Saturday, February 26, 2011

The White Paint Chronicles (#0001)

“I’m a stop singing this song because I’m high (raise the ceiling baby)...

I’m singing this whole thing wrong, because I’m high (bring it back)...

And if I don’t sell one copy, I’ll know why (Why man? Yeah)...

Cause I’m high, cause I’m high, cause I’m high.”

"Because I Got High"
Music and Lyrics by Joseph A. Foreman
(aka "Afroman")

“Because a writer writes.”

I wrote that in the liner of a leather-bound journal, that I gave as a gift once. A birthday gift, to a guy I worked with, who called himself a writer. He used to make me read his stuff. Written long-hand, in a two inch, three-ring notebook on wide-ruled, 8 ½ by 11 paper. It sucked. At the time, I didn’t know if what I wrote in that journal was for his encouragement, or just a thinly veiled attempt at harsh sarcasm. It’s been years now, and I still don’t know which it was, and that isn’t even the point. The point I’m making is that this fuzzy, gray-white cloud of a memory most likely only popped into my head right now because of what I, a writer, just did for a fucking paycheck.

Yeah, it’s funny what a few well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals can do to rip a dead memory from the hard ground of a guy’s head like a cosmic backhoe, under the paint-stained bandanna, just the other side of the blood-brain barrier.

I started working semi-permanent, part-time jobs so I could spend the bulk of my thoughts (at least that’s what I told myself at the time) on what I told anyone who would listen was my next career… “Writer”. Now, when I’m honest (or drunk), I tell the world (or those in it who would listen) that I’m “a guy who works two part-time jobs… and blogs”.

Sort of.

And like the song clue at the top tells you (if this was a movie, it would have been playing in the background on a car radio), last week’s Libertarian drug flashback went and turned itself into its own bullshit crisis of conscience, artistic epiphany… all in the hour it took to paint a mildew stained, six-by-thirty, cinder block and drywall storage unit, deep inside an unventilated apartment garage.

God, how toxic primer can make you think, while it kills the handful of brain cells you have left.

In the week since what I now refer to as the Afroman Epiphany forced me to re-evaluate the choices I’ve made for becoming a handsomely-paid writer, it wasn’t till Day 6 that it came to me. Nobody who wants to get paid for thinking up cool new ways to use the same old words already used (but better) by other (dead) writers, should ever have to work in a Huffer’s Paradise of well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals… no matter how pretty they make a cinder block and drywall storage unit… not even if your name is Charles Fucking Bukowski.

And no amount of white paint on a dirty old bandanna can cover up whatever other repressed memories of why I really write.

Also available for reading on Expats Post (where writers Write to Live)


  1. Darling boy, at least you're writing, no matter the reason. Keep it up.

  2. Go with the inspiration, no matter where it seeps in from.

  3. "...a Huffer’s Paradise of well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals…" Now THAT is why you must write. Those words, so fully descriptive, carefully stir the mix of anger and angst that only gifted writers can communicate. And through the toxins, whatever it takes, you must write. "Because a writer writes." It is your destiny.

  4. Wow, this hits close to home. But think of all the writers who struggled so long before making it big. I'll be honest, I'm not sure if I have quite the endurance that some of them did. Problem is, I love to write. If I didn't, I would have abandoned the writing dream a long time ago. If you like writing then keep it up, Bill. You certainly have the talent.

  5. Man, this post hits close to home. Breaking into writing is so tough. I constantly remind myself how long it took some writers to finally break through. Frankly, I don't know if I have their endurance but unfortunately I like to write. It's a sickness really. Anyway, if you enjoy writing then keep on truckin', Bill. You've sure got the talent.

  6. Yeah, I think this is on key for most of us bloggers/writers. We want to write and get caught up in trying to survive.

  7. Writing is like a disease (as Janene said - it's a sickness) that takes over your body, life and mind. You can't not write. You have to write... It wakes you up in the middle of the night, distracts you from daily life, and keeps you in your head. I fucking love it. It's my drug of choice.

    Don't stop until you're dead. And hire someone to help you query if you have to. I know for me, I HATE HATE HATE marketing or selling my work. I find the querying and pitching part of the job tedious, administrative, and publishers to be anal retentive and inflexible with their submission guidelines. Hit up some lit mags. Poets & Writers Magazine has the best directory.

    You ARE and ALWAYS WILL BE a writer my friend. I see many people call themselves writers who barely write and don't even have a tenth of the talent that you have. You have mad skill. You have the disease!

    Rock it till you lock it!

  8. Great post! I too have had semi-permanent jobs that helped to support my writing habit. If you are a writer, you are a writer. It is like we cannot help ourselves.

  9. Finally, a new post. Yay!! Sorry you had to kill a few brain cells to do it. Great post... I can relate;)


  10. Bonjour Bill!

    You are what you are and in the end, you can't deny it & you can't escape it and even if you could escape it, you wouldn't because,


    It's difficult, but you mustn't stop trying and never stop believing in yourself. Embrace your talent & keep on jotting things down, otherwise your brain will get too crowded hehe.

    You know, I rather have my brain cells killed by paint (you mustn't sniff paint too much. Believe me, I know.) than that they die because your imagination is locked away. Embrace everything that inspires you ^_^

  11. Raw, harsh and writing. This is the real everyday stuff that would make for a nice feature article placement at a place called Broo. Though I'm not a fan of swear words, as the options are many, you have to be true to your character, your beliefs and your writing. :)
    It's a great way to read with a fresh cup of coffee if I drank coffee, that is.

  12. I dreamed of being a proffesional writer in my youth, then burried the dream to get on with making a living, now fifteen years later I am finally writing again, and it feels great. Keep it up !

  13. Oh great! All the cool kids got here first and took all the good comments. Jerkfaces.

    I go back and forth between wanting to be a professional, and wanting to be a writer. I think my head always tells me to drop the act, and just get focused on the thing which is guaranteed to make me money. Then my heart speaks up, and I start writing again.

    I can't tell you how happy I am that your heart is noisier than your head. Promise me that you'll never stop writing.

    1. You promise, and I'll promise too.

    2. Ah I forgot about this post! I have to butt in and say that I just love you both, so I will promise that if you two ever stop writing...I will hunt you down.

      Now that wasn't too scary right?

    3. Verrrrrrry scary! I promise I won't stop writing.