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New month. And away we go. This will be my sixteenth batch, though it's really more like my eighteenth since the first batch was longer than three months. There are more than 18,000 daily entries on the site—that's coming close to the two million word mark. More than 1500 people have signed up. Well fuck me, this little infant of mine is growing up to be quite the impressive child. How long will it continue? Will we hit the limits? At what point will it become
big? When will it become impossible to read through all the words?
My new superhero power is knowing when to leave. I rarely hurt myself with those last few drinks anymore. Now, at 4:00am when someone urges me to have a nightcap at the nearby non-stop, I politely decline and, instead, head back to the apartment. Last night, rather than join Alex and Marek, I watched part of
Death Race 2000
, wrote a little, nibbled on some pistachios. Drifted off at 5:00, not so drunk, not so fearful of the morning. Today, I woke up feeling fine, went to Café Lucerna and wrote. Had I gone for the nightcap, I'd've been useless.
Something stinks. Literally. At my desk. It's a sweet smell, akin to rotting fruit, but I can't find the culprit. I check myself, thinking maybe I'm giving off some weird scent from the drink and bar fumes last night, but no. I'm relatively clean. At least clean enough not to stink. Where's it coming from? Nothing under the desk. Nothing wiped on the desk. This 99% empty glass of wine from last week, maybe. Tough to say; my nose is unreliable. Never ask me to smell the milk to confirm its freshness. I just throw it out when it doubt.
Saw the new Michael Moore movie tonight. I agree with his politics, for the most part. I'm a good lefty. A pure lefty. Too liberal for a lot of liberals. I believe in total freedom, so long as it doesn't come at the expense of others. But as "expense" I refuse to accept hurt feelings and the overreaction of the would-be disenfranchised. I'll neither coddle nor condemn. That's why Moore is an asshole: He's making his fans feel good about themselves by laughing at others. His slags at gun-toting white trash are no better than nigger jokes in the South.
Met an interesting woman tonight. Had a couple drinks, talked and laughed. Hit a couple bars, did that routine exchange of information. Kiss at the end of the night, all nice and innocent. I'm torn, though I shouldn't be. I've slipped into relationships very quickly in the past, and have inevitably found us weakened by my self-doubt and fear of insufficiency. If I put everything into N, I'll destroy us. I'll let this new thing unfold. I want N to be doing the same, so that when we see each other again, we will be that much stronger. No possession.
The darkness is coming, as is the cold. They'll fall on me like an unwelcomed downpour. I plan to leave in the beginning of May, though I understand why people urge me to consider staying for the summer. After surviving the winter, I'd be foolish to forfeit the reward to follow. May through July are fantastic here, with 4am sunrises and 10pm sets, warmth and flow and open-air music festivals and sweet-strolling street highs. But I won't stay. I must use the good weather for other purpose, like cheap traveling. I want to use the tent that N gave me.
My former flatmate scribbled Spanish words on the wall. Conjugation practice it seems.
Ser, hacer, tener, saber, ver, estar, querer, venir, ir, cococer
… a few more. Next to the infinitives, their Czech translations. I could take this opportunity to learn some key Czech verbs, but I won't. First, I'd rather reacquaint myself with the Spanish. Second, I couldn't conjugate a Czech verb if I tried. It's a vicious bitch language. They conjugate their NOUNS sixteen times, for chrissakes. Verbs? Oh, fuck me. I'd rather polish my Spanish, learn French, maybe a bit of German and pick up some Turkish.
"Once after a mere ten hours on speed—crystal meth, not even that nasty shit that the Nazis concocted--I found myself in bed with a fantastically beautiful woman. With the drug focusing me like a hyperactive child's meds, I repeatedly brought her to orgasm with my mouth. When we decided to fuck, my body refused to cooperate. I couldn't stay hard. She tried her mouth, her hand, she screamed foul things as I bit her neck with her hands held behind her back. She did everything I like, trying to tempt my cock from its basket like a snakecharmer."
Cooked dinner last night, and the apartment felt good. Alex and his girl, boxes of cheap red wine, some movies, chilling on the couch. I'm happy when I see my friends happy. He's shaken off the rainwater of lost love. He helped me when I arrived in Prague, all torn and wigged and scattered. He gave me work, gave me friendship. When it was his turn, I did my best to return the favor. I gave him my friendship, gave him a place to live. Gave him a little solidity, I think, as he was feeling thrown about in the wind.
I've had a couple dates with J. I like her. She's fun and sweet and smart. But we're not going to pretend that we can be anything more than a fun person for the other. She's got ex-boyfriend considerations; she'll visit him in December. And I've got N, with whom I've been honest. Still, I'm about to learn that no matter what we attempt, no matter how up-front we are, it doesn't always work out. Maybe lying is better, maybe privacy is more than an individual's right, but also a duty to others. Truth can be an instrument of harm.
I came here to live a simple life, and now it's no longer simple. Must we hide things from the people we care about? I've done nothing wrong, morally, ethically, interpersonally. I've hurt someone, and the only way to have prevented that hurt would've been to lie to her. Or to have lied to myself. I'm not someone to say, "I'm doing what I want to do at all costs." No way. I've been above-board the whole time, and realistic. I'm trying to live higher, to grant freedom, to explore a deeper love. Not the superficial grasping of initial love.
This sucks. I can't stand dishonesty, can't fucking stand it for a minute. I REFUSE to live lies. I ABSOLUTELY FUCKING REFUSE. And yet I'm learning the lesson that we all learn when we're young: dishonesty can be justified so so easily. I can't write about things in my life right now because I want to spare someone pain. I'm burdened by the pain I've given to others. No matter what I do, I disappoint and hurt the people who care for me. Over and over. My parents, my lovers. They expect a lot from me; I let them down.
Oh, my dear, dear whirlwind, I wanted to be realistic about all of this, but was I just dreaming that two people could shoot higher? I wasn't lying when I said the good things, and I'm still not lying when I say I want to see what we're capable of. But right now? How can we possibly cling to each other when we'll be separated for all but ten days in the next six months? I won't stunt your growth. I won't stunt my growth. I'm looking for a person of strength. I'm trying to become a man of virtue.
I'm trying to learn love without possession, as a wise little shepherd once learned in a book given to me by the last woman I disappointed. When my self-loathing became overwhelming, I became a jealous, insecure little child, and I tore apart a woman I loved. Now almost one year later, I've torn the heart out of another woman, not by jealously but by its complete opposite. I've done it again: made a good woman cry.
I understand why people retreat. I understand why they stop opening up. I don't want responsibility for anyone's feelings anymore. I can't be trusted.
Two months after my self-imposed deadline, I've finished the first draft of my novel. I have no idea if it's any good. The whirlwind has read most of the first draft, and she's been supportive and kind thus far. But now, with a touch of disgust and hatred for me in her head and heart, I wonder what she'll say about it. Will she misinterpret things that were once clear to her? Will she no longer appreciate how I used bits of her for a character? Am I no longer talented boystuff, but rather an asshole honest to a fault?
Here's the trouble. August: I met N from Australia in Prague. We hit it off, connected deep. Met in Barcelona. Talked of great plans. Rendezvous at Christmas, maybe in Sydney a few months later. I'd like to try it out with her, see if there's something more than just five-day passion between us. We were very clear about non- commitment, so I had a few dates with J, a woman in Prague. N and I have a complete honesty policy, so I told her about the dates. N is hurt and angry, understandably yet not understandably. I feel like a jerkoff.
I have no problem with commitment. With my girlfriend/wife, I didn't fuck anyone else FOR TEN YEARS. (I had two slips during that entire time; only one involved a climax.) I think monogamy is healthy. But right now, separated across time zones, with plans to see each other for a week or two in December, and then not for another unknown number of months? I'd never dream of asking for her celibacy. I WANT her to explore, I WANT her to feel good. She chided me: "Love is not death, fucking is not life." No shit. I NEVER SAID OTHERWISE.
Thinking about the upcoming riots, wondering not IF I should be worried, but HOW MUCH I should be worried. Manhattan, September 12th comes to mind. Lockdown. Fighter jets over head. Battleship in the harbor. A journalist friend tells me that snipers have permission to shoot to kill anyone who breaks the perimeter surrounding the main building where the delegates will gather. They're definitely not fucking around. Two years ago, cops and protesters clashed on the so-called Suicide Bridge over Nusle. Veterans expect fivefold the violence this time around. Seeing as I'm not prone to panic, I'm not panicked. Just mindful.
"I haven't fucked that many times in one weekend since I was eighteen and dating a young thing named Laura. I was visiting her for a few days – I was in college, she was in a white-trash retail job three hours away – and rather than quietly sneak fucks after her family went to sleep, we got a cheap hotel room and rutted for three days straight. She was unbelievable, with soft, supple skin, always moist, always ready to fuck, always ready for fun. She was definitely a filly who'd found her legs and planned to run until exhaustion overtook her."
I replaced the digital camera that I lost in June when Micah and I stole that canoe and then tipped it. Whoosh! Into the drink with us and our bags. My camera did not recover. (His dumbass cellphone came back to life, though its temporary death had given him an excuse to upgrade.) So I've taken my bank account back to zero, which unnerves me a little. I need enough to leave town in a few months. I'm happy with the camera, though, as it will get me back to feeling creative at times when I'm away from the computer.
NATO is a non-event. Good thing. I'm not the kind of journalist who wants crisis just to have a story. (Hell, I'm not even a journalist.) There were more cameras than anarchists, and more cops than cameras. Since politics isn't my bag, I've stepped out of it. Alex can cover; he loves this shit.
I'll spend the next few days writing the feature story for the next issue. A breakdown of the new Information Awareness Office, which seems like the scariest thing I've heard about since the government started going hogwild with the Patriot Act. I may never go back.
"At that coffeeshop, I finally understood and accepted that my life would never be that, and I began to cry. I would never hold a newborn son in the hospital or carry an infant daughter to her crib. There would be no bedtime stories, no tiny shoes and tiny socks. There would be no wrestling with the car seat before a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive through the country. None of that would ever be mine. I would forever be a detached kite stuck in the clouds, unable to fall back to the ground. Untethered without option, like it or not."
Once again, I think of the people I miss. What's happened to my friend Joyce? Or to Jon, my upstairs neighbor? I know he's alive, or at least was alive in September when he logged his most recent batch of 100 words. I think I promised him a phone call, and then failed to deliver. I hate this. I fucking hate it. Why do I let myself do this? Why am I such a fucking drama queen about this stuff? Why not just sit down, write some letters, make some calls, keep in touch with everyone? Because I'm a dick.
I'm simultaneously deep inside the heads of the conspiracist crackpots, the Christian fundamentalists who fear the Number of the Beast with barcoding, the government's military brass who want to record every single fucking transaction that every single fucking American makes, and the level-headed civil rights groups trying to protect the Constitution. I'm not an alarmist, but the new developments stateside scare the piss out of me. The trick is not to let this fear come through in my article. If I come off like one of the crackpots, readers will have an easy excuse to ignore the truth presented therein.
"‘You want little girls fucking dogs? I want little girls fucking knives. You want little boys sucking your dick? I want them sucking on electrical outlets. You want to see the limits of human behavior pushed and shoved? I don't think you do. You want to see someone act in such a way that you never would. That's not a very difficult challenge. Your level of extreme is my walk in the park. Your sense of degradation makes me feel warm inside. Take this home with you.'
With that, I swiftly and abruptly cut off half of my left pinkie."
My feature is done. Alex has read it, given his comments and approval. I haven't done this kind of writing maybe since … ever. Hard research for five days, complete immersion, push out almost 4000 words in two days. It's a dense piece, and has inspired me to get back to writing a bit more. I've been buried under editing and conceptual bullshit for the newspaper, putting off some important writing I've committed to. Fuck this managerial crap. That's why I left New York Press. I want to produce, not babysit. I'm neglecting some things that are important to me.
So many veterans in this writing project. Andie M, Twillhead, Emerson… two dozen others. (Don't be upset if I didn't mention you.) I hope everyone's happy with this little website and its somewhat clunky programming. A friend of mine in Prague finally looked at 100 Words last week, and his first comment to me was, "It's slow." Thanks, bud. I've invested a gazillion man-hours in this thing for no real gain, and that's one of my good friend's first thoughts when seeing it. Forget the 2,000,000 WORDS, eh? Ah, well, that's how he is. Such a worldview must be exhausting.
Waiting for the production director to get his shit done, I'm angry and annoyed, and more than just a little sad and mournful. It's Thanksgiving, and though I've got a few good friends around me and even a bit of love coming in from spots around the world, I still miss home sometimes. I think back on a few Thanksgivings past, and I choke up a bit. Boy, but I do miss some people something awful. Fuck.
When the paper is done, maybe before midnight, I'll probably meet J for a few drinks. Maybe not, though. I'm also tired something awful.
N and I have patched things up. We'll spend the holidays together.
J and I are dating, getting along just fine.
Is it enough for everyone to know the truth? Do we really want truth? Or do we want simplicity?
N and I cannot be ultimate things for each other right now. We cannot hold each other up so highly, else we will destroy our future potential by way of unrealistic perceptions.
I hope J remembers that we had agreed to be very casual in dating, very chill, non-intrusive, non-possessive.
Are you there, God? It's me, Jeffrey. Please don't let anyone get hurt.
Goodbye, you sweet and sour month. I'm happy to see you pass.
Once again, end of the batch, and I'm feeling burden. Is it because rent is due? Because I've always run through my paycheck by now? Or maybe it's the reflection coming to a close, and seeing tomorrow as a new day, a new batch, a fresh start. I want my clarity back. I had it for a few, precious months. I felt pure back in August and into September. Now, I'm askew.
Oh, and the
are excerpts from the novel. I was feeling lazy those days.
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