This week’s writing assignment was to pick a story from our book and write a letter to the author about any problems you had with their work:
Hey Jack Kerouac:
I chose to write to you because I’ve always held you up on the highest shelves in my library. But I’m not sure if it’s your writing or who you were that makes me fall into everything you read. I think it’s because I can hear you scatting the words out for me. I love that I can hear the jazz in the lines. But I don’t think it’s fair. We have to adhere to impeccable grammar and strict linguistic rhetoric. You can write lines without paragraphs, moments without purpose, just images of life that get all balled up into one big, “Huh?” What are you getting at, Jack?
But I love it. I love that you see yourself traveling and wondering “Why didn’t I stay home.” I love that you write about being a Buddhist and then say, “I’m not a beatnik. I’m a Catholic.” I love that you’re the Yankee transfer living in houses all around my part of the country. I love that you have years of experience under your skin but seemed so shy on television.
So, your story, Jack, “Passing Through Tangiers” is good, but I had to stop myself and go back. It’s the merchant marine talk that I can’t stand. I get into the personal invocation and then you mess it all up when you start with the “This was a huge tempest that whacked at our C-4 from the North, from the Januaries and Pleniaries of Iceland and Baffin Bay.” All of a sudden I feel like I’m watching an old black and white war movie. I’m thrown into the “boyness” of Cowboys and Indians. I can’t relate so I skim until you break your sporadic train of thought and tell me, “I feel I didn’t explain that right, but it’s too late, the moving finger crossed the storm and that’s the storm.” Then I love how you write all over again.
I can’t offer any revision because I’m a girl trying to read into a boy’s mind. It’s like trying to read though “silk stockings full of mud.” Even though you tell me “somebody else write it, I don’t know how,” I don’t think you’d want a girl to take over this ship for you, Jack. A girl would clean up the moments and throw emotion in for action. This is truly something only you can do.
I use to travel all over and followed your trail looking for the pictures you described to me. You said that “I actually got up and packed to go back to America and find a home.” It’s too bad too. We would have been neighbors, Jack, if you hadn’t left twenty years too early.Love always,
Jack Kerouac @ Wikipedia
Today was a good day. Well, it was but as you’ll see at the bottom of the entry, something did manage to piss me off severely. Go figure.
Anyway, like a dum dum, I waited until today to post my class stuff. I knew I would do it. I knew that when I told Fran that I couldn’t go to her Dad’s for dinner last night that I wasn’t going to get anything done. I had the stupid story written on a legal pad and all I had to do was type it up. So I finally did…at noon today. And that would have been fine and all if I didn’t jump out of bed all flustered because I was late in my work and tried to wake myself up and drink coffee that wouldn’t stay hot in my skull mug because I was letting it sit out for too long while I wrote. It would have been fine if my new, kick ass keyboard didn’t decide to have a faulty space bar so it makes the most annoying CLANK every time I hit it. (And I type fast so here I am with thirty plus perfectly quiet little alpha keys making my life simple and then every word ending with a CLUNK…CLUNK…CLUNK. Oh my God, I was ready to throw it out the window if it wouldn’t have been more of a hassle to unplug it and pull out the computer and set up the old keyboard again.
Plus I was still freaking out about not having my insurance up again until next month but I need the allergy pills to keep me from feeling like I have a slight cold all the time. I had gotten new insurance cards saying that I had successfully changed plans to the cheaper HMO. The card said the effective date was August 1, 2007, but the paperwork I had received from work said it didn’t start until October. So I called my doctor’s office and the receptionist said just to call the insurance company and ask them because if I have a card and an effective date, then I should be able to come in for a visit to get my prescriptions renewed. I called, they said I was covered, I made an appointment for Monday afternoon at the doctor’s so I can get my prescriptions renewed again and I was glad. Now, as far as the pharmacy and the prescription plan coverage goes, I’m not sure but, eh, we’ll see.
Then, I was still irritated about my keyboard. (As I type this I still am.) I contacted the seller on Ebay where I got it “brand new” from and he said to call Microsoft and tell them about it. He said he sold it to be brand new and it should not have anything wrong with it (even something as menial as a clinky, clanky, clunky space bar…I’m still trying to find the appropriate word to describe it with) and Microsoft will replace it for free. I wasn’t sure if that was totally possible but when I called the number and pressed “1” then “2” as he told me in his email, sure enough, all I had to do was give the rep the product number on the bottom of the keyboard and they said they would ship a new one to me within two days. I already received an email saying it had been mailed out. So awesome. No wonder Microsoft is a monopoly. No one has customer service like that.
I calmed down, typed up my story, realized it sucked and my whole manipulated perception of the story I had written was absolute sentimental crap that I complain about all the time. It was too telling, too boo hoo, too girlie and too uninteresting to even fathom. I had this great extensive idea for the whole thing and I had worked on other scenes to develop further than the introduction I had originally hand written but when I looked back on it, I just fell flat with my ideas. I hate that. It’s the hardest thing to go from your head to your hand as far as creativity goes. If you can’t orchestrate all of the images and details that you see clearly in your head, it just will not work. And I’m horrible at explaining things verbally so trying to find the right words to show someone what’s going on in my thoughts is just impossible sometimes. It’s the worst feeling when someone gives you that blank look and says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Consequently, it’s the best feeling when someone says, “I get what you’re saying.” I apologize to everyone when I “finished” what I had and resented having to post anything that hideous as my workshop piece but, it was late as is so I sucked up my pride and posted it. If anyone in the class says they like it, then I’ll know they don’t have a clue what good writing really is.
Now, for the pisser part of the evening:
I don’t think anything made me more outraged than this article: Survey says women patronized by pink tech. It wasn’t the article itself, but the moronic slew of comments that I ended up responding to. And I didn’t even care about the damn article!
These were my comments on Blogsmith with the links to the discussions. Grr…Example:
John @ Sep 15th 2007 11:37PM
A color cannot by itself be patronizing…it’s the actions of people that are. Give a woman a pink dress, pink shoes, a pink credit card, and put a diamond on her finger and she’s all happy, but give her a pink phone and a diamond encrusted pink ipod and all of a sudden we’re having this stupid conversation. Women out there…..get a life !!!Reply
Delores @ Sep 20th 2007 9:48PM
Your ignorant and misogynist statement is EXACTLY why women have these “stupid” conversations.
John @ Sep 16th 2007 12:04AM
(replying to another girl’s comment)
Pink is NEVER the primary feature that is used to market a product to be sold to women. Other things might be patronizing to women, such as saying “so simple, even my girlfriend could use it”, or something like that which would be stupidity. But as for phones, I have NEVER heard a phone commercial on tv saying, “come buy this phone ladies….it’s pink”. Usually, you don’t even know a specific phone is even available in pink until you get to the store and see it there. If using a color were a primary selling feature, that’s like saying even though I am a guy I would have a closet full of orange skirts simply because I like orange. Nonsense. Get the facts before you post.
Delores @ Sep 20th 2007 10:09PM
Yeah, because the RAZR commercial DIDN’T use the song using the lines, “Isn’t she pretty in pink” and started selling them for Valentine’s Day, nonetheless.
You are right on one thing though, “Nonsense. Get the facts before you post.”
Ya see what I mean, girls? Thank God for the simple blessing I have in not even knowing a man in real life who is that fucking ignorant and unjustly condescending. I must close the tab before I scream…
I forgot to mention the other good thing from yesterday. Laura gave me an early birthday present yesterday: an Amazon gift certificate. I couldn’t have been more excited. Those are always the best gifts; something so simple that only someone who really knows you would give. Same goes for Fran and all the kick ass skull t-shirts and the “stupid little gift” she brought back when she went to Disney with her brother and his kids: a pin with Mickey Mouse ears cut out from the design of the British flag. I put it on my purse and have already received comments about it (of course it was just the guy at 7-11 but, hey, one can’t be too picky.)
She Wants Revenge “True Romance”
I’ve had this song in my head all day. I love the way he sings the chorus (like he’s pronouncing it like a Brit would). I like the drum/kick beat best of all though, of course. “I know know that you never loved me. I know that you never cared at all…” I hear it in my head constantly. Now I have, yet another reason to go out, so I can dance to this song. (My other reasons where that I could try to dance to Blaqk Audio “Stiff Kittens”
“Walking with a Ghost”
This was the other one that I had in my head yesterday. I still can’t decide if I love or hate this girl’s voice. But, dammit, I should not have looked this up because now I’ll have a remix of these two songs in my head now. Grr…
The White Stripes “Walking with a Ghost”
Okay, never mind. The White Stripes do it this way freaking better. Go figure. (I knew he had covered it, but didn’t know there was a “video”.) It’s not fabulous, but I’m betting this sound would be better live. I’m telling you, a man can be a good musician, and he doesn’t have to be a great singer, but if he pronounces stuff cool, then I’m all for it. (Just like Andre 3000 Benjamin, for example. I don’t think anyone could ever say the name “Caroline” any better.)
I got an email from Ticketmaster announcing that Morrissey will be at the King’s Center on November 7th. This just makes our much awaited night of finally seeing him all the less special. Damn.
I just found out that they’re doing a Family Guy Star Wars Episode on Sunday.
I kept thinking about Sue Monk Kidd when she said she bought a journal at the beginning of each year to write down what happened each day. I went as far as to order a couple of the large, daily Moleskine diaries, one for the rest of this year (because it was only $5 on clearance) and the red limited edition one for 2008.
Anyway, so tonight I have to write my class responses and that’s about it. I could clean up the apartment, vacuum, take out the trash, you know stuff that has been put off for weeks but, eh, maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. Next week is the end of my class so I have two big projects to complete. I think for my final portfolio I’m going to totally revamp my crappy story and go with the other scenes I wrote a little better — the ones that were supposed to expand the introduction. The story doesn’t need to be that long, but, dammit, I’m not going to waste my time in these classes by not trying to make myself be a better writer. I never went into this program with any other real intent.
For my anthology I’m going with the women’s short fiction I’ve read lately. Since obviously everything I find cool has to do with boys somehow, I was thinking about doing something with this:
“No matter where my route may lie,
No matter whither I repair,
In brief — no matter how or why
Or when I go, the boys are there.
On lane and byways, street and square,
On alley, path and avenue,
They seem to spring up everywhere —
The men I am not married to.I watch them as they pass me by;
At each in wonderment I stare,
And, ‘but for heaven’s grace,’ I cry,
‘There goes the guy whose name I’d wear!’
They represent no species rare,
They walk and talk as others do;
They’re fair to see — but only fair —
The men I am not married to.”
~Dorothy Parker “Men I’m Not Married To” (1922)