Monday, January 4, 2010

Not Too Old Yet

What writers want is piles of books, stacks of manuscripts with handwritten notes on them, cheap TV equipment on which we can view the Godfather for the 300th time in case we’re uninspired or in case we just can’t live one more minute without watching Sonny getting shot to pieces on the causeway. “Look,” the Godfather says, “how they massacred my boy.” Ah! We want our lives to be a huge body of work in progress, and if correlative wastes stem from this pursuit, isn’t this all a lovely form of messy, energetic, creative fun?

In the fizzling, fetid wastelands of my middle-aged heart, I still believe in that. I want my life to be a bustling manifestation of creativity and art, and I want the sloppy, Beethoven-like hair and wild-eyed look to go along with it. To a certain extent, I have achieved this: I am broke, I look crazy, I feel like shit physically, but by God I’m having the greatest creative run of my life. For years and years, I would tell people I had ten projects going at once and the truth was that these ten projects amounted to ten ongoing email exchanges with ten of my old friends. But these days, I really do have ten projects going at once (some have to do with writing; some don’t) and I’m more often than not weeks behind on emails with old friends because I’m devoting so much time to creating instead of avoiding creating. Moreover (I love that word, by the way: it’s easily the most entertaining adverb in the pseudo-intellectual word-choice toolbox), I feel for the first time in years that I am free to express myself however the fuck I want and I can do this without fear of snide recrimination from insecure professorial assholes who are more worried about maintaining a positive image than they are about producing useful, truthful art. Am I bitching about university life again? Fuck yes!

But I do not mean to bitch, mellow reader. I mean to say something incredibly corny. I am forty-six years old – too old to be making a creative run, at least according to the nonsense I hear in Los Angeles – and everything that possibly could have gone wrong for me in the last few years has gone wrong. My mind and spirit should be toast. But despite the odds, despite how much I should feel beat down, I’ve got more gas in my tank (more gas in my ass, too!) than ever. Fuckin-A!

Where am I going with this? I forgot.

Oh, I remembered. You’re never too old to make your run.


  1. fucking A. started something new myself. be 40 in 25 days. get after it.

  2. Life is now. And although I've wasted my entirre adult life pursuing shit I thought I wanted to make everyone else happy...including a circle of collegial assholes like the ones you mention above...I find myself ready to blow this miserable existence fucking wide open on grit and suffering and determination. Keep bitching. Keep on it. You're about the only thing keeping me from thinking I've gone completely batshit crazy at 42.

  3. Fuckin-A. I will keep on bitching indeed! I did intervals in Forest Lawn Cemetery this afternoon, though, and I'm not sure the dead appreciated it.

  4. The somewhat contemporary example to keep in mind: Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winner Alice B. Sheldon, a.k.a. James Tiptree, Jr., who started her sf career at the age of 52 --- the patron saint of late-to-the-table.


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