So I’m sitting in the library. I came here today to try and get some quiet reading and writing time. Been looking through the poetries of Allen Ginsberg and C.D. Wright, and the short stories of Langston Hughes. I also grabbed a couple of books off the shelf about “writing better lyrics.” All this time, about 2 and a half hours now, I’ve spent listening to the interactions of other people.
Hoodrats outside, bumming smokes and talking about last Saturday when “we was so fucked up, yo.” Librarians talking about Dr. Phil. Children talking to no one in particular, just to talk, probably doing it just to cement my disdain for toddlers. All the while, these books are screaming obscenities at me, taunting me, rendering my brain un-travel-thru-able.
Don’t EVER read books on writing. At least… not if you possess within you anything that resembles a soul. The fucking advice they give you is crazy. See, I was thinking maybe I could get a couple ideas about, well… “how to write better lyrics.” But they talk and talk and talk about NOTHING. Structure.
I’ve decided that skipping college was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’d have inevitably gone for writing or music. Let’s tell the truth. I went to college for a semester. I took a music theory class, “advanced expository writing,” art history, and something else that (apparently) wasn’t even worth remembering. OH!! It was Sociology!! Haha, how could I have forgotten that class? It was professed by Father Time himself. He slurred his speech and had a raging comb-over and wore a fucking pocket protector. Oh man. Got so much out of that class.
And the art teacher, well I went to that art history class ONE (1) time. She, the professor, also had a comb-over, and she was sneezing and wheezing and blowing her nose a lot. This was the day I found out that, in some regions, it is acceptable to blow your nose into a tissue, tuck it up into the sleeve of your sweater, and then whip it out when it’s time to blow again. I didn’t really hear what she was saying because I was preoccupied and disgusted by her filth, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t into her job, and I’m positive she’s not the kind of woman who was out to change the lives of young adults.
That said, by week 4 of college, I had stopped going to classes, and I just spent my time in the computer lab.
I think I held out the longest with the writing class. It was interesting enough. But then we had a group assignment. Keep in mind, I was still living in a residential drug rehab when I graduated high school and started college. So the idea of driving from my rehab to some pretty girl’s house in a rich neighborhood, when I had been trapped in a home with young men for a year, well… this was bad news. I wanted to fuck her. But I had such low self esteem, I didn’t even know how to speak to her productively about this school project. So. I didn’t go to her house that Saturday. And I didn’t go back to that class again.
I went to the computer lab every day for the rest of the semester. Except for the days I decided to drive out east to the Hamptons, blasting Neil Young and Grateful Dead and The Wailers and Ol’ Dirty Bastard cassette tapes in my beat up shitty slow car. I’d find beautiful things. Or I’d just talk to birds. Or I’d not even get out of the car, I’d just drive around with the windows open, singing, memorizing what it felt like to live inside this brief illusion of freedom.
Anyway, that was my college experience. And I’m sure it could’ve been amazing if I’d have applied at (and been accepted and offered a full ride to) the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. But that was not my life.
So I stopped school, graduated rehab, moved back home, started training to be a stockbroker, started drinking again, got kicked out of the house, rented a room, got depressed, quit my job, got evicted, lived in my car until I got my license revoked and my car didn’t run anymore because I beat the piss out of it, and eventually lived on the bleachers of my old high school until I met up with a newly-freed-from-jail friend and started supporting my self and my habits with burglary money. This was my life from age 18 to age 19, until my friend went back to jail and I went back to living in the streets (and sometimes in other peoples’ cars, since mine was toast). This was the era where I should’ve been doing this and could’ve been doing that and would’ve been blah blah blah.
My point? College sucks for some people. And when you need to read books about writing, in order to write, you’re an asshole who probably shouldn’t be writing. Yes, I’m speaking directly to YOU, you fucking jerk.
Especially with music. I mean, music is about freedom and chaos and collision and pain and love and god and aliens and all the good stuff that can never be found in the kinds of books that are written to teach you how to be a mysterious and profound lyrical genius.
So. I miss writing songs. And I’m obviously going down the wrong avenues to stimulate my creative energy. I think what needs to happen is that I have to go home, clear the fucking mechanism, and just write lyrics. Stop with all the caring. They don’t have to be very good lyrics, they just have to be abundant. Writing 100 pages of mostly bad lyrics… well, with this, you can harvest 10 songs worth of good lyrics. The lines between the lines.
Anyway, this talking about it is getting out of hand. I just wanted to write and let you know. Don’t ever read books about how to write. That old cliche is true. “Those that can’t do, they write shitty books that will teach you how to cut yourself from your inner divinity, by way of bouncing you between the bad advices of a bunch of shitty teachers that never got as famous as Oprah.” You dig?