Do You Ever Feel Your Brain Is Being Chopped Up Into Bite-Sized Bits?

Why worry about the future when you can regret the past instead?  That question is a tribute to my favorite generator of jokes, Mr. Mark Peters.  In case you haven’t caught his Twitter feed yet, Google “mark peters wordlust.” His link is the first one on the list.  Click it and feast your eyes (pardon the cliche) on the endless smorgasbord of jokes.  To date, he’s come up with over thirty thousand of them.  I don’t know how he does it.

You may be wondering about the provocative nature of the title of this post.  Welp (another Petersism–call me Captain Plagiarism), the repetitive, depressingly ridiculous nature of my life of late has cast me into a less than funky funk.  I’m suffering from a case of writer’s block the size of the former World Trade Center, God rest its rectangular soul.  (If only I could make it the same size it became on September 11th, 2001–call it the writer’s blockbuster.)

My great aunt used to say, “If you rest, you rust.”  She was right.  I’ve done both.  The only problem is that it’s hard to keep up with the frenetic pace of silly city life.  The older I get, and the longer I live here, and the longer I keep pursuing the same career and maintaining the same marriage and attending the same stupid Sunday school services, the more absurd the whole shebang becomes.

(Say, isn’t that a song?  Shebang, shebang, da dadadadadadadadada.  Music notes sold separately.)

Like many other bloggers–at least I assume some of you may share this affliction with me–I suffer from delusions of grandeur (again, I’m always happy to provide you with cliches; they’re my life blood–see?  There’s another one).  In fact, that may well be the source of the writer’s block–hey, stop flying airplanes into my tummy!  Mommy, help me dig this black box out of my belly button.

Luckily, I’ve been humbled by the sustained relative lack of attention.  And writing that just makes me feel like an ingrate.  After all, I’m lucky to have the readers I do, many of whom I respect and even envy for their many creative contributions.  (I’m looking at you, Menomama, Robert Okaji, Sweettenorbull, and Smirkpretty!)

I just wish there were a way we could get paid.  Shucks, I’ve been writing for forty years and haven’t made beans off the effort yet.  Then again, that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing it for anyway–is it?

One thing that makes it hard to write is the assault on the senses the news provides.  I’m a glutton for punishment (cliche, si vous plait), so I tend to pick at these festering wounds more than a mentally healthier person would, even though I do nothing to solve the problems engulfing the world except complain about them and hector other people to do something about them with hypocritical panache.

It’s purdy frickin’ retarded (in the figurative sense), if you ask me.

What do you do to stay sane?  Is sanity overrated?  Maybe being crazy is where it’s out.  Or else you can be retro.  That’s far out.  From where I’m sitting the future looks bleak.  Maybe because it’s filtered through what I can glimpse of my own future, replete with its seemingly unsolvable health problems and the vicious cycle of marriage’s sparky buzz saw.

Yesterday I taught three different classes in three different places, working a grand total of three and a half hours.  My commute came out to the same time.  It’s nuts.  Luckily I only have to do it once a week.  The other work days are more measured.

A couple of weeks ago my wife Jina and I joined her family for three days to celebrate the Chinese–or Lunar–New Year’s holiday, feasting shamelessly on the carcasses of lovingly prepared livestock.  I think that was after–versus before–I’d read Chris Hedges’s piece on truthdig.com about the suffering all animals prepared for food  undergo.  It’s an eloquent argument for veganism.  Cognitive dissonance enables me to carry on consuming these poor victims of the bloodthirsty economic food chain instead of renouncing meat altogether and repenting the error of my ways (if that’s the right cliche).

Finally, as a way to escape the tedium of uneventful domestic life and the loneliness of unrequited lust, I’ve been reading a lot of books lately.  Usually they fire me up to write, but for some reason the books I’ve gone for recently haven’t breathed life into the comatose Muse.  She remains supine.  I hope she’s not dead.

In fact, I was so impressed by one book in particular I wanted to review it for you.  Sadly, I proved unequal to the task.  I also didn’t want to give away too much and ruin the story.  I hate it when people do that.

The book is Dave Eggers’s The Circle.  Let me know if you need any more information about it.  I’m a slow reader, but it’s just shy of five hundred pages long and I plowed through it in four days.  Granted, a lot of the pages consisted of dialogue.  Still, it’s a page turner.

So is Douglas Coupland’s The Gum Thief.  And Thomas Berger’s Meeting Evil.  Max Barry’s Lexicon, not so much.  I preferred his Machine Man and Jennifer Government. 

If you prefer nonfiction, check out Jack El-Hai’s The Nazi and the Psychiatrist, or Andy Warhol:  Prince of Pop by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.

I don’t bother with movies anymore and have essentially stopped listening to music, except once in a while while hanging up laundry.  I need silence to recover from the onslaught of K-pop, Korean ballads, and K-rap (or “krap”) I hear every time I leave my apartment.

Modern Korean music is almost as bad as the unbreathable waves of yellow dust, the toxic miasma blowing in from China and Mongolia and the growing Gobi Desert that heralds the advent of spring.  This rich formula of lead, mercury, cadmium, and assorted other goodies makes a mockery of spring fever, taunting those who are willing to boldly go where no generation has gone before to risk cultivating an unholy host of malignant tumors.

Go for it, kids!

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4 thoughts on “Do You Ever Feel Your Brain Is Being Chopped Up Into Bite-Sized Bits?

  1. Not bad for a guy with writer’s block. I am a slow reader, too, and my reading lately has been magazine articles for a course I’m doing. This is much easier on my nose since I read mostly in bed and when I fall asleep magazine pages fluttering over my face is much gentler than, say, The Bible (your favourite classic) crashing on my nose.

    Thanks for the shout-out, my friend. I’m contemplating a blog change as my writing time is also limited and I’m changing focus. There’s only so many hours in a day (I give you a cliche in return)!

  2. Thanks, Susanne. Maybe someone will invent a device that enables you to read in bed without the book falling on your face. No fun to wake up with a broken nose (and if it happened to me while I was reading the Bible, my wife would write it off as divine vengeance). I’m looking forward to reading whatever your new blog has to offer. And your comments are always an inspirational tonic, if you’ll pardon the redundancy.

    • Perhaps you could invent that device, if only to spread around your untold wealth among the blogging toilers…

      And ditto, thanks for the shout-out. Much appreciated from one whose writing I respect.

  3. Thank you very much, Robert! That’s very kind of you to say so. I’m both humbled and honored. By the way, have you ever read the poetry of Jeffrey Harrison? You might appreciate his work.

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