May I Stop Now Please

25 May


The problem is nothing happens.

I read “A Small, Good Thing” by Raymond Carver. I’ll never write anything that good. Just a fact. I remember reading it in freshman English in high school. It had no impact. No one should study literature before 40. Teenagers are for fucking.

Now I’m too self conscious to type because that story was so good. And I know what I type won’t be. Fortunately I read “Where I’m Calling From” after, which is boring because it’s about sobriety. Something I’m sick of thinking about.

The problem is nothing happens. Shit didn’t hit the fan. Didn’t even make it through the rice I already had, much less the ten pound sack I picked up for corona. Fish tank antibiotics will expire before I’m wounded. The entire thing turned out to be horseshit, which is funny.

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown I panic bought for too much and picked up the last day before they shut shit down shoots tight groups but high and to the right. I tried to “drift” the rear sight to adjust “windage” per the manual. Whacking it with brass rod and mallet as prescribed. Of course I smashed the rear sight. I’ve duct taped it together waiting for the new part to arrive and it still shoots tight groups. The ultimate survival rifle. It’s simple, reliable, accurate and quiet, which is great, but the gun range is a guy five feet to your left with a camo color Desert Eagle and a guy to your right with his home built extra short barrel tactical AR designed to kill deer with sound. The range is like having a guy play drums on your skull for 4 hours then wearing tuning forks on your shoulders for a week.

Turns out you have to clean the gun. To do that you have to field strip it. Which is a real manly phrase. I’d like to say I was a pussy fucking up field stripping. And I kind of was but I took it apart too far then put it back together out back in the yard with the birds singing. More enjoyable than shooting it. Stripping it down, brushing it out, oiling shit. Figuring out how to hold back the recoil spring. Getting it all back together and it works again. Just like they said on YouTube. Took it back to the range and bullets did not explode and splinter white hot lead into my face.

I was writing a story about a Skype date and the idea was real baroque. It was a story about escalating tone. And then I read “A Small, Good Thing” and realized my story was horseshit. Everything I’ve ever done is horseshit. I need to break myself and rebuild. I wanted to do this anyway. The next book different. Better and taking more time. Nothing happens and I have nothing to say. I love the quarantine. Working from home, sitting in the patio chair in back with the cat who loves the quarantine. That fucking cat, gnarly ass gopher eating feral cat with a medical problem on his weird white left inner eyelid, absolute savage wild animal, that fucking cat loves to be petted all god damn day long. That cat loves coronavirus that makes me work from home. My job is pet the cat. Admire the cat. His manly wild cat face. Expression that never goes soft even when I dump him out some chicken Fancy Feast. My job is talk to the cat. Say shit like what’s your beef with the other cat next door. Why don’t you guys just be friends. He’s not going anywhere.

Now the problem is Raymond Carver had Gordon Lish not only vivisecting his stories but also making him famous and getting him paid. I have myself and my day job and I gotta keep blogging so you keep buying my books. The problem is nothing happens.

I posted my face on Twitter and some guy called me a fossil. I’m old. Nothing happens. Still look great from the neck down except the nuts. Been playing Breath of the Wild for 18 months because most nights I’m too lazy to turn on the Nintendo. I have sex periodically with a light skinned black woman with a gorgeous crotch and sometimes a half Japanese half Jewish lady. The quarantine makes everything better. When you only touch a person once a month you see the beauty in the folds of her ear.

Reading “A Small, Good Thing” made me remember Bud. They told me he would be OK, then they told me he was going to die. I was going to take him to the emergency vet in Glendale from the Silverlake vet. Once he was stable. He would be hurt, maybe damaged. Maybe I’d have to keep him inside but he would live. Then his pupils went wide and they told me- the woman told me it meant he was gone. And they would put him to sleep. And I gave my consent. And the story made me think what if they were wrong.

New pain from old places. Still, it’s a good life and I like it. Raymond Carver wrote a poem about a feeling like this. They put it on his grave. It’s nothing special, thank God.

9 Responses to “May I Stop Now Please”

  1. jhmokthos May 25, 2020 at 12:29 pm #

    You never appreciate what’s unique about your perspective when you’re currently living it. When you get married and the only things you can write sound like shitty NYT op-eds about raising kids you’ll miss these days.

  2. anon May 25, 2020 at 2:44 pm #

    Don’t worry about being a fossil, you could still pull off the beto o’rourke grift and enter political office and smash college gash who dream of liberal ideals. You’re an authentic, fair trade, organic underground writer.

  3. Isaac May 25, 2020 at 5:44 pm #

    Yeah def time to go out and get some new experiences to write about I think. Just getting back from Marfa which is true paradise. Maybe go hunt some boar down there in west Texas?

    Also, you have had editor slash promoter suitors but you refuse to be edited! Worked for lovecraft I suppose but no one else.

    Also have you read serotonin yet?

  4. dickycone May 25, 2020 at 7:05 pm #

    You’re life sounds like it’s about as good as it’s likely to get without kids.

  5. Anonymous May 25, 2020 at 9:14 pm #

    “…When you only touch a person once a month you see the beauty in the folds of her ear….”

    That’s beautiful writing.

  6. Nikolai Vladivostok May 25, 2020 at 10:41 pm #

    Bet that Carver poof didn’t have cute photos of a cat, but. Probably not even funny.
    Let Carver worry about being Carver, and focus yourself on being the best possible version of Tacos.

  7. Selling the Drama May 26, 2020 at 12:13 am #

    ..could always be worse

    I haven’t touched a girl since.. December?

    And I’m attractive. And I feel the loss of touch.

    probably because I enjoy 80s Supertramp

  8. Caleb May 26, 2020 at 4:29 pm #

    Raymond Carver inspired me to write short stories. I read a few of his and thought, “shit, there’s not much to it.” Then I realized it’s harder than it seems. Still, I think it’s fun to write, it’s fun to fail at being a good writer. Better a good bad writer than three fourths of the retarded shit people do. And nothing happens, and nothing will ever happen, not for us, at the end of history. Even if you dox yourself today and are outed as a toxic rape advocate and everyone hates you but the notoriety leads to a boost in book sales, by tomorrow no one will care again, and it will have been as if nothing happened. You can’t not write, if you could you would have stopped a long time ago.

  9. The Smallest, Goodest Thing May 29, 2020 at 7:35 am #

    Wait. We’re talking about this?

    “…Listen to me. I’m just a baker. I don’t claim to be anything else. Maybe once, maybe years ago, I was a different kind of human being. I’ve forgotten, I don’t know for sure. But I’m not any longer, if I ever was. Now I’m just a baker.'”

    I don’t know if I want to complain more about the clunky dialogue or the out-of-touch perspective. This reads like it’s written to reassure neurotic Stepford Wives that (as they hoped) their gardeners and cooks aren’t real people with their own lives.

    And the poem on his gravestone is like something Stephen Crane would have written if he were a complete pussy. Fuck, I hate the literati sometimes.

    And yes, I know Carver is from a “working class background,” that only makes it worse. Fuck.

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