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July 5th - 11th, 2004
July 9, 2004
3 Days To Glory

Last weekend, I heard about a thing that tickles the hair on my balls and injects the fear of a trembling god straight into my veins. It is called the 3 Day Novel Writing Contest, and as the title hints, it is a writing contest in which willing participants hammer out a complete novel in just three days. Like the burning spoonful of sugar crackling over a green glass of absinthe, this thing beckons me.

The contest runs September long weekend. Writers are allowed to write an outline beforehand, and the whole contest relies on the honour system. Writers must swear that they have written their entire book between Saturday 12.01 AM and Monday 12.00 PM. Novels typically come in between 100 and 150 pages, so if anyone hands in a 350 page manuscript, they will be laughed at and told to stuff a boiled egg up their ass, cause nobody can write that fast. The contest is in its 27th year, was born and raised in Canada, and was started as a drunken dare. It is open to the rest of the world and the winner gets his or her book published in full glory in 2005.

Now, I know that I've got enough to do, but I've always thought about wiring myself into a chair and writing until I went blind. I don't know how many of the 3 day novels are literary masterpieces, but I do know that mr. richard bachman wrote 'The Running Man' in just 72 hours, and that's a helluva book. The movie was a piece of flaming shit, but the book is eerily prescient of today's obsession with reality tv and even the attack on the world trade centre. And I know that he locked himself in a closet and cranked the whole thing out in three days. And I've often thought about doing the same thing and seeing what would happen. I couldn't tackle something as vast as Enoch, but I could take a shot at a book like Warback, in which the inestimable pimp, Duke Warback, is mistaken for a terrorist by the Americans, or even Ascension, wherein a futuristic Mingus Tourette and Sweaty Charles battle angels and devils in the impending shadow of the return of Lucifer. You know, something snappy like that.

Trouble is, I don't like to do anything alone for too long. I get too nervous and I tend to pour myself too many rum and cokes. So the question is: anybody else out there interested?

from The Official Three Day Novel Survival Guide

The Third Day Attack of Doubts (Feelings of Pitiable Failure)
... Take three deep breaths. Guzzle coffee, black or with sugar. Don't punish yourself. Do that on Tuesday. Get back to work. Take phone off hook. Pull drapes. If you feel lonely – an outcast – you are. That manuscript is now your only friend, the only one who cares. Finish it. Let it have a life, even if you don't. Bravo. -

July 8, 2004
The Burlesque Debate

Last night I was driving around downtown, because I'd spent enough time with myself and thought I should get out and do something. Stopped at a coffee shop and picked up the Journal and read it over a hot mug o java, and read Todd Babiak's Suicide Girls article. Apparently, the girls were running a burlesque show on Saturday night, which sounded exquisite. Really, what could be better than a stageload of hot tattooed Suicide Girls kicking out old school gams and ripping about in boy's underwear and electrical tape?

Finished the cafe, started home and ended up in a bit of a screaming match with myself, which I found sort of odd. I was talking out loud, which is normal for a writer, I think, and I ended up debating the merits of attending the show. On one hand, I reasoned, I can't pass this up. It'll be like the time Tool played for 400 people at school and I had to work. I can't skip something like this. On the other hand, I said, you can't bail on Zygote, you're supposed to help pack envelopes all weekend, AND you're supposed to write out a proposal for the tour in September AND prep the next contest. And THAT is an all-weekend job. If you hit a burlesque show, you're going to suck back fifteen gins, no matter what you promise, and you're going to try to introduce yourself to some unsuspecting tattoo artist and drag her back to the chamber of horrors and stay up and talk about Radiohead until six in the morning and hammer her until nine and wake up, completely useless, at around four in the afternoon, and you can't afford to do that right now.

The debate raged for at least ten blocks, and I didn't realize that I was yelling until afterwards, but at some point I screamed out, I am fucking going, and that is fucking it. To which I replied, and this was the part that sort of scared me and shut me up, "We are not going anywhere on Saturday night. And that is fucking it."

It was the first time I heard myself actually speaking that night, I think. It was all perfectly fine and subconscious and out loud until that point. But after the 'we' came out, I shut the fuck up and looked in the rearview mirror and thought, holy fuck. There is you, and there is I, and now there is WE. And I wondered, thinking about the previous ten minutes, does anyone else have yelling matches with themselves, and if they do, are they usually wrapped in long white jackets and eat their meals with plastics spoons?

Sometimes I look in at this life from the outside, and I worry. The burlesque debate, at this point, is unresolved. On one hand, I think I shouldn't pass it up, live life, enjoy the SG branding and carry on as though the world is a fun and beautiful place. On the other hand, you should really get down to business. That's the deal. I'm not sure yet which way it will go, but I guess we still have a couple of days to decide.

July 7, 2004
Raving Poets

After much hesitation, I finally hit up the Raving Poets on a Tuesday night. The band was hot and some of the poets were hot and some were soaked in estrogen and me and Marcuse, who had rolled into town, sucked back our weight in gin and tonic and talked about what the fuck exactly constituted good poetry. Angst. Humanity. Experience. And what constituted bad poetry. Confession. Adverbs. Intellectual or emotional masturbation. Similes. Lecturing. It felt good to talk about it. Not something I get to do very often, surprisingly. And good to hear other wordsmiths ball up and let fly on the mic. The next time, I better bring my little pink book along and join in.

After the show, I bid Marcuse farewell and walked over to the Buddha's golden arches, in hopes that Rae-Anne would be working. She was, and her shift ended soon after and we went to a little Korean restaurant that was still open and talked and she told me that she was going to be leaving town for the rest of the summer, starting in a week or so. She was quitting her job and visiting relatives on the other side of the country, and working there. And I was sad. So I bought her a drink and took her back to the ruckshack and we did our latenight sauce grind and it was warm and sticky but when she was finished i knew I couldn't come cause i was thinking too much about how she would be gone and the summer would be long and it was too bad, because there is nothing quite like reaching satori under the golden haunches of someone from the far-east and so i rolled over with that erection flopping around and sort of lay there and after awhile got up and watched the lights twinkle in the distance, through the rain on the window and felt alone again and thought that maybe jesus christ i would have to phone old Chloe again and punch out her stupid accountant friend again cause i was weak and would not be able to spend the summer without woman company. yes yes, summertime rolls

July 6, 2004
Death of a Blog

After yesterday's outpouring of support, I felt there was a reason for all this, that at least somewhere, somehow, there was someone who gave a damn.

And that damn was FrutigerBlack. Yup. The rest of the world heard about the return of Mingus Tourette and went about ordering salad.

This is a lesson in love, I think. Relationships, readerships, and online communities need love, just like anything else. And blogs need love. Or else they die.

Take, for example, the recently deceased MadPony website. It was a well-written, fun journal about sorority life, with attention paid to shoes, sisters and ponies. The girls would post little picture essays and everyone seemed to have a good time. I know I did. But I think the internet stardom got to them, and as of June 17 2004, the Madpony is no more. It is a tragedy. Even more of a tragedy; the lack of posts at Zeldman's Glamourous Life site. His writing shortly after the 9/11 attack, from the perspective of a sensitive New Yorker, was both riveting and touching.

In some strange way, both blogs were a part of my life, and when they disappeared, it was a bit like losing a circle of friends, like having a good book pulled away before finding out what happened in the end. And though it is sad, and probably necessary for the people involved in writing them, there is value in the way these things end, just like all relationships.

As such, I would like to reassure those who sniff about here between bagel and morning coffee that I value this little enclave, and if the time comes to pull the trigger on it, I will try to do it with as much class, dignity and consideration as I can. Unless I have been killed by the CIA or arrested in Texas for sodomy.

That will be all. For now.

July 5, 2004
Full Throttle

My publisher called me in for a meeting on the weekend. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, he's got a glazed look of terror in his eyes when he thinks too much about launching this book. When we met for coffee, he was pretty distant, there and not there. He drank two large coffees in an hour and he talked fast and pointed and kept rubbing his eyes, which were darker than usual.

In short, he noted that we are now less than three months from launch, that 500 review copies will be streaming to publications all over the continent in the next week and that I had better prepare for the onslaught of publicity preparations, whether we actually get any publicity or not. That means dreaming up the next Tournament of Evil and trying to put together 'The September Debacle Tour'. And finding a hundred bloggers to send review copies to. And increasing my readership. And going on an online chat tour. And, start editing the Tento Yuriko book so that if we sell enough copies of Nunt, Zygote isn't stuck with a thumb up its ass for a second book. And help stuff envelopes.

At one point, after he mentioned some nearly-impossible online forum blitz and submitting to magazines, I looked at him and said, "Lots of work left."

He looked at me coldly and said, "Be happy you don't have to do the accounting. I fucking hate accounting. And shipping."

There was a long silence. He looked out the window.

"How you living?" I said.

He didn't answer for awhile, sipping his coffee.

"I'm not," he said. "Not really. At this point, and for the next six months, I am this book and this book is me and whatever it costs is what it costs, and it's already cost me lots, and after that, I can either go back to normal life knowing that I tried to start something and it failed, but at least I tried, or I can run a successful small business and be happy in that. That's how I'm living."

It was raining heavily outside. I was glad I wasn't camping. I nodded and said it was the same with me. Or at least it would be the same with me. I told him I understood, and that I would put my full effort into it, because I knew he had put his in, and that I appreciated him taking this huge chance on me and now it would be time to open it up and not stop until we burned out in spectacular and embarrassing fashion. He nodded and a wry smile flashed over his lips.

"We could be so fucked," he said. "Maybe it'll cost us everything, but I suppose that's the price of dreaming. So fuck it. "

And he drained his coffee and looked at his watch. And I was inspired. And I felt suddenly selfish for wanting to spend time on Enoch when my one big shot was 90 days away, and I resolved to do all those things, to not leave my publisher standing there with his cock in his hand, alone on Parliament Hill. Fuck Enoch, we'll get back to you. There's work to do now; contests, videos, interviews, photo shoots, outrageous acts of shameless self-promotion that would redface a dancing bear... but fuck it, Mingus is back. Every day, larger than life, and he's gonna be walking the line between sane and twisted, drunk and sober and he's going to need help and it may all end in castigating failure but it will be something to see, I can promise you that.

So get ready fuckers, it's going to be a hell of a summer. Mingite Nation, 2004. Believe.

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