(or, The Ghost of June 16 Past)
Things feel better with [GIRLFRIEND]. Good to get that sort of shit out of your system. Because, hey, who wants shit in his system?
...I am currently writing "Halley's Chimney," a bundle of nonsense that makes me wonder what writing is all about. I decided this time around just to have fun and not try too hard to do something I don't do... I can't tell whether it has anything going for it, whether it's even worth going back when I'm done and editing. But... and but... But Barthelme. Barthelme, a genius, presumably wrote with a similar... attitude. No. I don't know what I'm trying to say, because I'm paying more attention to the last minute of "The Nancy & Mary Music" (not because I'm easily distracted, but because I want to be distracted).
Tell me you love me. Tell me you love me.
Not that I'm aiming for Barthelme. No. Actually, "Halley's Chimney" is more an experiment than a story: what I'm doing is seeing what happens when I just write for fun, something I don't do quite so much anymore. Because you can't imitate people successfully. (Or is that wrong? You can't imitate successfully if imitation is the goal, but what if Bloom's creative misprision is the goal? But then, no, I'm stupid. You can't try to fail.)
2000 [12:44 a.m.]
Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog 1 & 2 (1988) at Lincoln Plaza.*
I am increasingly overtired and weighed down all the further by the knowledge that, if I ever came upon four free hours, I'd have to devote them to the coverages and script-notes I've not managed to do over the past week. But I discard every part of my current mood on account of fatigue and fatigue alone. Y— introduced me to a new subway route, and [ANOTHER GIRLFRIEND]'s sweet on me.
Radiohead's Hail to the Thief is playing from my iPod through [A THIRD GIRLFRIEND]'s Vaio speakers here in our studio apartment in West Hollywood. [She's] off at the [SHORT-LIVED FILM COMPANY] offices, and I pick her up in an hour and 40 minutes. We've been living together for about two days now. Sometimes I forget how much better things are when we're together, or I don't forget but rather push it away from myself, convince myself it can't really be true. But it's true.
Hail to the Thief was the first mail I got in this apartment, that and Gram Parsons' GP/Grievous Angel, which B— said was a must-have. So far I'm really enjoying Thief, GP not as much. I'm still settling in here. C— said a few times that L.A. has a way of sucking people in, that he had to warn me that people come for the summer and then don't leave at the end of the summer. But I have plane tickets from Austin to La Guardia in August, and I've leased an Upper West Side studio through July 2004, and I agreed to be the faculty adviser to the [SCHOOL] yearbook, and I told [FAMOUS PERSON] that I'd definitely be back in the fall to tutor his son [REDACTED]. So, see, some things aren't so up for grabs. But [ANOTHER PERSON†] has a novel that somebody's publishing...and what if I published a novel? I'd quit any job, wouldn't I? Maybe I"d hang in there till summer 2004 either way.
I'm settling. I'm settling into myself here. My job— What I do— I write. This summer, finally, I'm a writer. [SCHOOL] in New York City is going to pay me in July and August just as if I were still working for the school, but I am not doing anything for the school. I am self-employed. For the first time in seven years, all I need to do is write. It's my job. Self-employed unpaid. Occupation: writer. This will be true even next year when [SCHOOL] will pay for twelve thousand dollars of my rent and [FAMOUS PERSON] will pay me an irregular eighteen hundred a month if everything goes as planned; even though I'll be making as much as I made in the fall, I'll be working 30-something hours less every week. Occupation: what? Tutor? For 4½ hours a week? That's not a career. Yearbook adviser? Come on. No, occupation: writer.
Radiohead says, "Just because you feel it doesn't mean it's there." That isn't exactly right. Just because you feel it doesn't mean you know what it is.
Definitely I'll write about solipsism. Oh, definitely. Is there a novel called Girls? Let's find out. Use the old Comcast cable modem to get on Amazon.com... Books... Search... Amazon should let you look for exact matches. It's giving me The Dirty Girls Social Club, Morality for Beautiful Girls, Girl Culture, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls... The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Girl Sex... Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them! And, right, this is 1–10 of 7967. Terrible. Maybe the library can help us out. I meant to check anyway to see about this L.A. public library—except does such a thing exist? What everybody calls Los Angeles is Los Angeles County. West Hollywood is its own goddamned city, as are Manhattan Beach and the rest of 'em. Maybe a West Hollywood public library? (Isn't this fascinating?) No, there's a Los Angeles Public Library: lapl.org. Let's see.
Edna Ferber wrote a book called Girls in 1921. Nicola Thorne wrote The Girls in 1967, as did Helen Yglesias in 1999 and Amy Goldman Koss in 2000. And Elaine Kagan in 1994. Ah, fuck: Frederick Busch wrote Girls: a novel in 1997. That fucking asshole. It can't be any good. "Grief Fiction. / Children Crimes against Fiction." Children Crimes against Fiction. Jesus. "Rape Fiction." Girls and Sex by Wardell Bax Pomeroy. The Girls Against the Boys. B—'s band in college was called Blacks Against Jews. For a while in 79th Street downtown 1/9 station, there was a sign that read, "We fight for brain damaged children," except that someone had scribbled out the for, so it said, "We fight
for brain-damaged children." Ha ha.
I can write a novel called Girls. I'm not writing in the genre of Children Crimes against Fiction, so I think it'll be all right.
OK, so I've got two LAPL branches near me: the Will & Ariel Durant Branch at 1403 N. Gardner Street and the Fairfax Branch at 161 S. Gardner Street. Maybe I'll drive up and down Gardner and see which looks sexier.
Today was the first day of my new job. Orientation. The first thing I have to do is to figure out what story I want to write. Then I'm fucking golden.
As I believe I wrote earlier in the year, I was bound to say, "I knew it," no matter how things turned out with Goodman. At least I wasn't proved wrong: [REDACTED], head of development at [REDACTED] Films, "really liked" my script and "is prepared to start finding a director," and when [AGENT FRIEND] told me this on the phone this evening at just about 7, right before I headed out to meet C— for dinner, my internal reaction was indeed a kind of elated "I knew it!" At the same time, though, I can hardly believe it.‡ Nothing's settled yet: [REDACTED] and ICM's [REDACTED] are going to be working together to come up with a list of possible directors. Possible directors!§ As I said to [SAME GIRLFRIEND AS IN 2003], people at two film companies—a production company and an agency—are devoting some thought to a script that I wrote. It is not impossible that a film could come out of it, that I may actually be starting a career not just as a writer (which lately I've felt I've actually become), but as a professional writer.
Hey, universe: how about giving me some good news today about my goddamned screenplay! See how that would fit with the whole June 16 theme? Help me out. Be a pal. (I'm talking to the universe, here.)
Listening to Chaos and Creation in the Backyard by Sir Paul McCartney: pretty good stuff—thanks, [REDACTED]!
Maybe going east for a memorial service this weekend. Don't know yet. Will let you know. (False.)
* I used to write down every movie I watched. Yeah, I know, double-you tee eff.
† I'm having to take out something sort of awesome about sex, but it's not sex I had, so it's not my place.
‡ Smart kid. –ed.
§ Honestly I had forgotten that it ever got this far. Fuckin' Hollywood.