “visigoth.”
The interview was so damn amusing, I had to share it immediately. If any among my swarming armies of readers* has any interest in art or creative writing, or interesting people in general, you will certainly enjoy this.
A few of my favorite excerpts:
“I’m more articulate then I was when I was nine, but I don’t know anything new. Don’t know anything at all. Still, it’s part of the public relations campaign that artists have always been waging: we are pioneers of consciousness! We are the Enterprise, boldly going wherever, for the sake of mankind, so please give us big grants, so we can jack off with an easy mind. Like I said, I have wanted to stop boldly going many many times. I can’t.”
“That the Internet and the World Wide Web are effectively magic, and in some cases quite black, is only just registering with me.”
“I had pretty much signed off on the literary press in this country when Jonathan Raban iced the cake with a big squirt of poop.”
Full interview here.
*Orcs, I was running some analytics in my WordPress suite, and it turns out my readers are something like 70% Orcs. Apparently very popular in that demographic.
My last video demonstrated how easy it is to take a metal object through TSA nude body scanners undetected.
In this video, I interviewed an actual TSA screener to hear more about how these machines are an epic fail. "Jennifer," who asked me not to use her real name or face, has been on the front lines of the TSA's checkpoints for the last 4 years.
Not sure if this taking a break from writing is all that great of an idea. I finished a big section of my book and figured I’d wait a week or two to resume work. In the meantime I’ve been focused on improving my diet, rest, and physical activity, bought a juicer, been doing a bit of calisthenics, — amazing yogurt in India, really nice to eat on curry dishes and mixed into juice.
In addition to getting healthy physically, I’ve taken sick with some ironically positioned depression and become something of an awful person to be around, irritable, dazed, self-absorbed, inaccessible, wanting to be alone, wishing for my little, secluded garret back in Saint Louis, where I’d be writing in my journal, promising myself that what I write will be kept forever private and extolling the purity of such writing.
Back to BRAT today. Why is it so damn horrifying returning to work? The book is so big and menacing — so many words and sentences– and getting back into that world is never exactly “fun” at first. Nonetheless, this is clearly what I’m meant to be doing, and it’s the only known cure for my particular depression and social awkwardness. To borrow from Neal Stephenson- four to five hours of fiction-writing every day is what’s required in order to make me fit for most human company.
Marijuana can help too, but it’s quite temporary, and, in an effort to preserve the intensity/efficacy of the accompanying paranoia distillation and expulsion, my current herbal rX is twice weekly, Wednesdays and Saturdays, always with enough time elapsed so that my nerves remain a bit taut and anxious; I need to be a little afraid to smoke. I want to bring my fears to life and challenge them to staring contests, but I don’t want to lose my capacity to fear altogether, which, as best I can tell, would make me a burnout or an official “stoner,” and that’s fine, but it’s not what I’m after. The other night I told some stoned Indians about this paranoia-as-spice philosopy, hoping to relate. They didn’t know me, and I was high and paranoid and this made them paranoid too, but they appreciated my company all the same, even though I made them a bit uncomfortable, and we ended up relating well in the end, so much better than we would have had I been just “chill.” Fuck being chill. Yes, twice a week is cheaper, and probably better on the lungs as well.
I’ve been reading, finished two Neal Stephenson books, and just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, and I read an old-timey Tin-Tin comic today called “Prisoners of the Sun.” Reading books really is one of the best fucking things about life. I don’t know why more people don’t get into it. It will change your life in ways quite similar to extended travel in developing countries, it’s cheaper too, and easier on the lungs.
Why is it that whenever I get sloppy and lazy in my life, friends and family seem to come out of the woodwork to bring me back up, as if they’re rewarding me for slacking off and being a pain in their asses. I don’t know that I deserve this but I’m grateful for it. My friends and family inspire me. They make me want to be a good person, a great person! …a better person at least.
Speaking of, I’m following my friends, Lloyd and Aleister, to Bangalore, then to Nepal for a couple weeks, where they’ve rented a booth at a body-art/modification convention. Should be an extraordinary trip! I hear internet is plentiful in Nepal, so hopefully I’ll be able to post a couple blog updates. Cheers ! =)
Goa’s “busy season” is winding down, which means that many of the friends I’ve made here have begun behaving very strangely. They’re getting on airplanes and going home, returning to this peculiar thing they call Real Life.
First to depart this week, my darling Swiss friends, Ramona and Maria. We met at Lloyd’s book-release party. The four of us soon grew to be inseparable, running around from flea market to dance party, killing off late night hours in
the distinctly Goan makeshift beach cafes, where sari-clad Indian women prepare chai and delicious omelettes, their portable griddles set up on mats over the sand and the ocean humming a few feet away. Sounds pretty, but I insist, it’s not really an easy experience to describe.
Though Ramona and Maria spoke decent English, my normal style of speaking was very difficult for them to understand. It took a few days for me to master the art of clear, slow, simple, and essential English, but my efforts paid off in spades. One evening, I was asked to explain my book, Brat. Having already settled into that nice, simple, and essential communication groove with my Swiss friends,the true elevator pitch for Brat was born. It just came out, slow and clear: “It’s about a program that trains children to become Interdimensional Ambassadors. It’s X-Men meets Blair Witch Project meets The Wonder Years.” So simple, so tactical, I don’t think I’ve ever explained the book any better. Maria left weekend before last and Ramona this past Saturday. I miss them a great deal and wish them all the best.
My British friend, Niles, was next to go. His plane took off Sunday morning. Niles is one of those internet geniuses nipping on the heels of his first million at age 29. Good with search engine optimization, not so good with cows:
When I met Niles, he was on a terrific bender, all booze-filled and obnoxious, searching for whatever it is people search for after conquering money. It was the first and last time I saw Niles drink. He had some kind of realization after that night—alcohol wasn’t doing much good in his life. Niles studied art at university. He even attempted a novel once, soon progressing (regressing?) from novelist to copy-writer, and from copy-writer to capitalist. For the next couple of weeks, Niles and I hung out regularly: motorcycling, checking out concerts and beaches, and brain storming on art and business. We even stopped in at my old guest house for a game of Carrom with Lawrence. It’s quite shocking how not drinking sort of forces you into more interesting and gratifying activities.
Also saying farewell on Saturday was Christopher, a very interesting and whip-smart British journalist, whom Niles and I met last week, shortly after the cow incident. Niles and Christopher discovered that they were booked on the same return flight, perhaps destined to remain “mates” stateside.
I’ve been doing a great deal of planning and analysis over the last few days. I’m quite pleased to report that
I’ve managed to spend very little since arriving in India and could conceivably survive for several more months. That said, I think I’m a bit tired of whittling down my bank account while lacking any real income.
Lloyd and Aliester, the two artists whom I’m residing with, continue to inspire me with their intelligence and industriousness. Like me, they’ve been pursuing professionalism in their crafts for about four years now. Though our mediums differ, our development and maturity as artists feel strangely similar. Working together, I think we may be able to sustain a practical existence for ourselves and our art here in Goa during the off season. Too early to tell for sure, but I’m optimistic and drawing plans.