Monday, July 19, 2004

On Hold

I don't mind being put on hold, but when the person comes back I won't be mentally equipped to deal with the problem we were trying to solve. I can't even remember who I've called. There's a splot of coffee on my deskpad, regurgitated from the flimsy foam cup when I set it down too hard, and I'm watching the paper dissolve under that one little drop while the office sounds go on around me. There's the radio on so low I can hardly tell it's country music, for which I'm glad, but anything's better than the disco hour on Magic 99 on Mondays. In fact, I can't think of a worse designation for a station than Magic 99. It positively screams "hour-long loop of horrendous classic rock that repeats 12 times in a row." I also hate the jingles in commercials for our local businesses. Especially the ones the DJ sings himself. I can hear Nancy's keyboard like an automatic weapon on the other side of the cubicle wall and Lee coughing, Jim hollering across his desk at someone on speakerphone, Frankie's squeaky dolly wheels as he loads copy paper onto shelves in the back. Now the woman's back on the phone and I'm considering just hanging up and starting over.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

write something bad

Sit down and purposely write something bad; not just bad, awful. Try to make it stink. Sometimes, you need to go to the wrong place in order to find out where you want to end up. -John Caruso, The Daily Grind (

-Travis drove his Ford ranch truck down County Road at the legally prescribed crawl, checking his buddies’ driveways as he went. Most were still parked, too early to be driven from their homes by loud kids and hot ovens. Later, one by one, they would slink out of their trailers and whitewashed cinderblock farmhouses while wives did dishes, steering diesel trucks to the cool dark of the Roadhouse. Identical Levi’s 501s on barstools, alternating pockets rubbed thin to the pattern of leather wallets and plastic disks of chewing tobacco, wads of which they spit into empty brown longnecks. The jukebox was never too loud on weeknights, just white noise behind the conversations, minimal exchanges that ranged from politics to weather, rodeo, agriculture, and mechanics, rarely to personal things. The Roadhouse didn’t belong to the cowboys on weekends. Friday and Saturday belonged to the live bands, the bikers (wealthy professionals dressed in fringed black leather and neon orange cotton), the young punks up from Salt Lake City looking for full-proof alcohol and maybe a farm girl. But tonight, Tuesday, the guys perched in a row along the oak bar and watched the sun set through the dirty windows, a long slow August sunset that turned the room amber and picked out the dust specks floating up from the sawdust on the floor, settling on the green felt pool table.

The above is my answer to John's recommended writing exercise in which you try REAL hard to write REAL bad. Like he warned, it's hard. Hard to overcome years of training, but I think I produced some pretty decent trash. Why I felt, however, like the subject had to be equally lame I don't know. I had to stop there because I don't know what comes next. That's when I usually decide the place stinks and turn right around out of there.