::Disclaimer, this is a 5,400 word failed attempt at #24in24. Life got in the way, this time. To be attempted again soon::
It's six minutes past midnight on Feb. 13, 2020. I made a commitment to myself earlier yesterday evening that I would be #writing 24 words in 24 hours, but I didn't know WHEN I was going to do such a thing. Turns out that time is right now. And I am going to #publish it on Write.as in the form of THIS blog post. I, personally, have never seen a 24K word blog post on any blog before, and certainly not on Write.as, so this will probably be some kind of record. #Cool!
Originally, I was contemplating ways to record the entire process. How I could get a MacBook (pricey) and do picture-in-picture and stream it on Twitch.tv or YouTube, and then I thought about recording the screen and uploading it later via an iPad and iPadOS, but, again, very pricey. I am using a Raspberry Pi 4 (4gb RAM, 32gb MicroSD), and it is very slow and unimpressive. I wish I had something better/faster, but that will have to wait for another day.
Also, while researching this endeavor I discovered that my accomplishment of writing 3 million words (at least) in 14 years was not that big of a deal. A few folks out there have written a million words in a year. One guy (who ranked well on DuckDuckGo search) wrote in a blog post that he averaged 2,200 words per day in his “One Million In One Year”, and I kind of thought to myself: “I have written 2,200 words a day for long stretches of time, even if not for an entire year”. So, maybe one million words in 365 days is doable for me at some point, but I amnot too concerned with that right now. What is really hardcore are the people I have found (through rudimentary search) that wrote one million words in a MONTH! That is cray cray! That is 250K in a week. I couldn't imagine. But then again I sorta can.
As for this document, the 24K word document, I do not expect anybody to read the entire thing (let me know if you do! Use #ResponseTo24K as a hashtag and I will see it!). There are some things worth considering for an endeavor of this magnitude. For one I have to make sure that I have plenty of coffee. That I can brew coffee quickly and efficiently (I can, as I do every day). That I have tobacco. That I can pack a bowl in the cob and puff away, quickly and efficiently. And also nicotine lozenges, when I am sick of constantly packing the bowl with tobacco. I also have to stay hydrated, take breaks, and have ample time on my hands. Check, check, check.
So a lot of this all seems very meta right now, but there was never a claim of me trying to #write an #ebook or anything with this document to begin with. I actually am not a super-big fan of writing e-books, at all. Fiction is atrocious to me (to write, not to read). I can never think of neat shit to say about some fantasy characters or made-up land, or anything like this. I can write what I know and what I like and just...go with it.
20 minutes in, 500+ words. Good deal.
Seeing ish like that gives me the confidence that I CAN write 50K words in 24 hours, I just can't undeniably prove it without better hardware. But, so it is.
So let's talk a little bit about my writing influences. To name a few:
everything my Hunter S Thompson (HST). I have read all his #books numerous times and loved the concept behind Gonzo Journalism (even though its truest form never saw the light of day)
Truman Capote “In Cold Blood” and Harper Lee “To Kill A Mockingbird”. I mention both of those together because they were great friends in real life, and you can see this melancholy similarity between the two works when you read through them separately in a short period of time. Pure beauty. “To Kill A Mockingbird” got me through a very difficult (short) period of my life and “In Cold Blood” has just always captivated my imagination in so many ways. Great works.
The “Offline” series from The Verge by Paul Miller. This is the only #writer from the list who is still currently alive. He wrote the longform series between Mar. 2012 and Mar. 2013 where he, Paul Miller, went offline (stopped using the Internet) for an entire year and wrote consistently about it and submitted the “copy” to the Verge editors where they published it onto TheVerge.com themselves (so he didn't have to use the Web to get it out there). Such an incredible journey that I will be forever envious of, and that inspired me to go offline for weeks at a time, myself, but I certainly never made it an entire year.
early Egotastic. There is a Website (dedicated mostly to smut now) that was, at one time, one of the biggest celebrity gossip blogs on the Internet (when celebrity gossip actually mattered, it doesn't anymore). The writer, Phil M (Philip Miresco) always had funny things to say about the latest “scandal” or just sling snark about whatever was happening in the tabloids that day. He definitely inspired me to start Notorious News (an old blog of mine mentioned in a previous blog post).
These have been the “big ones” that stand out in my mind in terms of what “inspires” me as a writer. Not many things do it, believe it or not. I am sort of self-propelled, independently-motivated. I just assume it has to do with the idea that I pretend like I am a hermit the majority of the time and just think that I am an under-privileged farm boy who cannot afford books or access to “good writing” so I just try to invent a NEW way of doing it all by myself.
I do not do this, of course. I don't think I could write a NEW form of writing if I truly tried. In fact, I am not sure what the “voice” is of my words (though I have an idea of it) and I am not exactly sure what others can draw from having read my writing. Other than, as I mentioned Gonzo Journalism before, I try to write without ANY type of filter whatsoever and just go from thing to thing in my (multiple) daily blog posts and not stick to any particular themes (anymore).
1,105 words. 36 minutes. 23K left to go! :)
So, having written on the daily for this long a stretch of time (I call it a stretch because sometimes it DOES feel like a prison sentence), I can't say that much has evolved over time as much as just improved with experience. Like I am working my way up to a certain level, instead of “re-writing” the rules of what English is, or can, be. I know that there are numerous, NUMEROUS ways to approach writing a book (I have written several e-books, most of which found their way to the trashcan in short order), and some day, SOME. DAY., I will go the traditional publishing route and get a book out there but it will not be because I am some new age genius with what I am writing or HOW I write it – it would have to have some level of relevancy in the real world that would
A) land me a book deal
B) have a literary agent and publisher who was very patient as the book, itself, came to fruition
C) have a subject matter that was compelling enough to make people want to pick up the thing and read it, review it, recommend it, etc.
This is the type of book that I would write. Not a novel, or a biography (I don't think), or n almanac or any weird shit like that. Just writing about an event or occurrence that was exciting and keep the reader focused on what the pages contained within.
What are some other things that inspired the #24in24 endeavor?
Nothing that I can put a finger on right now. I have to admit that I draw some inspiration from a guy (who doesn't blog very much anymore) named Pieter Levels (levels.io is the blog) whom I followed on Twitter (when I still used the Birdsite). He tends to be fairly capitalistic, very business-centric, very market-y in a lot of ways, but he does do some cool shit at a fairly fast pace and does so well and grabs a lot of attention WHEN he does something. He also does things on his own, without employees, and I can respect that. But what really drew me in to the “writing a substantial document in a short about of time” bit, was that I know my strong suit always has been and always will be writing in and of itself. So I suppose my realization from yesterday about how I wrote 3M words in 14 years got me to thinking what else I could accomplish in the finite amount of time I have on this Earth. #24in24 is a good way to do that (for starters).
1,500 words, 50 minutes. Not bad.
I hope that this blog entry does not crash the Write.as servers. I really hope it doesn't. That would not be good. Like I mentioned before, I am positive this is a record for “longest blog post on W.a”, but I don't wanna cause problems. Here's to hoping it goes off without a hitch!
...aaaand a restroom break!
I'm Back! And with that I got coffee started, as well. Time to pack a bowl of tobacco and settle in! ....and bowl is packed! I am not going to light it until I have my coffee brewed and ready to sip, though. I am also going to be making these breaks regular at the top of every hour to be sure I do not want to die when I am only a few hours in. I think this document is going to be finished sooner than I expected, though. It will definitely be finished before I head out of here at noon today (11 hours from now) to go do laundry and get a bunch of running around done. Oddly enough, tomorrow (Valentine's Day, Friday) will be the first day of my mother's independent living. After my Father died (Jan. 20, 2019) she still had my niece living with her. As of Valentine's Day, she, my niece, will be moving into the house her and her fiance bought just a couple of months ago (moving day is V-day, just sort of worked out that way for them). But regardless of what day it is, I hope everything works out for the best for everybody. :)
Water is boiling, time for the French press pour.
“Here is a question: is writing work?” – Jack, Croupier. A movie I saw forever ago on...HBO? Showtime? I can't remember but I remember buying the DVD from Amazon a loooong time ago and watching it many, many times over. It stars Clive Owen as a would-be writer who lives an exciting life as a Croupier (card-dealer) at a casino and then writes some sort of tell-all book about what all goes on there under an anonymous name. The lines from the movie and a lot of the characters and events are beyond cheesy, but it is a good film, nonetheless.
But is writing work? I don't think so. It comes too easily, naturally to me. I can challenge myself and MAKE It work, or do some crazy shit like #24in24 and it feels like work, but too much work subtracts from the fun of the whole thing, and I don't want that to happen.
Poured coffee. Black coffee. But flavored coffee. It is a Community Coffee brand and has vanilla (chemicals) in it and it doesn't taste all that great, to be honest. Very sweet though.
So (backtracking) why did I write a 100K word book and then just trash the damn thing with (little) intent on ever editing it, making it a “proper” document? The name of the book was “Job Corps Rule!” and it was simply documenting my experience at the St Louis Job Corps in 2003. And as life changing as that experience was, and as much fun as I had, there was NOTHING exciting to write about in the text. I figure “the words would come to me” and in a desperate attempt to re-motivate myself halfway through I decided I would re-work some of it and continue it as a “fictionalized memoir”. LOL! Trash. The time I had at “JC” was incredible and I made many terrific friends there. But there was not a lot from that experience that I would consider particularly note-worthy enough to get publish in a 100K memoir. I tried though. And that is what counts.
My my, 2K words. Already!
If anything, this project will teach me a lesson in stamina/endurance. LMAO! And also, I wanna make a somewhat “philosophical” remark real quick: it is OK to scrap what you are working on and start anew. This document, in and of itself, will probably only withstand the lifespan of this blog (this Write.as blog). I mean I can and probably will save it, but it is me knowing I DID the thing that matters. I only prove things to myself, usually, and not for fanfare or kudos. Though, sometimes some praise for a job well done is appreciated, as well. But be it a book, a music project, a Web design project, or whatever else – don't be afraid to hit “delete” and rid yourself of that clutter and do something new. I, to this day, am convinced that the Internet itself will not last forever and that we could arrive at a digital dark age in terms of all the stuff we put on the Web over the course of the past several decades. I am not HOPING it happens, I just feel we could be headed in that direction what with climate change occurring at the pace that it is, and server farms being finite in the world, etc. But that is another discussion for another day.
The coffee and the tobacco is very nice right now, by the way.
Lemme remark on #NaNoWriMo – it's like a “thing” now. That is National Novel Writing Month. I do not know if there is a NaBoWriMo (National Book Writing Month), but if there is, I haven't heard of it. People go and work on their novel for X amount of hours in the day, everyday, for a month and see what comes of it and there are forums for inspiration, and hashtags to keep up with all over, and lots of STUFF affiliated with NaNoWriMo. I can't keep track! Again, I don't write novels, so I have no reason to keep track, but I am glad people are out there encouraging writers to write and just “level up” their skill as much as possible. Motivation is a good thing.
2,550 words. Hooray! 10%!
Music is very important to me. I used to listen to music as I wrote large documents in the past for Jefferson College (JeffCo) in the Fall 2011 semester. I would listen to T Rex, Iggy Pop, Ramones, The Velvet Underground, and lots of OLD punk rock to keep me focused, yet, zone me out at the same time. There is not music currently playing. I rarely listen to music as I write anymore. I don't write in a technical sense, either (such as academic writing), so, I suppose I do not have to. But I am glad the days of academic writing are behind me. I did not graduate college either. In fact, I passively took on the label “college drop-out” in recent weeks because I dropped the few classes I was taking at STLCC (St Louis Community College) because I just can't let my time/energy be confined to higher education. All I was going to get was an AA, anyway, so why the hell bother? LOL! In fact, I don't like anything to take up my time/energy that involves a form of LONG TERM commitment. That is why I like “short spurts” of effort and energy on any given subject so I can get moving along as quick as I can. The freedom to go and do XYZ at the drop of a hat is what keeps me feeling alive. I can go hike the friggin' Appalachian Trail right now if I wanted to. I have no intentions of doing such a thing (at this point in my life), but previous obligations would certainly not hold me back from doing such.
This brings me to the subject of nomadism, or for me, SLOWmadism (a term I heard elsewhere). Some people (understandably) enjoy movement to go from one place to another. Far and wide. Bi-coastal or international, or whathaveyou. It is “not wanting the grass to grow beneath their feet” that makes them feel good, secure. These are true nomads. SLOWmads, like me, tend to stay in one place for a year or more at a time. I've been from North St Louis living out of a wall locker, to Daytona Beach, Florida living out of an empty wallet with only the clothes on my back, to living in downtown St Louis with nothing much besides a mattress and an 18L backpack, etc. And it is not the “moving about” I care as much about, but the ability to move about, owning very little, and the cathartic “thrill” of the ability to drop it all and Go if/when a time should arrive. This goes back to being bogged down in a big way with a lot of responsibility, bills, dog ownership, and many other things that I will not go into here – but lack of being weighed down truly does wonders for the human psyche, I have found.
3K words. Yippie!
I had to slam a Liter of water just now because I was having stomach pains from so much coffee this morning, yesterday evening. I probably had six cups yesterday, plus the one I had just now. Not good. Makes me FEEL good, but the health benefits of drinking black coffee tend to be drowned out when I overdo it. Tobacco isn't good for me, either, but at least that doesn't upset my stomach.
I should do these big documents more often. I feel liberated in some odd way. Terrific.
Time for another break.
Ahhhh, had to rest my back in my (super-comfy) chaise chair. Thing is like a chiropractor, I swear. I feel better now.
So, if you have read this far (or plan to read the whole thing (thank you, by the way)) let me know – are YOU a writer? Do you write daily, weekly, monthly? Hourly? What and where do you write? Books, articles, diary entries? In physical format or on the Web? I would like to know. Again, #ResponseTo24 is a proper hashtag that I can see your remarks. (this is starting to sound like a late-night infomercial now, lol!).
Who am I? What do I do?
In case this is your first time on this blog, I am TMO (actual initials) and I am a writer. I live off a very scant income and spend my days failing to increase that income through writing. I have a Venmo and all that, but I usually end up giving my writing away for free. I do want to write a traditionally published book (hardbound, and everything), but I haven't written said book, yet. The descriptors of the KIND of book I would like to write are written several thousand words above, but I have one (somewhat defeatist) caveat in my character: I cannot stand rejection. And the thing is, the literary agents I have corresponded with are the Nicest People! They offer constructive criticism, are professional, and just a joy to speak (e-mail) with. I don't know why it is that I do not just bust my ass trying to get one of them to take on a manuscript that I have (if I had one, I would need to write a new one because the old ones are finito). One of them would work with me, be patient, shop my book to a decent (perhaps indie) publishing house, and I could go from there. You see, I am realistic about the whole thing, and things are brighter than I make them out to be, but sometimes I become defeatist about the whole thing and that is toxic. I should try harder.
Which brings back the question: is writing work? I have like, no possible work ethic whatsoever. It was basically absorbed by my sister, which she inherited from my dad, and I inherited none of it. Not that work ethic is a genetic trait (it isn't), but a learned trait, that I fail to grasp fully. Probably another reason why I despise “hustle culture” so much, because people can (and in 2020, often do) work themselves ragged for X amount of money and then burn. the. fuck. out. and have to start from scratch all over again. I suppose I should put time and energy into the book thing, though. It's work (of which I have no ethics for), but it has such an amazing potential for a life-affirming pay-off that I am thinking I just have to WANT it more than anything to actually GET anything out of it. I am not talking about money, either. I mean...vindication. A lot of it has to do with NEEDING the vindication, too. NEEDING the fanfare and kudos of the general public who read, review the work. NEEDING the “status” of being a pUbLiShEd AuThOr, or/and NEEDING the sense of accomplishment that would follow having a book sent out to the world for the general public's consumption. Perhaps this “NEED” isn't keeping me awake at night? Perhaps a book (a great one) is a calling, and not a thing I just force myself to do for the sake of doing so? Dog knows I am doing anything and everything in preparation for if/when the time DOES arrive that I feel a calling (and NEED) to write a substantial manuscript, but this is not a thing that nags me in the night. I don't know. Maybe I am biding my time foolishly when we (I) only live once, and none of us know how much time we (I) have left? Something to consider.
3,800 words! Away we go!
What would really make me happy right now. What would make me as smitten as a kitten in a mitten, is if I had a nice, big STLCC refund sitting in my bank account right now. LMAO! I check it every so often, hoping to hurry up and get 5 years worth of Write.as paid for ($180 at a 50% discount (essentially paying for three years of Pro and getting five years, a good deal)). Looking forward to seeing money just...appear!
And, I am keeping Mastodon updated on the writing progress every so often. I use the instance social.linux.pizza, because I like to socialize, I use Linux, and eat pizza. It's also a very chill, friendly, laid-back group of folks (small group, too, I think). I am off of all other socials, so that is one of the few ways I communicate with actual human beings without seeing them in real life, like I do with friends and family, which I have nothing to do with on the Internet because they use Facebook, and I do not use Facebook, so....
And by the end of this sentence I will have reached 4K words and I feel very good about this. Let's keep it up!
Friends, the in real life type, are finicky. Not saying that online friends are any more reliable, but the kind I've dealt with in the real world can be flaky and unreliable at times. My best friend from childhood, “B” I will call him, and I rarely exchange messages anymore these days. The last time we corresponded was on Xmas Day 2019, and it's been silence ever since. Another “best” friend (turned out not to be so at all), “G” I will call her, burned every imaginable bridge within spitting distance of herself and ran for the hills of isolation and despair. I genuinely pity her. Our group had so many good things going for us, she was the linchpin of it all, and she just said Fuck. That. and bailed for fuck knows why. I guess that happens when you relapse from lack of medication and essentially lose your mind to your own inner-monologue.
But so it goes. Also, I am 2.5 hours into this document and feeling quite good. I also hope that someone takes something away from all this. That someone reads some or all of this document and decides that they, too, can and should try to write more, write more frequently, write more at one time, or whatever they derive from it. That would make me very happy. As you can probably tell, I can be, and usually am, a pretty optimistic person. I credit vegetarianism. Being vegetarian has helped me see things in a whole new light and that is why I have maintained the lifestyle for over five years (six years come August 1, 2020). It is amazing what I can see in the world when I am not burdened with crippling guilt about having eaten the flesh of some innocent animal hours earlier, and am just moving through the world as normal herbivore, that I, we, ALL humans actually are. I don't judge others for what they consume, it's a personal choice. But when the weight of the world came off my shoulders just one month into going plant-based, I knew I would never turn back. It is interesting how ever since I was a child, I always felt a tremendous “wow, this is a fucked up thing I am doing” type of guilt when I was eating meat, or even drinking milk. I still remember my mother returning home from the grocery store when I was five or six years old and loading the fridge with lot of fruits and veggies, and I was asking what each one was called (I had never seen that much healthy food before!) and she systematically named each one. It was in a short-lived effort for the whole family to eat healthy, and after naming all of the fruits and veg, she said “some people ONLY eat fruits and vegetables. They are called vegetarians, and they are very healthy!”, and BOY did those words stick! I remember glancing at her, and then back at the fruits and veg in the fridge and thinking to myself: “one day, I will be a vegetarian!“. And I have been for 5+ years now, always will be until the day I die.
But “vegetarianism” didn't mean fruits + veggies + whatever eggs and milk and bullshit I can sneak into my diet when I felt like it. No, vegetarianism to me then, and now, means fruits and vegetables only. What a lot of people in the health food world would call “raw foodist”. I, on a rare occasion will have cheese pizza or something (usually a cookie) made with dairy milk, but I don't drink dairy, I don't eat cheese sandwiches, and have stopped with eggs some time ago, too. The “tmo.pizza” moniker in my URL for this blog is because pizza is delicious, but because it was the funniest, least serious URL extension I could find. I'd love to be tmo.raw or something to this effect, but such an extension does not exist, yet. And I put a LOT of effort into eating only raw fruits (fruitarianism, essentially) but what always ends up happening is I eat vegan 90% of the time. Quinoa, rice, beans, things like that. I feel no guilt towards that, just how I end up doing it.
3 hours. 4,700 words. Need another break!
Another bowl of tobacco, another sit on the chiropractic chaise chair, keeps me going.
Despite the tobacco, I am glad I have my health. I have no major issues (besides psychosis (medicated for that), and acid reflux (medicated for that, too). I know what brought on the psychosis, though – huge amounts of LSD in my teenage years. Man, I am GLAD those years are behind me. Whenever someone asks about my teenage years or my childhood beforehand, I always say “it seemed like it took forever”. I just always wanted to be old, or oldER, at least. I still do. I probably keep myself alive through never wanting to quit, and spite for people who think I will quit. Sometimes a glare or stare-down as if to say, “yep, I'm still here” is enough to keep me going. Sounds nefarious, but it is absolutely true. I think MANY people thought I would be dead at 21 (I was a textbook case of someone who would have ended their own life at THAT time, certainly not now). Now I am 36 and happy. Content, even. At 21 I was undiagnosed, unmedicated, out of my mind, survived a terrible withdraw period from a year of slamming my system with alcohol at every chance I had, and before that – freshly brainwashed from a brief stint in the military where I lost every semblance of identity from years prior. A raw, and unfiltered headcase. Took years of psychotherapy and regular medication to get a grip on who the hell I actually WAS. And then CHANGE who I was into who I wanted to BECOME! Been a long journey, and I still have further to go. Looking forward!
5K words. 20% there! Dog bless!
So where does this chapter begin? There are no “chapters” so to speak. Just words. Many of them. Put altogether for writings sake. I hope to reach 10K my sun up. Let's stay on course for just that.
I have a love/dislike (not hate) relationship with technology. I am not “technically-minded”, as I have said in blog posts past. I was not raised with computers. No early years of writing BASIC for fun games on a Commodore 64 or whatever. I came into the tech world “late in the game” as far as computers were concerned, but early as far as the WWW was concerned. I used the Web for the first time in 1994 when I was in fifth grade. It was a fascinating experience. And many teachers had great things to say about it. I just knew that I wanted to have a computer in our house so I could use it all the time. But then I would have missed out on so much, too. I continued to ride my bike endlessly, get into trouble, sneak bottles of whiskey out of the liquor cabinet to share with friends at sleepovers before deciding to TeePee (or TP) a neighbors house on many occasions in that time. I felt it was time well-spent because it was just endless human connection. Socializing to an endless degree of interaction that had no beginning, end, or middle – just friendship for the SAKE of friendship. Activity for the purpose of activity. I am lucky to have had an analog life for those years. Some people will never know what I am talking about, but it was good while I had it, and still do to an extent.
On a very related note, technology now, in 2020 when I am 36 years old and SURROUNDED by the stuff continues to baffle and frustrate me to no end on some days. I have nothing but respect for those out there who can “Make” and start businesses, and build the future of the Web with skill and dedication, but I cannot. Too simple of a creature, I suppose. But I like it like that. Luckily, before I even used a computer for the first time (an Apple 2E, by the way) I wrote religiously (on the regular) via pen and paper in notebooks. Usually about books that I liked to read. Or things my mom read to me from the Sunday St Louis Post-Dispatch (stuff that a kid could hear, most of that stuff was, and is, bad news). So, in many respects – not a lot has changed! LOL! Still writing about things I like. Still writing about whatever thoughts come to mind and 'writing about what I think to help me understand why I think it'. Self-amusement is what it comes down to, I think.
OK, 5,400 words – 3 hours and 20 minutes – I still have 20+ hours to finish up this document so I am going to take a LONG break for a while.