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Why write?

We live in a culture whose values are scattered at best, non-existent at worst. We shorten discourse to the simplest rejoinder possible and we're always looking for the bottom line. What do you believe in that's any more than happenstance? Maybe your life is thrilling and maybe you just play nice with the occasional meandering rant - but either way, you're clearly Pavlov's bitch at the end of the day. You're on Facebook, after all. (And Twitter, 4Square, LiveJournal, etc.)

I used to write. In contemplating picking it up again, I'm faced with the vast numbness that the page presents me with - why on earth would anyone do such a thankless thing with their time? To what end? Having lost the map I started with, what's the point to resuming? I could just do yoga for the next fifty years, eat a balanced diet and walk the life as best I can. Why the FUCK would I ever try to translate imagination into dialogue or prose again? It's a kind of leeching, writing is - it takes energy and well-being away from the generalized, hazy, doped-up ether we all live in and lays it down on the chopping block for inspection. There's little in the way of redemption there. Less of comfort. I'm not really cynical, but I do believe that there's few people left who aren't bored by anything that won't tie off in an emoticon. It's in the language - the hysterical laughter we gave birth to in the 1990s now hums through every synapse. And the message it sends is: nope, no one's listening. Not really.

So why write?
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Work: tele-marketing. It's what I know.

New job, 20 hours/week. Reasonable. Out of a loft, not a boiler room, no one to compete with, no dress code, no rediculous daily quotas-or-you're-gone to hit. It's still telemarketing, so it's still the rapid-chatter pace of any such job, but otherwise it's about as comfortable as it gets. Might even last awhile.

2nd job, small book publisher, needs some sales and some network admin done; might get to employ my supposed computer skills for the first time. Cats, a disheveled kitchen. Peaceful.

Halfway through a six week class on operating systems and binary coding and similar things I'm not interested in; be glad when it's over and I can take something a bit more creative.

Each time I go back to telemarketing, I catch myself looking at things differently. Some things suddenly seem sharper; other things fade to the background. Someone's book on the subway - a cheap thriller I'd never read, swims into view and I wonder about it, though I wouldn't have the day before. Peripheral conversations almost have patterns. If I catch sight of my reflection in a polished surface in public, I look somehow more anonymous, transitory, wraith-like.

It's not something that occupies me the way it used to. It's the line that writers walk, between anonymity and identity. Good writers can walk it all their lives. When the creative act only happens in one's head and on the page, without a partner, there's no need for the kind of bubbling over that performing artists have. Writers lead some of the most boring lives imaginable. Wallace Stevens worked for an insurance company. Robert Frost did something even duller. Shakespeare never left his house. Machiavelli wrote in prison. So did Walter Raleigh. When Steven King "retired", he unretired a few months later, because - what else was he going to do? He'd spent six hours a day for the last thirty years writing. Couldn't stop. Might as well go on publishing. An amazing writer in Texas - thousands of poems, essays, dozens of novels - who I know through email, manages a grocery store. His life's work has yet to be published. He puts it all on a website, and there it sits. I chat with his wife on Skype about it; she's also a real writer. The website's been up for ten years.

I'm not really sure why this has been on my mind. I've been kicking around the prospect of taking an Orson Scott Card story and turning it into a short play. But it won't come to life; I'm just recording stageworthy dialogue into a play format. Maybe I don't know how to write anymore - or maybe I just don't want to carve imagination into print anymore.

Maybe. Though I can't drift anymore. I keep looking through New York Times photo blogs for 2007 and 2008, trying to see what I might have missed. But I don't know.

If anywhere in Manhattan, I can almost feel at home in Union Square, downtown. The 4-5-6 subway in front of a large park. Whole Foods across the street. In the summer there's speed chess, jugglers, skateboarders, hip-hop. In December there's a month-long open-air market. Christmas lights.

Walking through it in late fall brought back something a graphic artist for "Batman" said twenty years ago: "Gotham City is Manhattan below Fourteenth Street at eleven minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November." It's brilliantly obvious. Would've loved to find the right night, get some pictures.

My thoughts, for now, end here.
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First of all, if anyone can find 7th St. in Brooklyn, please let me know. Two hours search on Sunday leads me to conclude that it's invisible.

Interview tomorrow: baseline telemarketing, the same thing I always do. Will I get the job - likely. And I can do it for a time, provided that it doesn't just stretch endlessly to the horizon, as it has before.

Have found two different acting studios to consider. Both teach Meisner work, which isn't where I come from and the last time I tried it I got thrown out and the door locked behind me. But I can find no Strasberg/Stanislavsky work in New York aside from the Stella Adler school, which is more like a conservatory/university environment and wouldn't be right for me. One of the Meisner teachers - I met with both - was quite welcoming; the other could see that I had some bias about the academic aspects of her program and was real quick to cut to, "look buddy - it's a real school and you'll have to keep up." The program of hers I'm considering - a sort of career planning course - starts in January. The other studio's classes roll each month, and I can pick up in December. But neither will happen if I don't have a job in a few days.

Investigated five rhythms dance, which I was introduced to by a friend in SF. It's kind of like movement therapy but interesting nonetheless. This week I drop back into Wing Tsun in New York. The school is likely not as good as Bay Mountain at Fort Mason in San Francisco, which is the largest and best-organized WT school in the U.S., with a ratio of a couple instructors for every low-level student, but WT is WT.

In the meantime, I flick endlessly through political news. The globe goes on spinning.
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3rd interview of the week. #1 for a large pro marketing firm that invites me out for the day to watch one of their associates and consider hiring me. On the day of, the salesman I'm assigned to gets five minutes out the door and says, "rather not waste your time. We'll call you." Right. That was Thursday.

Wednesday I had an interview out in Greatneck. After transit down to Manhattan and back up to Queens and half an hour on a bus into Greatneck, I realize it's going to be a 2-hour commute every day if I took this job. So nope.

Today: Telemarketing in Long Island! One hour on Long Island Railroad, and a two hour stroll through the suburbs looking for the office, which doesn't materialize.

Back to CraigsList. Need a job this week.
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I've been addicted to this Star Trek fanfilm since last week. It's really brilliant.
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3 black and silver wire-mesh juggling balls I got at Valhalla had what appeared to be dried raisins stuck inside them. Picked them out with a knife. Disgusting.
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This might be my (training) mantra... for several months.
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"We have, as far as possible, closed every avenue by which light might enter the Negro's mind. If we could extinguish the capacity to see the light, our work would be complete. They would then be on a level with the beasts of the field and we would be safe. I am not certain that we would not do it if we could find out the process, and that on the plea of necessity."

-Virginia Senate, 1832.

This is the kind of shit I'll be researching through next February.
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