CAUTION: possible side effects of reading this blog include being bored to death, head ache, constipate, and killing yourself and others.
I have been laying awake a lot lately. I lay there for hours unable to sleep. If I take the pills from the doc that are supposed to make me sleep and they don't work, I am too groggy to be much interested in doing anything more than just laying in bed. I get up through out the night, come into the living room and pet the dog and cat for awhile, have a lonely smoke in the dark. To feel like I am doing something with such time more than sitting around nodding like a heroin babe, I have a rich fantasy life. Not sexual. I have certain stories that I have been playing through my mind for years... Of late, I have been working on an idea that is taking on a life of its own. I feel like a real idiot having worked on the other book on and off for a year, and now finding that I think I may have to let it go.
What happened is, when I started thinking of subplots for the last book, I found that the characters who came to mind, duh, were ones I had already done some writing about. So, I decided to play with the idea of putting them all into an apartment building, kind of a surreal place where there is an alien, but otherwise somewhat realistic. A blend of over the top, cartoony humor and semi-serious philosophy and ancient wisdoms new and old. I will keep the same title, which is the title of this blog, because the narrator hasn't changed. The voice I have been developing is Johnny Pain.
The characters and their sub plots are as follows:
Frank, Joan, Stella, and Beatrice: four people in their sixties, who are living a kind of bi sexual utopian philosophy that they once thought would become a movement, but in light of the rise of Christian rightist morals, they feel like they have lost some war. Frank is the most gay of the men, and he is straying from their arrangement for the first time ever. He has fallen in love with a young poet who lives in the building... The poet is basically straight, but he lets frank suck his dick. When Franks' infidelity is discovered, their entire belief system comes into question... Then breaks into pieces which appear differently to each of them. Joan becomes suicidal. Stella starts to feel like she can finally voice her grievances. Frank is the one who will not accept the change.
MIKE MASTERS: an alien who is a bit of light, who can meld into sperm cells and live as a human over and over. He is a spy for an interplanetary conference that is considering exterminating humans because of their wanton destruction of the life generating qualities of earth that make for a diversity of evolving species. They feel like humans are killing off these beings in the barest infancy of their evolution. He drinks heavily and chain smokes, going from Marlboro to joints, one after the other all day. Only the poet, who is the main protagonist of the story, knows his true nature, and he has a hard time believing him until the climax of the novel, when the alien intercedes in a shoot out with a gang that has taken three dogs from the back yard of the building to use as practice for their vicious pit bull fighters. He has seen earths fate, and is mourning the humans he has come to love. The drinking and the pot smoking is his way to forget that he is basically walking among corpses.
In the basement, three apartments and a storage room have been renovated, and rented to a budding religion. Basically, a half=mad charismatic has convinced a bunch of England originated kids that they should devote their lives to making his easier, by selling crystals door to door, and giving huge, free, nightly examples of their techniques. They do elaborate breathing exercise, which quite naturally calm the body, but they believe that their crystals are doing all the work. They will be constantly popping up around the apartment, trying to get neighbors to come to dinners and such. One of them, Candy, is sent out to 'flirt for god' with the poet, Jonathan, a black leather and jeans long haired poet with an absurd streak. The poet knows she is just trying to seduce him to make him like her, that she believes it is god's will. She even offers to have sex with him if he will come to the meetings. When she does this, he explodes and tells her that no honest man would ever ask a woman to do such a thing. The poet then reads up on depressor and goes after her, takes her to a hotel, and slowly brings her back to reality. When she is back, she hates him, considers him the one who ended her joyous feeling of being connected to the universe. "You've poisoned me on the only place that ever made me feel like I don't have to kill myself." The poet takes her back to her parents, and has to mourn her love... And even the person the cult made her into, because in some ways he liked her better, though he realizes that urge to control her is wrong, and has to be put aside if he is ever going to truly love.,
THE POET/Johnny pain/
I always write about Jonathan, a humble funny guy, big pot smoker, who also paints and does ceramics, makes lamps... When all else fails, which is normally, he drives a taxi. He is the owner of a dog that gets snatched in the end, and leads the assault on the gang bangers. He tortures one of them to find out the location, then kills two others to get their weapons. Frank, the old man who is in love with him, goes along on the mission to free their dogs.
THE OWNER OF THE BUILDING AND HIS ROOMMATES
Matt, Jimmy, and Paul. These are all the characters who made up WHILE st book... Basically, the change in them is that they now are all stoner gamers taking notes for the original idea. They run a game shop and sell weed. Paul is still the one who inherited the building they live in. Matt is young, like fifteen, and was semi abandoned by his junkie mother and started crashing in the back of the game store.
Their plots pretty much range around Jonathan trying to stop people from buying his paintings in the gallery they, as painters (which is how they met the poet), put in the building when Paul inherited the place, which has two store fronts and a bar on the street level, and is located a Milwaukee and Damen and North in chi town.
Still pretty thin at this moment, meaning I can't actually put together the needed outlines to begin writing until this is done. A lot of people stop at this stage. I usually start by writing and see what happens and then keep what I like and expand. This leads to a lot of wasted writing, and I am trying to alter my approach. If the last book, my first, did anything, it taught me how to write a book at least.
I see this book kind of like Kafka waking up one morning to find himself a cockroach (why don't they ever say this is about being a Jew, rather than some big existential explanation? Because academics must publish or perish. Fools.
Steal from me and you will be cursed in such a way that your hands turn into worthless, jelly fish like appendages that sting your intimates. Or sued or something bad like that...