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Losing Momentum. By P. L. George.


January 15, 2006:

Momentum art show yesterday…worked long for no profit, the lit Review trying something the world doesn’t get, that bleeding on a page, forgotten soon…the people, artsy, pretentious, cocktail benders, Nichols Hills…No one bought anything, hell, shouldn’t it be like this?  Many are called few are chosen, like mass consumption, consuming the masses.  Friends didn’t come, the day and night before, barroom talk, beer translation, “oh yeah we’ll be there”…but really, no respect from friends that are frat boys who think they are the shit,… so I’ll get the apologies, the pathetic ones, from six of my friends not showing for my readings…They’ve said it before, don’t respect what I do, see it in their eyes, they can’t hang a dollar sign on it.  There’s a lot of shit that’s hung with diamond ornaments, popular and grotesque…. but I’m trying something beautiful in a black cave of a world.  Stood out of the way….I like the corners of solitude, don’t like public readings, small spotlights, they make me nervous…rather have them say, “Have you read that shit by P.L. George?”…dream one day they say  “Hell, I knew that drunk, I used to drink with him”…and they’ll still be sitting in their shitty little cave bars, living the same lives they were meant for. 

            Don’t have to push Brian my editor.  Not like David, local filmmaker, bohemian, content with coffeehouse talk and musings on David Lynch…Shoved an eighteen-pack in Brians’ backpack, downed six before the show started.  Don’t want to tell people about January twenty-first, my CD release, let them guess where I am…don’t want to pull teeth…good quote from my girl, an adage really, “If they wanna come, they’ll come.  If not, fuck ‘em”…a nice slice of words.  I’m in the sea, surrounded by writers I pretty much have no respect for, but I hang around, I got no other choices…The warehouse that hung the Momentum art was a maze, twenty five hundred people squeezed into a claustrophobic closet, but didn’t realize, being toasted by seven…Me and my girl will travel to my readings, secretly let the rest all wonder where I’m at, this is how it should be.  I was born for misunderstanding, this is how it should be.  Removed that cloud of Momentum hanging for forever.  Get on with my own shit, promote a little, gain some ego and balls and wait for fate or chance…and then be a hero somewhere in some corner of some bar or a quiet room.  It’s always gone like this…choose the thing a tiny few that you could hold in a thimble would give a damn about…I shove all this back in my ambitious mind, to fuck them over when I’m big…keep the ones, treat them holy, that were sympathetic and came to dwindlling readings as the night wore on…to the others, they can fuck off, at least this week, until I’ll need a drinking buddy.  I get mad and then forget…all that liquor.  I need that…to get away from the seriousness of art and putting something down.

January 17, 2006:

So the apologies came, at least two…one I expected, one not.  Not, Andreas’ mom forgetting the Momentum show was Saturday, my semi- coming out.  She had a toothache.  Me understandable on the phone.  Trying every corner to get notice, respect.  The other, won’t name names, with a bitchy, needy girlfriend, who’s hooked on coke, craves attention, as if the world spun around her. I’ve stomached his frat boy stories from Norman, OU football games, drunken stupors, treating women like shit.  Now, no balls, she won’t let him go out without her… oh how the mighty have fallen.  Another friend, Jason, the best man at my wedding, he’s been missing for three months, not returning my phone calls.  Comes out of the shadows, me drunk at Hudson’s pub, thought I saw a Fatima vision…he, dressed immaculate, Adidas white, angelic.  Through all that beer, said he had two hours before his new girl started bitching.  I don’t think men live anymore, dress, demeanor, submission, only the young college kids, but they exhaust me with their trashed, drunk fuck stories.  Skye, Jasons’girl, left a kid in Dallas with the father, divorced.  Within a month, her name was on the checking account, she stays home or goes to school, the same thing…Jason just wants love, someone to take care of, someone to put up with his pills, his personality of neediness and suffocation.  He used to open and close Hudsons bar down… now just a ghost…if this is adult, grown up, stick a knife in me, I’m done.  She’s pregnant, second child, my reaction, shit…everything usually ends in a train wreck for him…suicide or love, they may be sisters.  Our wedding video, Jason made comments, “P. L., dead man walking”…I never walk dead.  My girl lets me be, things only change slightly, no overhauls of life…Andrea, my wife, a saint, no bitch or control in her body. 

            So I go to the artist, or he used to be, now a graphic artist, whatever the hell that means, too much capitalist in him now I suspect…said he’d be at the Momentum show, wasn’t…though he and his girl drag us to midnight bowling out in the outskirts of Edmond…drunk I always turn there, “This is boring, let’s hit that new bar Bakers Street, somewhere out on Memorial Road”…”We’re having fun,” his girl says.  I am, but I want to turn up the gears…what’s happened to everybody?  Age, I think…maybe they’ve been there, done that…me, chained in Catholicism for most of my life, now I extend adolescence out into a dream…I like my strange development.

            Got my CD release, a collection of tired stories, I’ve gotten better over the two years, should be a drunken mess out at the bookstore on the south side of OKC, where no one ever goes.  I’m not telling anybody, only my girl, who’ll be there, because she knows what I am…keep working, building, get a spotlight for the stories.  Hell, “Brokeback Mountain” was a short story, published in the New Yorker…. make the theme gay, handicapped, transgender, they lick it up in Hollywood, these themes makes the dollar signs rise, the grease…

            So the graphic artist who never calls, in his youth days, wins a scholarship to the echelons of an Atlanta art institute, even more prestigious than New York…he suffers from that resting, on past youth laurels still gleening ego from it, I’m turning towards to hate…I know I’ll turn drunk one night, I know me.  To our circle of friends…and cut an irreparable string…I really have no needs.

January 18, 2006:

I call Brian (the editor), he returns it… he wants to take over the Red Cup prose night, first Thursday of every month.  Now run by a girl that’s drugged on the poetry scene, the pretentious, the Galilean coffee-housers, the poets…I’d like to tip them over, spill their guts, and find nothing inside…everytime I see this girl…she teaches at one of the schools in the city…I get them mixed up, OCC, OCU, UCO, hell no one cares…she speaks two minutes not wanting to be sullied by the red dirt faces, that’s doing something more ambitious than the stick up the assers of education.  We go like Jesus, out to the masses, away from the university temples, to the people. Bukowski you saint, you uncommon, ordinary, deep, you had all the answers in your alcoholic lungs.  I want a fire, to upset some cemented, established tables, offending the ones I don’t respect, to make a name….

January 19, 2006:

Hungover…went out midweek to take my girl two stepping to country music.  A friend of hers, Travis Linville, plays acoustic at the Wormy Dog saloon.  My disposition defeat…seventy-five bucks I’ve made in three days waiting tables…failure…writing and art a bitch, a poor one at that.  Questioning everything now, those tumbling doubts, no escape, as I push the forty- year marker.  But there is no other way for me…when in the darkness of my mind, some light springs and drags my weariness to the top.  God or me, something invisible I can’t define…Travis came through with a line, I’ll paraphrase, “can’t do the nine to five, I want a beauty grave”…Guthrie, Thoreau, something they’ve said, but rings true at the Wormy Dog tonight…My girl always encouraging…tells me about a talk she had with her friend before the Momentum show.  Stacy C. says she’s never met a guy like me, at my age (thanks) who will hold out for art when others have given it up for a prosperous road…maybe that’s who I am, a definition, the reason in a bleak world, the fool who keeps doing it, keeping a flame in a windy age, it’s been blowin’ and thundering this week…but I needed these messages, pulling bootstraps, growing rejuvenated balls, stick the stories in hungry eyes, save someone.  There’s hope in this book I’m writing, the memoir, the philosophy, I’ll never self-publish, like some friends who have, who will never make it…I’ll peddle it, get the critiques, this writing is coming easy, flowing, it must be right, gonna attach the story “Bullet” at the end, not because I’m lazy, because what I am can’t be said any better.  Today’s my Friday, gonna wait the dreary tables for four hours, come home to my girl, lay naked, rent a video, get ready for my CD release at Book Beat, fifteen minutes of my small pure glory, read the “Dinner” story, an anthem to an artistic path, make someone take notice, I believe in this.   “Dinner” starts, “another purgatorial holiday was approaching, and my brother, Phil, with his new silicone wife, was coming to Christmas dinner.  He’s everything the American male dreams for.  A hot sixth sense for business, trophy wife, houses on both glistening coasts.  The life for him, the life for most, but death for me.”  That says it all.

January 20, 2006:

So I sit in the midst of a lazy Saturday at silenced Galileo’s bar in the corner, scribbling, smoking, wasting time for my CD release tonight out at Book Beat.  Came unglued last night in the midnight hours of two-thirty a.m., indicting my wife’s friends with my insecurities as an artist.  Mostly hurt, with my slivers of pretentiousness, me always painting myself with the misunderstood, undiscovered genius brush that I think I am.  All my drinking buddies, that which I’ve labeled them now, and only that, I don’t think they have it in them to support anything cultured, so non-evolved.  Hell, look at me, so evolved?  I shouldn’t be saying such things in all my fucked-up hangovers, the tumbling regrets of Saturday and Sunday mornings.  New friends I’ve met, maybe seven months I’ve only known them, support me more than a lot of these fucks that have insulted me a trillion ways.  But they don’t know how I take these slight cuts, so hard, as rivers of forever.  They want me to come over, to look at their dogs or cars or new couches or boats, to drink.

            I’m not such an enigma to do this, so hermetic as a writer, no pretentiousness lingers along these lines.  I can get drunk with the best of them.  I’ve got a long record of wobbling and sleeping in bars.  Maybe it’s suffering fools moderately.  Maybe it’s the scars of abandonment from my family that I draw on, at even the hint not caring.  And my tongue got loose last night, hurting my wife.  She’s always supported me regardless of dreary, artsy readings or whatever.  Only love she is, a true definition.  But I let anger get the best of me.  I felt thrown out, left in a cold blood rain, isolated in my mind.  And my heart was a splitter and poured all the acidic words on her because she was the closest.  For this, I’m sorry.

            I talk a big game, but one, I think, of my good qualities, is too forgiving, too quickly.  Angry quick, but in the end, temperate. 

            I’m not inviting out anyone again to anything of art or writing.  I’d rather have two that would want to be there than a trillion pulled by their teeth out of guilt and obligation, Shilo, my publisher and bookstore owner, and my girl.  But Shilo was the only one before the stage in support at Momentum, giving me confidence.  And while he’s new and fresh, I still cling to him in love as a brother.  Those I thought, now labeled pseudo-family, didn’t have it in them.  Exchanging my important debut for a mechanics’ birthday, though this guy never showed up for our wedding, planning a camping trip or something like it.

            So I indicted last night, everyone on the face of the suffering earth, that could be…and I’ll probably regret, I do that, dividing in my head of what was appropriate and what wasn’t.  Many a time though, I’ve had to endure a lot of get-togethers I had to be coaxed in to.  Drunken OU football bullshit, suburban get-togethers, cars and motors…all those things.  Dragged to the city of Edmond in a blurr, way out to midnight bowling…which I had fun, no doubt…put twelve beers in front of me and I’d think poets were brilliant.  Then I go back in my mind about karma, mostly by my girl’s accusation that I didn’t show up to a shitty local friend’s bands in dingy bars.  Yeah, she’s right, maybe I’m doing penance now to the magical force of Indian mantras.  My one saving defense is that I’m not shitty as far as writing is concerned…the bands are, save Headroom, I always think my brothers are gods, though they never call, mostly cause they’re money has left…hopefully.

            I’m an extrovert but have a lot of introvert pondering in me…maybe that’s what makes people leary…they pick up the judgement I exude, sometimes.  But pleasing almost to the point of pandering, to other’s views, keeping quiet with a head nod…I’m an actor, a good one, you have to be to hide sometimes the contempt you have.  I’m by nature a pleaser.  Maybe that’s why writing is, as Robert’s book is entitled, “The Last Lethal Outlet”, at least for me.  To corral all that hate and contempt till it’s about to bust out of my brain and veins, and then, finally, at it’s most lucid point, bleed it on a page, the pen a scathing rapist.

            I’ll go back today, apologize, because I know at some point I took the wrong path, insulted, when I should have understood…my girl makes me nice and societal, women, the smooth-overs, tape the frayed relationships, glue the fabrics of society, apologize when all I want to do is throw a Molatov into them and throw them over the cliffs and dash them on the rocks forever.  But somehow, she’ll keep it all together, the grounding.

            I’m not ready to hang out with them, not just yet… I’ll miss a few of their so-called important occasions…maybe drop a birthday, an anniversary, Lake Eufala on the Fourth of July, hell, let them just sit there, knowing inside, but wondering through their mouths of why I didn’t show…

            And a so-called artist friend, resting on laurels and awards of a teen past, that didn’t show, who couldn’t call for going on a week and a half now, though he blowhards over beer in bars at how talented he is…this to me is disrespect for what I do.  I gave him the website for “Dinner”, it says it all…he could have been a theme, either Phil or with a little more time, one of my dead uncles in the story, kissing their demise at the end as I wish they all would do…Hell hath no fury like a writer scorned…  I don’t think women can compete…I know what motherhood is, protecting your art and ways, like a mother bear.

            When this so-called artist, who gave up the dream, commented on my work with this sentence, “Don’t you think ‘Dinner’ is harsh?”, maybe he fell under conviction.  I preach with the fervor of a camp meeting preacher under a tent in a dust bowl prarie. 

            So this day has turned into, at least on this page, my anthem and mantra, these rude thoughts.  And I’ll write them, till I make amends.  I’ll go to Veronica’s birthday party at Hudson’s because she came to hear me read, wanted me to be there.  Drink a couple of cheap draws to take the edge off, sell some CD’s on the outside, where I don’t want any of my friends to attend, save my wife, because she’s rose.  I’ll make amends, only to her, because she and my mom know somewhat how I bleed in the quiet moments of holy.  Isolated, alone, reading in front of people I barely know, as it should be, these are the ladders, monichers, genes, growing pains of a man non-normal … a writer. 
Till tonight…P.L.

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