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26. The wisest thing I ever learned from the Joker is that if you’re good at something, you should never do it for free. The second-wisest is that you should kill people with knives.

27. I was gonna go into my normal screed about how much I hate it that everyone thinks writing is easy, and that anyone can be a writer, but I realize it just makes me sound bitter and cranky. I’ll leave it at this: most people who call themselves writers are bad and they should stop.

28. I remembered one of the other Big Themes I am generally obsessed with in writing: the Futility of Human Desires. For someone who writes a lot of humor, I can be kind of a downer, apparently. Then again, these themes can all be funny as hell, because what’s funnier than someone not getting what they want?

29. I have an uncanny ability to say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. Once, for example, I walked into one of my high school classes, and everyone was looking really mopey and blue, and I said “Jeez, who died?” It turns out one of our classmates had drowned over the weekend.

30. I’ve never really gotten to the point where I’d actually attempt suicide, but I think about it all the time. I honestly don’t think it’s that big a deal, and if there’s something I’ll never understand, it’s why people get mad at people who kill themselves.

31. Speaking of suicide, once I was really depressed. Mostly it was over a girl (of course), but there was a bunch of other stuff circulating in my dome at the time as well. And I wasn’t suicidal in a put-a-gun-in-my-mouth sense, but I was thinking about snuffing it more than usual. And the thing that saved my life was listening to “Hey Swifty” by the Ass Ponys. I can talk about this at incredibly tedious length if prompted.

32. The biggest regret that I have that doesn’t involve not being a fucking heel to people I cared about is that I never learned how to draw. It’s especially frustrating, given my love of comics, and it drives me just about batso that most of the people I know who are good artists are also good writers. Motherfuckers.

33. I have been shot at twice, stabbed once, and beaten up a handful of times. I’ve been arrested nine times and served one hitch in county jail. I have dealt drugs, sold weapons, and attacked someone for money. Pretty much not a day goes by that I’m not committing some crime or another. And yet I think I’d be a pretty lousy professional criminal.

34. I’m not poor anymore, but I still carry with me a poor person’s distrust of institutions. I have a real hard time getting comfortable with banks, doctors, schools, and cops.

35. Speaking of cops, once a cop beat me up when I didn’t deserve it. Another time, a cop in the same city didn’t beat me up when I did deserve it. That’s humanity for you.

36. I’m a lot less fucked up about money than I used to be, but I’m still pretty neurotic about it. It’s the thing I’m most ashamed of.

37. I don’t seem to have a specific physical type when it comes to women I’ve dated, or even women I’m attracted to. I don’t say this is admirable, just apparently sort of unusual. Fucking women, man, they’re all pretty, right?

38. On the other hand, I do seem to have a thing for women who are, or will eventually be, lesbians. This probably says something horrible about me.

39. I have met three Presidents of the United States , including our current one. I have met one Vice-President.

40. Here’s another roaring annoyance: when people say critics are just people who can’t do art themselves. Even if it were not obvious to anyone who isn’t a total jackass that criticism is an artform in itself, haven’t enough great artists come from the ranks of critics by now to put the lie to this ridiculous notion?

41. If you ask most guys what character from “The Office” they are, most of them will say Jim, or Dwight, or maybe Creed. I, on the other hand, am more of a heterosexual Oscar.

42. I am good at flirting over instant messenger. I am bad at flirting in person, because I am a fat awkward drunk. Obviously this means I should only date computer-generated chat bots.

43. I wish I was on a road trip right now.

44. Among the theories about family that I believe despite the fact that it’s probably a really stupid theory is that it’s almost impossible for someone who grew up without brothers or sisters to relate to someone who grew up with them, and vice versa.

45. Doing something that you think will impact the future, that might still mean something after you’re dead, is an act so simultaneously optimistic and audacious that it’s probably insane. I’m glad I know a lot of people who are like that.

46. I miss Chicago a lot, but I miss my friends from Chicago even more -- even the ones who aren’t in Chicago anymore. Chicago from 1995 to 2005 will forever be my favorite time and place.

47. I have the opposite of the tendency to talk shit about people behind their back. I love to shit-talk people to their faces. Conversely, I always seem to say really nice things about people when I know in circumstances where they’ll never hear about it.

48. The main thing that keeps me from becoming a Unabomer-style hermit is the hot showers. This is a ghastly thing to admit in these days of environmental peril but sometimes I take half-hour-long showers that don’t have anything to do with hygiene; I just like standing under hot water.

49. Something that’s become clear to me in recent years that I wish more writers would realize: the more a character resembles yourself, the less interesting and believable that character is. If you were all that interesting, you wouldn’t need to be a writer. Of course, every character you create is in some way a part of you, but the real strength of the great authors is to access those parts of themselves that they recognize the least.

50. I can’t do a goddamn single one of these more.

Comments

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eatsoylentgreen
Feb. 3rd, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
I personally believe that we should make out with all the future lesbians we can, because they need making out too.
eatsoylentgreen
Feb. 3rd, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
anyone can be a writer
is actually true

makes me sound bitter and cranky
true

most people who call themselves writers are bad
true

they should stop.
false
eatsoylentgreen
Feb. 3rd, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
they should stop showing everyone their writings, putting it on blogs and calling themselves writers
true
roninspoon
Feb. 3rd, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Some people engage in crime for profit. These people have small minds and short term strategies for fulfillment. Passionate amateurs on the other hand, they engage in crime for the simple artistry of it. These are the people who get the most satisfaction out of the occasional heist.
hipsterdetritus
Feb. 3rd, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, great, here you go all being a crime hipster.
roninspoon
Feb. 3rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
I don't think you're officially a crime hipster until you concoct a terrible fruity martini and give it a stupid name like Felontini.
hipsterdetritus
Feb. 3rd, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Re #40:

I cannot build a computer. I have never, in fact, been in any sort of electrical engineering or electronics-maintenance capacity, outside of the gradually-learned ability to open my PC's case and cram in an additional stick of RAM, and I have only the most marginal idea of how they work. Does this completely cut me off from the right to complain when my 7 year-old work computer seizes up in paroxysms of memory-allocation bafflement every time I try to visit a web page with more than one embedded YouTube clip?

Also, people who grouse about music critics not knowing how to read music are the worstest peoples.
roseyv
Feb. 3rd, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
In #31, substitute “boy” for “girl” and “seeing Kevin McDonald do “Daddy Was a Salesman” on TV for “listening to 'Hey Swifty' by the Ass Ponys” and you and I are like, verging-on-suicidal-depression twins! Buy me a Coke!
roseyv
Feb. 3rd, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
Also, by the way, I think number 31 (things that have inexplicably brought me back from the brink of offing myself) would make a great topic for "Rambling Drunkards Radio" or whatever.
rjwhite
Feb. 3rd, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
"Rambling Drunkards Radio" is the English translation of the name of our Japanese-language podcast.
roseyv
Feb. 3rd, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Oops. Sorry. I didn't mean any offense.

And hey! I listen!
rjwhite
Feb. 3rd, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
No- no- I actually like that name and thanks for listening.
roseyv
Feb. 3rd, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
Okay then! You're welcome.
roseyv
Feb. 3rd, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Also also, #49 is so true that in my theater stuff? I actually miss a lot of opportunities simply because as a “woman writer” (a concept which I find inherently loathsome in itself — not that of actually being a woman who is a writer, but of supposedly being some imaginary sub-species known as a “woman writer”) I tend to almost never write for female protagonists. My main characters are almost always male, and almost always very, very unlike me. I could probably be a lot more marketable as a playwright if I wrote "women's plays with women's themes and strong, leading roles for women." But I can't be bothered, because it pisses me the hell off whenever people assume (which they often do) that any dominant female character I create is in fact some tragic Mary Sue invention.

Interestingly (or perhaps not) one of the few times I ever wrote anything with a main character who was a woman, everyone assumed she was me because she was fat (which is of course the single most defining characteristic human being could ever have at any level), when in fact the character who actually was based on me was a man who didn’t come into the story until like, page 285.
happinesstogo
Feb. 3rd, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
I wish I was on a road trip, too. Sometimes it feels like I spend most of my life wishing I was on a road trip.
mckennl
Feb. 3rd, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
I agree with #44, which is why my girlfriend is also an only child.

Sometimes I think people with siblings have a completely different world view.
rjwhite
Feb. 3rd, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
No. 30- yeah, I don't get that anger, either. I mean, I've thought about it a few times. If you get to that point, you kind of see why, a little.

No. 32- Geez, I wish I could draw even 10% as well as some of the people I know.
schtune
Feb. 3rd, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
Re: 30: Shit, I kind of hate myself for only being four months in before I busted out my first "I used to think that way before I had kids," but here we are. I'm not saying that my perspective on the issue is that of every parent, but that's what kind of showed me how the other side thinks on this one.

I mean, I always thought and still think that the right to end your own life is the most basic right you have. But if I did it today, I can totally understand how my kid would (and maybe should) grow up mad at me for not fulfilling my fatherly responsibilities to her, the same way some kids (and adults) resent parents who walk out on the family.
ludickid
Feb. 3rd, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
See, but if you just walk out on your kids, that's you being a fucking prick unwilling to take responsibility for your situation. If you're so goddamn miserable that whatever is plaguing you, you'd rather DIE than face up to it -- well, that's beyond just being selfish, I think.

I totally understand what you're saying, and I'd even go as far as to say that there's probably a good number of people who kill themselves too quickly (I remember an article about suicides who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, and one guy who lived said that on the way down, he thought "All the problems I have can be solved except the one of having just jumped off this bridge"). But I just think there's an order of magnitude of difference between a guy who walks out on his family by fucking off to another city to marry someone else, and the guy who does it by putting a bullet in his teeth.

Also, as far as wasted emotion goes, anger at a dead guy has to be pretty high up there.
schtune
Feb. 3rd, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Well, I can't argue with your last point at all. In fact, I can't argue against any of what you're saying - it IS a higher degree of magnitude to kill yourself than to walk out.

But it's near useless to talk about what people should feel, and whether or not they're justified, or else we'd be able to rationalize ourselves and each other out of all sorts of useless emotions. My point was more that I can see where they're coming from now, especially in certain situations.
ludickid
Feb. 3rd, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
Well, that's true. I can see where anyone's coming from in all sorts of situations, and it's a fool who tells anyone how they should feel, no doubt.
schtune
Feb. 3rd, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Right, so while I could never understand it before, I can at least do so now.

And as to 30's corollary, 31, I used to think Lou Reed was being overly dramatic when he said, "My life was saved by rock & roll" until I got depressed and Lou's own music helped bring me back out. His and Brian Setzer's. Both played loudly.
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ludickid
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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