Earning money by writing

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It’s what all aspiring writers want to do, make money with their writing. But as I look at the possibilities it always feels like a lot of work with very little gain. Just this morning, I saw an ad on craigslist advertising for writers they could hire. They wanted a recent example of something I had written, and so I decided to write something just for them. I can write about anything, perhaps not intelligently, but enough to keep the reader’s attention. I do have things to say about a lot of issues, but do I have the discipline to produce x number of words to a strict deadline? I think so. I live in San Francisco and it is funny to me how many writers there are in this city. Whenever I tell someone I am a writer, they almost always say they are a writer as well. I have yet to meet a writer who makes their living writing.

Most of what I write nowadays is poetry. I write poetry because it comes easily to me, and a lot of people seem to like it. It has been a hobby of mine. But I really ought to be writing more, and get paid for doing it. I work as a sales associate at a clothing store, and it barely pays the bills. If I am talented, and have something to contribute, it is foolish to live in poverty if it is unnecessary. There are a lot of people just like me, talented and barely able to keep a roof over their heads.

So what do people want to read? I think they want to read something different from the usual things you find. We need writing that doesn’t nurture our worst instincts. We need writing that inspires people to live meaningful lives, and to find solutions to the many problems which plague us. Take the income disparity problem, for instance. I think the educated need to be educated. They have some crazy ideas. They seem to think that the poor deserve to be poor, and the rich deserve to have what they have. They fail to recognize how rigged the game is. Poverty destroys a vital resource. People who are in poverty become a liability because they are poor. If they could have enough to simply live unassisted by government, they could be in a position to contribute their abilities and talents. Instead they are written off. I have been shocked and appalled by the way poverty stricken people have been treated. They are treated like trash, as if they have no value whatsoever. I think this is distorted thinking.

The rich entrepreneurs need to ask a simple question: Who is going to buy their goods and services? When most of the population is struggling to survive, they are not going to be able to buy expensive meals or expensive products. Here in San Francisco, business relies on tourists. Most of the locals can only afford to live here, if they have some kind of government assistance. Families have moved away to the suburbs, or out of California altogether. A nation without a middle class is in trouble. I think our troubles began when corporations put their own interests ahead of the interests of our country. They destroyed our economy in pursuit of quick profits.

What is the answer to this problem? I am not an economist, but it seems to me that the average person in America needs to take back capitalism. Capitalism that is concentrated around the uppermost one percent is no longer capitalism, it is oligarchy. We need to stop giving our money to large corporations and begin supporting the small businessman. We can create our own economy which does not depend on government or big business to survive. Of course, this means trading convenience for freedom. It is much more awkward to create an alternative economy, than it is to simply consume as we always have. That lifestyle, however, keeps us stuck in poverty, dependent upon either government programs or a part time job at a pitiful wage. The best model would be for all of us to find ways of being entrepreneurial. Business doesn’t need to be the exclusive domain of the rich. It is for all of us.

Being paid to write is an example of this entrepreneurial spirit. If I have the talent and the discipline, I can do something about my circumstances. I don’t have to give up my dignity in order to get my government handout. I can find ways to support myself on my own terms. This little essay is just an introduction. I haven’t worked out all of the details of how this new economy would work, but a lot of people have. We can get into contact with one another and network.

shut up and write: my first short story (or essay) 11-13-13

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For some reason I failed to understand I was John Wilkes Booth. Except I wasn’t. I could view my grizzled, wild eyed visage as if I were on top of this crazed killer of our President, holding him down so he could not escape. But then, I felt my own body, pinned tightly to my bed, frozen and heavy. I had surrendered to my fate, a grim smile crossed my face.

I knew I had to get up. I could imagine myself, awake and alert, and ready to fly out the door. I had promised to be somewhere. Perhaps to meet with my fellow conspirators. My body felt as though it had been beaten. Of course, it had been beaten, you idiot, you shot Abraham Lincoln! Don’t you remember? Remember? I am lying in bed. I had been tossing and turning all night. Even though I’d committed no crime, I felt like a fugitive. I’ll be late. I hate to get up now.

I sprang to my feet, and once erect, I felt fresh and alert, ready for the day, 8:25 am. Holy crap! Just enough time to dress and go, except I need to shave, and I need to clean out the cat box, and I should…..just go…Go!

So, here I was, desperately walking as rapidly as I could, down Valencia St. I knew it wouldn’t be long, perhaps even this sunny morning, that my fate would catch up with me. I had killed the President. My mind had failed to sort out the conflicting data swirling around my sleep deprived brain. I still felt as though I were John Wilkes Booth, a well known actor, who had made his escape to San Francisco, after depriving a much despised Lincoln of his life, and for just cause, I grant you. ‘Enough of this shit!’ I thought. This is not a day in which to be anyone other than myself.

As if to remind me of my true identity, I felt pain in my upper chest as I walked towards Borderlands. Is it my heart? I thought, idly. Such pains have so many origins. If I die, I die, I thought. For Booth life is but a brief affair, a Borderlands. Where else might I be heading in this odd place between sleeping and waking. Am I truly sitting here in a well-lit, comfortable coffee shop, writing much as John Wilkes Booth would have written, ink upon page, albeit with a quill and not a Bic.

Why would I think that I, an obscure fellow at best (still with the nineteenth century prose style, I see), but why consider myself to be a killer of Presidents? For the fame? the recognition, for the purpose of saying things are not as they seem, or maybe as a desperate attempt to alter the course of history. But then, it struck me as certainly as the hammer pounding in my head, I was also Booth’s captor. I held him down, with a grim determination. Damn you! and Damn what you’ve done! At the same time, I recognized that all of this was my brain’s attempt to make sense of the sleep paralysis which kept me pinned to my bed, seemingly unable to move.

There are so many inputs, so many possibilities, some leading to precious or not so precious insights, others leading to a one way ticket to the looney bin. It is hard to get my brain to work properly at times like these. I feel as though my brain is like a typewriter missing a few keys, leaving the reader to guess the intent, filling the gaps with their own narrative. That might be an interesting project for someone with absolutely nothing else to do, I thought.

You see, I am a writer, as you might have guessed by the meandering nature of the previous prose. I am never at a loss for words. My only restraint being the merit of the words. Does anyone benefit in any way, from adding my words to a brain already filled with useless junk?

Whoever said, “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” clearly had no experience with bedbugs. As a longtime resident of San Francisco, I had more than enough experience with the little bloodsuckers. They were the cause of my sleeplessness. In a demented sort of way, I admired these bugs. They were damn near impossible to eliminate. I could kill them by the millions, the trillions, and no matter, they still would find……but enough about bedbugs. That is not a fit subject for man nor beast. After all, as a writer, I must consider my market. Bedbugs do not make for enjoyable reading, so I thought instead of the opportunity afforded by this unpleasant yet intriguing state of mind. Why the hell did I dream of John Wilkes Booth? What did that say about me? It is also interesting that I was both Booth and the man holding him down. How could that be? So here I am, on the lam from some heinous crime, and it is I who shall bring myself to justice. One of the first things I learned on my journey to the clear light, it’s all me, every last bit of it, even the bedbugs.

Dipshits

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It is after midnight. The perfect time for a dipshit. It is also appropriate that I am posting this on an extinct blog. I lost faith in this irreverent blog because my dipshittiness almost got me sued. There was a time when I was a true dipshit. I didn’t take myself as importantly as I do now. Now, all I do is write poetry and transcribe someone else’s thoughts, dreams, and desires. Which is fine, but……what about my own? Mine have been on hold, until I get that job, have that money, get rid of the bedbugs, fleas and whatever. My true mojo was out there in that indefinite future. The same future in which everyone recognizes my genius, and where I don’t get laid every night because sometimes I just need to take a break from all that female adulation. Pretty fucked up, I’m sure. Hey, maybe I’m just a dipshit in disguise.

Just one of those guys

a dipshit in disguise

walking through his neighborhood

and never sees a Goddamn thing

His hopes and dreams

recorded for anyone to read

long after he’s died

a dipshit in disguise

Hey, that was supposed to be funny, and it turned out sad. Much like my life. But nobody cares about an uneventful life, if I’m going to be sad, I need to be SAD in a big dramatic way. You know, wearing the same clothes for weeks on end, so sad that I forget who I am and need to be put away somewhere, except these days there is nowhere to be sent, so I would just wander the streets, all my old friends avoiding me when they run into me in some doorway, lying in my own urine. Now that is a degree of despair which demands attention. It is the sort of thing a dipshit daydreams about, isn’t it? A way of gaining attention, instead of living up to what it means to be a human being.

But dipshits are angry little brats who never asked to be a human being, and quite frankly, resent it. There seem to be more dipshits today than when I was growing up. It used to be that no one ever aspired to be a dipshit. If you wanted someone to straighten up and stop embarrassing you and him or herself, just call them a dipshit. Back then, only Beat poets would welcome the company of a dipshit. Today dipshittiness is a growing industry. Comics? Most of them are just dipshits. Our culture has turned away from erudite humor, and have settled for dipshit culture. They are everywhere. I can’t go down to the local Walgreen’s without there being at least a couple of dipshits standing in line, if you can call it standing. Usually they are weaving around the line, and swaying on their feet like a drunk, except dipshits are drunks that never become sober. There am I, obviously a very important person compared to them, and I get more annoyed by the minute, muttering under my breath, “dipshits!’. Now, I do make one significant exception in regard to dipshits. I cut teenagers some slack because teenagers by their very nature have always been dipshits. That is what a dipshit really is, someone who is not a teenager, acting like a teenager.

As I admitted above, I am a closet dipshit. I used to be a dipshit right out in the open. I didn’t care. I missed the days when I was a teenager and shot my mouth off at every opportunity, regardless of whether I was making a fool of myself or not. A lot of people pointed out that I was a fool in those days. My teachers, my brothers, my sister, who often called me a dipshit, and my mother. My mother went to great lengths to explain to me that it was a sin to call someone a fool, then minutes later called me just that. My mother was a real dipshit, but saying that to her would earn me a good smack in the mouth from my father. Actually my father never smacked me, but come to think of it, I never called my mother a dipshit either.

When I think about it, being called a dipshit is a double insult, not only are you shit, you are a dip of shit. In other words, you aren’t THE SHIT, you are just a dip of it. You aren’t enough to bother with, an irritant, a bad joke, sort of like a flea. Even a punk is a step above a dipshit, because a punk knows better, and a dipshit never ever knows better. A dipshit can be counted on to do the faux pas, the wrong move, to be in the wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time, or just some sort of mistake in the scheme of things, awkwardly existing like a meal that absolutely no one has ever ordered. But there you are. After a while, you begin to stink from neglect. Such is the life of a dipshit.

Maybe this post will revive my dipshit spirits. Maybe I will retrieve my wise ass reputation, which was never wise in anyone else’s eyes, only stupid, only just being a dipshit. Maybe I will post more onto this defunked, debunked, defucked, blog, and make it relevant again, maybe I can go back to not being important or special, not the sort of voice in the wilderness you want to heed, but the sort of voice in the wilderness that irritates you to no end. Advice from a dipshit. What happens when an entire society descends into ineptitude and even mayors and congressmen, and sports figures are dipshits too! Doesn’t that change what it means to be a dipshit? When dipshits cease to annoy or offend, they have lost their right to being called such.

In ancient Rome, the dipshit had a special status. He would stand in the Forum and defecate, urinate, or masturbate, in plain view of the crowd. Then, whatever this filthy nitwit had to say was considered to be an oracle, the voice of the Gods, or failing that, he was considered to be quite wise. Could this be the origin of the expression: “Holy Shit!” You’ve got to admit, when a guy dumps a load, or shoots a load, you tend to notice. What he says would probably be remembered. But he would be considered a real jackass, a real dipshit.

I make no claim to be the voice of the Gods, and I have no plans to defecate or masturbate outside the local Walgreens, but I feel that my dipshittiness serves a purpose, if only to puncture my toxic pride, and the toxic pride of others.

It remains to be seen if there will be more posts like this one, or if this blog, which isn’t quite dead, but certainly smells funny, will become active once again. If dipshits could read I am sure they would enjoy this post. But a dipshit must never be made to feel good about his or her self, their magic lies in their utter disregard for themselves, their total lack of ego. Others might mutter, “Look at that fool, he doesn’t give a shit about anything, including himself.” to which I’d say “I disagree. I think he gives a shit. Didn’t you see him at the Forum?”

Sexuality Blessed

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Beneath the tidy proper manners

Hello how are you?

May I fuck you?

Lies urgently hidden away

A secret that sits just under the pants

I want you, you want me

But we search vainly on a cloud covered day

For the sun of sexuality

Blessed

Our one self our one self-contained enclosure

Be it cunt or be it cock

When interlocked

Form a brand new universe

For us

And yet and yet…..

For so many this is not the case

We equate all this with the sharpest pain and most righteous anger

Sexuality cursed and viewed with disdain

Fuck and fucked and cunt and dick become obscene

Weapons of choice in our gender war

Let us be tender

to our wounded genitals

Ask for the best

Sexuality Blessed

Because this is the door

This is the quest

Just how it feels tonight

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August 23, 2012

I am still sitting here doing the same

But it’s different

My words are difficult to frame

Events far larger than I are moving with such a force

I and you and the girl next door

Can’t help getting carried away

On one side lies a darkness so deep

It eats away at my courage

and adds fuel to my fears

On the other side lies a woman

shining with her own light

serene and secure in her beauty

she points to a world so new

we cannot imagine it

and smiles

This captures it

That’s just how it feels tonight

to be on the verge of my death

or the cusp of my rebirth

This very moment

this very time

feels so delicate

liable to crack apart at any moment

but nevertheless leading to something so good

no words can ever suffice

that’s just how it feels tonight

i guess this ain’t no playground anymore

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the rain came down in torrents

on Easter Sunday

drowning the little babies swaddled in shiny pink hay

the baby ducks survived for they could swim you see

but the babies

oh my oh me

i guess this ain’t no playground anymore

the jungle gym is stained with blood

because the cub scout was dressed in a suicide vest

oh my what a mess

cross my heart and hope i’m blessed

’cause the milk has soured and my cupcakes are filled with tacks

some kids can’t walk, some can’t talk, some can’t see, some can’t pee

i guess this ain’t no playground anymore

not today

Easter Sunday

with this rain and all

oh my oh hell

oh bloody bloody hell

 

Just a few thoughts 8-17-12

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“You are my sunshine” is playing. The original version. Meanwhile, as I check my email on Yahoo I see a man clutching his chest in pain having a heart attack. This sort of sums up my mood this morning. A nostalgic optimism plays in the back of my graying mind as I fear the worst. I often wonder if I might just collapse from a heart attack. I heard a story yesterday about a colorful character my coworker had known. The man died suddenly from a heart attack on his way home. The way he told it, it almost sounded sweet, kind of sentimental. He just quietly disappeared. One moment here, next moment gone. But death is not sweet nor sentimental, and heart attacks are horrific. I’ve had one, and hope to never have another, although I suspect that is a vain hope. Advertising and stupid, sentimental stories. That is what I am left with this morning. Grumpy once again. I am usually pretty optimistic, or at least optimistic. Not this morning. The crappy mood from last night has carried over into this morning.

Survival. We are so concerned with survival. and yet, we all know that death lies waiting in the wings. I am worried about whether my job will become permanent, I worry about….but I won’t bore you with my worries. I know how much I hate hearing about other people’s worries. It is hard to get excited about anything these days. The election?? Now there is a truly boring subject! I suspect you would rather hear about my worries than read about the stupid election. I think Romney and Ryan will win. Who can resist a little R n’R? Besides, the country is so disappointed in Barack Obama, and tired of the boneheaded way it has governed us. I will vote for him, though, because Romney is so so so much worse!! But I think the obese haters of this country are eager for revenge. They aren’t crazy about Romney, nobody is, but they really want to defeat Obama. All of this just makes me tired and grumpy. The situation overseas doesn’t brighten my spirits either. War is looming on the horizon. Israel and Iran are bound to clash, and we will be obligated to join in. Syria can prove to be the powder keg that ignites such a war, given that Iran and Hezbollah are busy propping up the Assad regime. Too large an Iranian presence in Syria, especially if it starts showing up in Lebanon as well, will provoke an Israel military action to take them out. This, I believe, is more likely than a strike to take out a nuclear reactor. But this is all tedious to think about.

In parting, we still need to have a paradigm change, but I am not as charged up about that as I was before. It is enough for me just to get through these days and generate the necessary energy to engage the customers at my job. Probably come Monday, I will find my optimism again and have more cheerful thoughts. I hope so. I am sure I am not alone in my pessimism, but we all need to regain our strength and help to turn this thing around. Because from my vantage point, it doesn’t look good. The whole world looks like that guy clutching his chest and having a heart attack.