Sunday, April 24, 2011

'Go sit on your own face' ...

I'm having a low self-esteem day. I'm not a psychologist, but I sense it has something to do with the fact that I'm trying to write a novel and it sucks. Hard. Disjointed. Lacking action. I should be able to write a novel. I read a lot of novels. I know how they work. I know how to make sentences, and sometimes I even write a good one. But when I think of this stupid novel sitting in Google Docs, I get wonky and panicked and pissy.

I thought it would be easier. And I'm not one for putting a lot of effort into things. I'm still, mentally, the high school version of myself. A natural at triple jump and pretty fast to boot. None of this was thanks to coach so-and-so. None of that non-stop practice. This was luck. Muscular thighs. Maybe even a brother who tormented me with a soccer ball until I learned to use his tricks on people my own size and so became a bit competitive.

I start googling MFA programs. I could use a structured environment, maybe. A good connection to someone who can help me. Remember. You have one life. You should do what you want. You should move to Riverside, California, one hour from Los Angeles. People do this. They get to wear sweatpants every single day. Trade mice for roaches. Read books. Spend Saturdays in Venice Beach staring at people. Write award-winning short stories. Get book deals. Get optioned for movies. Be Diablo Cody. Be Jennifer Egan. Drive a jeep. Grow your hair so long you don't even need to wear a shirt. Make enough money so your boyfriend can spend his time taking aimless walks, staring out windows and getting super weird with himself. 

No matter how many times I consult the novels of the people I'd like to be associated with in Wikipedia pages, I can't get the right mix of post modern absurdist Japanese horror comedy writing. I come off sounding like someone faking an accent.


I woke up at 3:16 p.m. The first eight hours were required. The last two hours were purely recreational. For the next three and a half hours I juggle: "The Chronology of Water," a memoir by Lidia Yuknavitch. Every few chapters I pick up my computer and monkey with words. Every few chapters I make a move in Words With Friends. Every few chapters I get a strange compulsion to go swimming. I do not, do not swim. But she makes swimming sound so ... something. I should go swimming.

I make myself a fried egg sandwich. Wipe mayo on the bread. Squirt ketchup next to the sandwich. Pour some orange juice. Wait for the fake bacon to look less like a cartoon drawing of bacon. Eat the whole thing with a fork and finish the book.


I take a bath, shave my legs, remove some gaudy yellow nail polish. I mangle the smallest toenail on my left foot. I think about how, without glasses or contacts, I am unable to see my own feet. I use all boy products -- Suave for Men and Gillette body wash.

I've been now waiting two hours for Chuck to wake up and talk to me. Every time I hear him shift in the bed I think "Now. Now he's putting on his jeans. Now he's coming downstairs." Then, nothing. He's just shifted. Finally I sneak into the room. He's awake. He's staring at the iPhone sized internet and I crawl into bed. His whiskers on the pillow sound like bubbles popping in a bathtub.


I go to RT Quinlan's to see my friend Hotrod's new band, Sexhawk, which promises to be super loud rock and roll fronted by a dude wearing women's jeans. Just like his last band, Bone Appetit. It is exactly what I expect.

"You SUCK!" this guy in the crowd yells.
"Go sit on your own face," Hotrod says into the microphone.
I turn and see my friend Tuska. It's been months. Big love fest. I also see Cork1. Some of my favorite people are in this room. 
Hotrod takes his shirt off, revealing the smallest nipples I've ever seen.
"Do those even work?" I ask his fiance later.
"They are small," she says, pulling aside his ripped arm hole to reveal a single pellet, smaller than a Tic Tac.
He pulls down his pants to reveal half of his tiny ass.
Someone throws a shirt on stage. Hotrod tosses it into the lights, where it stays until someone retrieves it with a pool cue. Everyone watches. The drummer is 19. The drummer's mom is on stage taking photos.
"BONE APPETIT!" Cork1 yells.
"This song is about f*cking a girl in your car in high school," Hotrod growls.


I Talk books with Tuska, talk books with DJ Walt D. I do a lap and decide to leave. I have cookie dough in my car that needs to be separated into cookie-sized treats and placed in my oven, and promptly administer to my PMS.


I catch a few minutes of Tori Spelling's new show and think to myself, "Oh Tori. Have some pride" while eating a giant chocolate and peanut butter cookie.


Tori said...

Lady, I'd pay to read your grocery lists. Good luck with your novel.

P.S. Have you read The Pale King yet? If so, would you tell others to buy it?

debby said...

Listen girl. If there was a preorder button on this page i would have already used it and handed over my debit card number. Keep going.

Christa said...

Oh! Thanks, ladies.
Tori -- We have The Pale King. Chuckers started reading it and then stopped. His reason:

I like to think of it like jumping out of a plane and trusting that the parachute will, eventually, open. But at first, you have this panicky free-fall where all of your instincts scream at you that what is happening right now is the worst thing ever. It takes a lot of courage to ignore those instincts, enjoy the fall, and admit that what you're experiencing is actually fantastic.

But The Pale King is an unfinished novel. How can you trust an unfinished novel? I can't, that's for sure.

As for me, the more I read about it, the less I wanted to read it. At least in 2011. I can only handle one monster piece of fiction in a single year and "Infinite Jest" zapped me.

Although I have about 100 pages left in "The Broom of the System" and it might be my favorite book of all time. I don't care if he was a punk kid wrestling with honing his whatevers when he wrote it. Shit is fan.friggin.tastic.

Futbol said...

i was planning to volunteer some useful feedback, but then realized i have nothing to add. i ask myself those same questions all the time. and i guess i'm going down the academic road because i've exhausted the non-academic one. and it seems to me that you haven't. so. disregard.

point is, i feel ya.