Drugs, and Why Bob Ross Cut Himself

It’s the fucking blank page.  Every writer complains about it, it’s as rote as a golfer complaining about, I don’t know, the fucking rough or whatever golfers complain about, how the hell should I know.  I’ve written 265 pages of moderately adequate mystery thriller and I have another 60-100 that finishes the thing off, but I’m stuck at the bridge, the climax, the damn explanation for why any of the crap I’ve written happened in the first place?  Cry me a river right? 

So, like any good complainer, I’ve spent more time trying to figure out why I cant write these God damn 30 pages then I have sitting down and trying to put one fucking word in front of the next.  A big part of me feels like I just need to dedicate more time to serious drinking than I have been.  I need to make a commitment to scotch and bourbon and Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen and whoever that chick is that sings Black Velvet.  I need to start smoking again and lock myself in a dusty basement with nothing but an ashtray, a bottle of black label, and an old electric typewriter and think about how the world hates me and I’ll never be loved.

Artists like to think like that.  Not that I’m elevating myself to the esteemed status of “ARTIST” but fuck you I think I am.  I think I’m creative and that I express that creativity publicly, or as publicly as the public will allow me to.  I put the shit out there, it’s not my fault you assholes don’t come and read it.  So yeah, we like to think that we need our pain to create.  That the fact that we are unloved is what pushes us to makes something that will also never love us back.  The truth is, it’s probably all bullshit.  I suppose there are plenty of successful, well respected artists that are completely well adjusted and have happy home lives and families that hug them every night.  I’m sure they exist, but I don’t really believe that either.  As far as I’m concerned that glassy eyed Muppet Bob Ross probably cut himself every night before he went on TV and painted those fucking pine trees.

And that’s my problem folks.  That, and the fact that, apparently, I think that it’s not only okay to start a sentence with the word ‘and’, but also an entire fucking paragraph.  My problem besides atrocious grammar, is that I’m just too God damn happy.  Can’t you tell?  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not spinning around a mountain top singing old Monkeys songs like Kenny G did in Marry Poppins, but I’m also not going to be found dead, hanged on my closet doorknob with my pants around my ankles.  I don’t have a drug problem other than my complete lack of any kind of drug use, which if you ask me, might be a problem.  I drink, but thanks to my wife’s Quaker roots, I’m limited to drinking on weekends, after 5pm.  I do this with relish mixing beer and scotch and gin, and bourbon and wine in no particular order and with food parings that make as much sense as Gyros and apple sauce.  I don’t smoke anymore, not even occasionally anymore.  I’ve left that so far behind that there will be moments when I stop and say ‘damn, I could have had a cigarette there if I had thought of it’, but I don’t think of it until it’s too late.

I’ve got kids, enough that I’m threatening to call ABC Family and pitch a reality show, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing really.  For starters it would pay for all the costs that are incurred when one has enough children to build a baseball team with a respectable relief pitching bullpen.  Secondly, my disdain for Reality TV would make me miserable enough that I wouldn’t have to resort to this kind of masturbatory rant in order to fuel my self pity to the point that I can write something that resembles useful art.

So what’s my real problem?  Fuck if I know.  To me it feels like my problem is that I get up in the morning, get my 22 month old daughter out of bed, make her a bottle and lay her down with my wife to go back to sleep.  I shower in a tub that has to have Draino poured down it every 10 days because the pipes clog up, coated with Dove shampoo and conditioner pumped out of barrels previously used to ship crude oil. I dress in the dark and drive to work at a job that I don’t hate, drive home at night, put dinner on the table, and watch half an hour of television on the sofa with my wife.  We read to our daughter, I sing her 3 songs, lay her down in her crib and climb in bed with my wife.  We watch another half our of something on Netflix off of her phone and fall asleep.  Then the next day it’s the same thing.  And the next day and the next day.

Holy shit man, what is there to complain about.  Isn’t that what everyone is clamoring for? Isn’t that the perfect middle class lifestyle that everyone running for dog catcher says we need to bring back to America?  What would you rather?  Do you want to be living in some abandoned textile factory without heat or running water and nothing to keep you company but a tattered spiral notebook and a dull pencil you sharpen on the brick walls?  In short, yeah, kind of.  I’m not saying I really want that.  If that was all I had I’d be cursing ‘The Man’ for putting me into that filthy crack den and calling for the heads of every Washingtonian who ever uttered a word about the greatness of America.  But yeah, the artist in me cries out for some kind of strife to give me passion to create!  The fucking McDonald’s egg burrito meal and large coffee I shove down my gullet every day despite my promises to myself, my wife, and my bank ledger, are making me fat in the gut and dead in the head.  I cant find reason to shout from the rooftops when Amazon has new episodes of ‘Catastrophe’.

So what is the answer? Good question, as soon as I figure it out I sure as hell wont be here telling you about it.  If I can get to a place where the art finds a way out and I’m not hiding in a port-a-john shooting bleach between my toes, then I’m not going to take the time to analyze and explain, I’m just going to grab onto that fucking bull and ride it until it throws me off.  In the mean time, God dammit, I guess it’s just more of this.  Finding one God damn word to put next to another until something breaks loose and a story falls out.  So I guess, ya know, strap in mother-fuckers, because this could take a while!

One thought on “Drugs, and Why Bob Ross Cut Himself

  1. Exactly. I call it being trapped in "suburbia". Like isn’t there more to life then a middle-class lifestyle? And what’s wrong with a middle-class lifestyle? Especially since were clinging on to it with scared hands. Some people would kill for where I am. What really gets me are the people who are "happy"? Who are these people who like living with manicured lawns? All I want to do is hit the open highway. Write under the light of the moon. Still can’t believe I moved away from the beach but I moved away to see the rest of Middle Earth, even Mordor. So far I’ve gotten to the other side of the Shire and Gandolf ditched me. I’ve got five years till the youngest goes to college. Maybe I’ll still be able to take the twister to the other side of the rainbow then. Till then I drop words onto paper and pray someone likes it. Then I realize I don’t care if someone likes it. I know my stuff isn’t for the masses. All that’s a long winded way to say loved the article Neil. Spot on! Totally agree.

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