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Humping on the Parking meter, Leaning on the Parking Meter

The bottom line is no one cares if you don’t write. No one asked you to. No one will die. There are chipmunks who work harder than you. You didn’t need to buy that Moleskin. You forgot you had one anyway. No one said: a poem please. No cried out when you sat down, mid-poem, because you couldn’t bleat another line, a lifetime ago on Minetta Lane. Do not ask what your writing can do for you. Do not got to therapy and crawl inside your inner ear. Did you ever think it was a gift from god? To stop? You won’t have to eat. You need not sing. You don’t have to be anything. When you remember those pages rocking out to sea, remember how good it felt to not reach for a simile. My face and your ass. Is like.

Do you ever think of quitting? Please be as negative as possible.

And I can’t change Even if I tried Even if I wanted to And I can’t change Even if I tried Even if I wanted to My love My love My love

Novels are flying at my head. Thousands of pages flapping like seagulls at Brighton Beach. Stories from land locked countries, from the mouths of bats, from trains that never leave the station. From the station itself. How did you come up with so many sentences, so many girls named Cara or Carla or Quintana, or Ray. Did it start on a stair, a hill, a bucket, a pail? What’s it about? Well, that’s a good question. The beach, the mountains, a multi-generational tale of raisin bran. You are nothing like a summer’s day. Why do sympathetic characters bring out the sadist in me? Does anyone really change? Are you my beginning, my middle or my ass wipe? Hi, I’m Betsy and I’m addicted to prose. Oh, Daisy. Grow up. There is a big canister somewhere. Dear Betsy: I am writing to see if you would be interested in my five novels, a 874,000 word quintet about two slugs fucking in a snot can. Do you feel me? Oh mighty novelists with your big boots and musky armpits. Where would we be without you?


Just Give Me a Reason Just A Little Bit’s Enough

Dear Insane People Who Write: Why do you like being dangled by your feet from the twentieth floor of a down-on-its-heels Marriott in a bankrupt city? Why do you like the feeling of your eyes being peeled back like the film inside a hard boiled egg? Was it worth removing your baby toe? Or turning a pimple into a mole?  Yes, I’m back for more Immodium; what’s it to you? Yes, I take sleep aids.  So what if you find me walking down a dark street in my nightgown? It was just a dream that lasted seven months and then I awoke. Why do you torture yourself unnecessarily, my father used to ask. Because necessary torture is for lightweights? You can no longer remember the name of the first boy you fucked. Or what you paid for your first house. If you had chicken or prime rib at your own wedding.  Why do you like to get punched in the face, apart, of course, from being a writer?

Got milk?

Still I’m Gonna Miss You

To be stuck inside of Memphis with the heating pad blues again. Friends, because I am a bad ass, I turn it up high. All the way. Green. Gold. Orange. Red. I cannot read. I cannot sleep. I cannot swallow. I am in agony without ecstasy. It took me twelve hours to read the NYT front page review of the 25 year girl from Ponashe whose book is being called all the things I hate: luminous, numinous, transplendent, oracular, fablicity, concatacious, obliviosimous. I am as jealous as two slugs fucking in a snot can. Okay: I am weening myself off the oxy. And I promise that if I go to Silver Hill or Betty Ford or wherever Charlie Sheen scratched hash marks into the walls with his purloined Bic pen, I promise that I will not accept a power greater than myself, that I will not admit I am powerless over daisies, that I will not make amends especially to anyone I’ve hurt the worst. They are luminous enough, they are limned with light, they are dead to me.

Won’t You Let Me Go Down In My Dreams

For some reason, all of my lunch dates over the past two weeks have been with thirty-something editors. I still can’t quite fathom how I got to be the geriatric half of the lunch date equation, no matter how young, hip and cool I am. Still, I’m the one being courted by ARP, have a teenager, and get erratic periods. I often time travel a little during these lunches when I am visited by visions of my younger self, and I wonder how I ever pulled it off given my powerful impostor complex coupled with a tender misanthropy. And yet, and yet.

There was a two pack a day phase when I wore Ann Taylor suits, carried a Coach tote, and slept with crime writers. When I swam laps at 5:30 in the morning, wrote eleven page editorial letters and threw publication parties in my apartment with the brick fireplace. I hunted blurbs like large game, spent six weeks in London publishing, made a friend for life. Shrink after shrink after shrink. Husband. Baby. Promotions. Miscarriages. When I was in my publishing thirties it was musical chairs and making love to my Selectric. I don’t know how I pushed myself, or what compelled me. Love of language? An Amex card? A place at the grown-up table? And now, what?  What?

What do you dream of, my darling young ones?


I’m Gonna Live Forever

Can you guess who the writer is?

While we are on the subject of the undead, let’s talk about day jobs. I want to know where you guys work and if your colleagues know that there is an undead among them. I also want to know if you think writing in the night, and later night, the dead of night and wee hours is good for your writing. And if being an undead helps your writing or sucks all the life blood out of you.

I would like to complain about how being in publishing is probably the worst thing for my writing life, but that’s not true. For fuck’s sake, I eat, live and breath the shit. Does taking 15% make me a vampire?

But what’s it like working among civilians, people who don’t understand or care that you are not really alive unless you are bathed in the light of the computer screen. After all, what’s a book but a bid for immortality? Suck it.