How, you wonder, is Johnny Pain going to try to advance his writing career this year?
This puzzles me too. One of the few writers I know and respect, has given up the trade to start an arts center, after trying for ten years and writing a bunch of basically unedited books... he gained a huge audience, but not the kind of money that it takes to have a decent life. He used to go for days without eating to keep up his work and habits... I have sacrificed everything to be an artist, myself. I have offered up my life to this stupid altar time and again... and all my prayers have fallen on basically stone deaf ears.
When I was younger, and prone toward the kind of mystical thinking that got me in so much trouble in so many ways, I expected wealth and fortune to be delivered like a fucking pizzas. If it were that easy, a hundred thousand better writers than me would all be famous, instead of frustratedly making their way through their work day wondering just when all the meaning seeped out of their lives...
People make decisions based on the market, when they would be much better off making their decisions from their hearts. Problem is, their heart lies to them so much that they don't trust the 'drunken chimp' part of their psych. I made this decision to be a writer purely from my heart. Deep inside of me was a feeling, imbedded by a childhood steeped in books (I finished the grammar school library in fifth grade, so they let me into the high school library and man was that the shits to me, back then...), that there was something magical about the people who write down words. They seemed like the prophets to me. Especially since I lived in a deep shadow of the sixties philosophies of rebellion.
The sixties decimation of all that came before, personified in a distrust of all authority, brought me up basically believing in nothing. Government was something that had wars and took out taxes. Religion was a joke.
I needed some words to live by. You don't have words to live by, you die; you just lay in that bed, trapped by the very molecules in the room, still and quiet, deathly afraid of making a move that might be your last... I remembered this, this morning, watching Angel, my all time favorite show ever, and Angel gets this ring that lets him walk in daylight... he comes out from under a pier, into the first sunshine he has felt in over a hundred years... the acting is excellent. David Boreanz shows such joy and revelation and peace in the simple. Sunshine is enough for him. Struck me how good this scene made me feel, how for a moment I was apreciating sunlight... like Warhol showing the world soup cans that testify to the beauty of the everyday. THen it came to me that this is the kind of moment that I need to stock in my mind, to pull out when I need a burst of faith.
Faith. I don't like the word. Wreaks of pipe dreams and jim jones. Still, we need it. There are too many germs in this room for me not to take on faith that I can survive them. But I have to make the movements that set the ball rolling, cause the momentum to make my career meaningful in some way, to someone.
To do any of this, I have to get more books out... and this is driving me crazy!!! The blog feels so natural to me that I feel uniquely suited to be a hit in this medium; and I have had way over a hundred thousand hits, which is good enough for me, and it is always growing.
So maybe this medium will end up being the primary repository of what people settle on as my 'best work.' Certainly I am not going to be remember for my play, tv shit, poetry... but, this thing will last, and books will last. Why is this important? The ideas I studied in college have to be confronted by the voting masses, sooner or later, or we are going to find religous faith is no match for the greenhouse effect.
Religion, and taking leaps of faith to a state of mind where all is right under the eye of god (which is the psychic pay off of prayer, often enough, because it feels 'right'), leads to mystical thinking in all aspects of ones life, just as a scientific education changes ones thinking on all aspects of life.
People are brainwashed by their parents, the tv, movies... everywhere they pretend there is a god. Everywhere they are told to put their faith in a made up character???? We read comic books for this when we are kids, to see good and evil all black and white and free of the ambiguities that come with the adult perspective on life.... the people who are doing this to others are my enemies. Period. They would shoot me down for all sorts of things I have done and I have no time for their stupidity. That is why the words are important.... I want the world to be a better place if for no other reason than to keep the other animals alive.
So, I was trying to get to my next big move... which is going to be little movies and comics. We are getting a video camera of some sort at the end of the month. I have made dozens of little films, and have a pretty good idea of how things come off on camera... lots of characters I can play, tons of voices, and a lot of unmined comedy material from this blog. The first one we are going to do will involve hamster armies, and I do have some pretty cool mechanical hamsters (ever since I wrote about them, they have become my 'official animal' to M., who will use any excuse to buy a toy). I am actually going to tell the whole johnny pain tale, taken from the blog totally.
There is also an entry in here where I pretend like I am being interviewed. I am going to do some stuff with this. I also like reading my stories while showing different works of art that add and shade the meaning of the story. I made a few cool ones in the past but have since lost them all. I never had any way to show this shit to people, and thus never really developed the work into the kind of professional shit it would take for me to invest my time. Now, the web is about to change all that.
I am going to be using puppets, myself, the neighborhood dogs, and my cat as the primary characters. We'll kill and interact and start fires and just generally cause mayhem as we try to protect the apartment from The Laotian Terd Mouse Conspiracy, or some such thing...
Then there comes the play... I have been wanting to do something with this -- which is where the penguin prose in here about them spinning in circles screaming, Oh the shits with you!! is from. THere are all these video sequences that I wrote for the play that were too complex for me to just hand it off to some small playhouse and expect them to be interested... however, I wrote the video as shit I could easily shoot with a few stuffed animals and shots at the Lincoln Park Zoo. I only need like five actors for the play. There is basically nothing needed on stage beyond a table and a tv. I was careful to keep the production to a minumum, to aide the damn thing in getting done.
Of course the other thing, however minor, are the literary readings I am going to start next week. I am calling the thing this and that to get various types of acts to come in for my amusement, but in my mind it is just going to be a reading.
I designed the poster this week -- it has some pretty funny cartoons on it.
Animation is another direction I would love to go in, of course... my over the top shit kind of suits itself to cartoons, and god knows I watch all of them -- especially family guy, invader zim, and king of the hill.
So what will I do???? Probably just keep sniveling in here until I die, like the guy in Henry James The Beast In The Jungle, knowing I missed too much because of my obsession???? That is up to you, I guess... though more to me.
So what should I do cruel world? Is my contribution here on this blog nothing or something? Don't answer that.
The other videos I am planning on doing are more low key, just shots of the readings, intercut with other images to make the visuals more appealing... watching people read usually sucks, and when it doesn't it has more to do with the acting than the words half the time.
I could really use a couple ambitious cinematography types to help me with this shit. I get some money, and a production company is going to fly out of my fingers. If I could hire a few people, I could teach them a thing or two about writing and directing and improv, though I would hardly consider this a position that is going to lead to fame and riches... though I would certainly share in any wealth that comes along. These videos are going to be shown all over the world, to hundreds of thousands of people. Small films usually don't get the kind of exposure this blog already has. The thing to do is parlay whatever interest the market -- you people -- have in me into channels that actually make me a few bucks. Like getting a book published, or selling movie rights...
Oh, well.... l have to go to a state office today and try to muddle my way through some paperwork concerning my disability, which I loath doing, and have thus sat here jabbering away all this time with this little nervous troll on the edge of my thinking.... he is commanding me to leave now...
Have a day.
copywrite 2006 john scott ridgway