Everyone smokes a joint in college and watches Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or at least they should have. Few go out and buy all the works of Hunter S. Thompson, smoke another joint, and learn how to write.
I had always been a closet writer of poetry and short fiction, but I grew up under the tangential belief I was too cool for school, books, or anything literary. My mother would buy me baseball cards so I would read the back of them.
In grade school, high school, and college, I participated in sports and performed coitus with Rosy Palm and her five sisters.
After I graduated college, I entered my first job at Shyster’s Finance Inc, an unscrupulous second-rate loan dealer. Horrible credit, no credit, no problem, fuck it-YOLO.
Within a year I freaked out, called my roommate in the middle of the night and had him drop me off at the Florida-Georgia border.
I began walking North. Over the next week, I froze my ass off, slept behind a McDonalds dumpster, and hitchhiked. I drove a felon’s car because he didn’t have a license, was solicited for sex by two rather large black men somewhere in Alabama, and wrote my first book, Crazy Talk. It is a middle-American satire… On The Road-esque, or in other words, a kid with too much time, existential issues, and a wandering spirit.
The manuscript sits in my filing cabinet untouched, probably for the better. When I returned I was Baker Acted, which if you are not from Florida, is when the State deems you unfit and you are locked up for three days in a Psych ward for mental surveillance.
I was released 72-hours later with a new prescription of Xanax. A month following, I took the LSAT and received a scholarship to attend law school. That says something about lawyers, doesn’t it? Crazy assholes.
I left for law school in Miami and did not write anything besides a few pieces of poetry. Then, I saw Bob Dylan live and Hunter S. Thompson re-entered my life.
I should have known law school was not working out as I sat in the back row of my Torts class wearing a multicolored-dashiki, drinking a vodka coffee, and reading On the Campaign Trail ’72.
The marionette sitting next to me answered question after question all in this annoying pompous tone. I only heard the recent rates of recidivism, model penal code, and a couple more explanations behind excessive laws…felony murder rule, crack vs. cocaine, sodomy in Texas, etc.
He would interject, “I concur to this dubious doctrine that the majority appears to deem constitutionally and analytically suspect and abrogate the rule entirely. Therefore, it remains irredeemably arbitrary with a conclusion that is considerably less counterintuitive even in the most ethereal of abstractions.”
Then he would give this maddening head nod to the professor’s rebuttal as if he understood. Everyone else in the class would nod, all in agreement this time.
“Yes, failure to remove your boot from someone’s yard is trespassing.”
I hated when they did this- sellouts, fakes, carnivores living as herbivores…I waited with teeth-rattling impatience for concert time.
That night I saw Bob Dylan play and when he sang Mr. Tambourine Man, I felt Hunter in the salvia pockets of my jaw clenching it shut. With my brain hostage to Dylan’s solace beat, Hunter asked, what the fuck I was doing. I threw up at IHOP.
I will be honest, I could not make out half of what Dylan was singing, but at his stage in the game, he could have just sat there and had us applaud.
Again, I was called to write. I applied to MFA creative writing programs all over the country, but was met with only rejection. I finished my first semester of law school, but unable to bear anymore, I withdrew to write The Delivery Cut, a book about an anarchical-capitalist cocaine delivery service for the upper class in Miami.
I finished the book in 6 months, slept in my car, moved to Washington D.C. and lived in a friend’s kitchen until Black Rose Writing picked it up. The night I received the contract, I was sitting in a jail cell. Apparently, I was being drunk and disorderly in the Capital District and “stop running”…MEANS…stop running or find slower, drunker friends.
I signed the contract and there you go- I made it…I fell in love, so I thought.
I never realized writing was the easy part. Over the next year, I applied once again to MFA programs where they proceeded to tell me nicely again to go fuck myself.
I took the next four months and wrote my latest novel, Bar Mate, which I am currently looking to submit. It follows a collection of untamed bar characters as they explain the sardonic development of an aging conscience in the Millennial Generation. Between rounds of beer Charley, my main protagonist, will discover besides being indefinitely fucked and sardonically beautiful, that what comprises the ‘idea’ of a modern man is as enigmatic as the term itself.
I also built an online platform/website and sent out numerous Ishmael ape-email-ads still looking for a damn writing mentor or at least an affordable editor with which to butt heads. No one responded.
I sent The Delivery Cut around for reviews and booked myself some glorified signings to make sure I was not dreaming. I split the signings between bars and bookstores next to bars. The only problem with signing in a bar is that you have to bring your own books and the damn things are expensive.
On the verge of another break down, I sent Dennis Haritou, an editor at Three Guys One Book an email.
Subject line: What The Fuck Do I Do now?
Being the badass that he is, he laid out what I needed to do. “You’re only 27 for fuck’s sake,” he told me.
He offered to help me in any way he could and let me become a contributing writer on the site. It meant the world to me…I haven’t looked back since. Jason Rice has sent me more books than I can read, Jason Chambers has been masterfully planning his internet takeover, and Jonathan Evison has let me fondle his balls and nag the shit out of him about everything writing related.
When We/I fell in infatuation with writing, I was watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I realized we were abusive lovers during this fuck-all called the publishing process and the what the fuck do I do now last stitch emails.
That is where you have to separate passion and love from like and hobby. I do not like to write; I love to write. Writing is a full-fledged addiction and I do not plan on stopping. I have lost too much and pushed too hard. I know it will probably land me in some depraved desert city as I try to make it through another turnstile of the writing industry, but love is madness and you need both to be any sort of a writer.