Welcome to the Monkey House
A couple of year's ago, I made a decision that I would travel someplace different every year. Not exactly different, more like "out of the country" different. Currently I'm stuck in what could be described as one of the most boring places in the US, the Mid-west. The land here is flat, somewhat resembling the prevailing attitudes of many (not all) of the people who live here.
So that year, I went to Belize. Prior to that, I had been sent to Boston one year and the previous year, I had (finally) gotten to New York City. I followed that up by taking a trip to Belize. Last year, I went to Paris and got sent off to Seattle as well. This year, I am off to Ireland this year.
Perhaps I should have kept a journal of my trips, but I never bothered, I was too busy experiencing things. I'm sitting here at present, wanting to write, but really, not quite sure what to write about. Characters from my novel keep bouncing around in my head, but I'm not really sure if I want to talk with them. Part of me wants to write more non-fiction, part of me wants to write stories. Perhaps there is something in between the two that could keep me occupied.
After talking with my girlfriend about art and how we never manage to make time for these things, I decided that I would intentionally take one night a week to go out to a coffee shop around the corner to sit and write. Sipping tea, listening to my own music in a sanitized cookie-cutter coffee shop. The decor is nice, I'm pretty impressed by what they did with an old Burger King. Unfortunately, there is no style amidst the overstuffed chairs, exposed wood rafters and wood panelling. While the look has changed, its still very much a "fast-food" type place (with coffee instead of burgers).
There are just so many things to write about, I just can't seem to find a good starting point, so I'm writing about writing.
It's interesting to be "alone" surrounded by other people. I'm not quite sure if this is the place for it, its so sanitized, there's no real life as it is, so the experience is a bit dry. The people are older and bourgeoise (then again, I probably am too) not like when I last sat in a place like this and wrote surrounded by high school students in their own intense conversations. There is a place like that, but it would require driving downtown which I wouldn't necessarily mind, but when I get in a mood like this, I'd almost rather not drive. I just want to walk and enjoy the city. This place makes it hard to enjoy the city. It's so dead. I keep telling people that it hasn't decided what it wants to be when it grows up. I guess the cities I prefer are more mature: Boston, NYC, Chicago, Paris, Cleveland, San Francisco, Seattle. It's not so much age (this town is probably as old as Seattle but there is something in the air there that ages it).
It's probably not fair to simply sit and complain about where I happen to live. Sometimes you just have to make the best of it. I try (though it's hard sometimes). The one good thing about this place is that you can always leave. It is in some respects a good jumping off point to go other places. A few years back, I took a road trip all the way down I-35, as far as San Antonio. I stayed with some friends for a few days in Austin. The whole rationale behind that particular trip was that it was some place I could reasonably drive in the car and was sufficiently far enough away from where I lived to make the endeavor worth while.
God I really hate this place. I mean I really loathe it with a passion. Its featureless landscape and its soulless people. I suddenly feel a desire to listen to the Clash and perhaps a bit of Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine, maybe a bit of the Sex Pistols too. I need something loud, snotty and obnoxious. Alas, my MP3 player got borked when I was trying to load music onto it earlier and I think I ended up with only two or three tracks for some damn reason.
My mind is a raging torrent of energy but somehow I can't seem to focus it the way I want. While sitting here, mindlessly typing, I decided that I would simply publish this garbage in a "blog" (god I *really* hate that word, almost as much as a I hate the word "podcast" but more on that some other time). So, I think it might be something to go along with the podcast I'm doing. The podcast started out as a bit of an homage to a friend of mine and is slowly evolving into something as I figure out what it wants to be. I kind of tend to write the same way. I just start writing and let things come out, I'm sort of the conduit for ideas either in fiction or essays.
Looking back at this essay, its all over the place, it could simply be a rough draft but there is a slight order to it (at least in my own mind). Although if I were reading this as a professor, I would probably give it a "C" grade (lacks coherence). Perhaps this whole thing (whatever it is) can be my own little experiment in hyper-text. The web has so much potential from an artistic perspective. It allows you to connect various ideas that in and of themselves might be self-contained but in someone's mind, there is a link between the two. Some sort of Joycean stream-of-consciousness.
As I said before, I'm not quite sure where this is going to go, perhaps I'll set it up so that it's an online 'zine (how 90s is that?). Random essays and stories. Perhaps I'll locate some like-minded individuals who would be willing to contribute. Although this particular piece of software that I'm using (iBlog) isn't that great. It does allow you to focus more on content than on appearance (I do tend to have a particular look in mind and get quite irritated when it can't be done my way). I think I might look around and play with some other software that might be a bit better suited for the project that I have in mind.
OK, I'm going to go publish this and listen to some decent music.
Posted: Wed - April 26, 2006 at 06:40 PM