I can’t write what I wanted to write.
Dear James Franco:
I want to know how you manage to star in films, direct films, write stories, and attend several universities simultaneously. A lot of people do. It’s a cliché debate by now. But let me ask: Is it drugs? A special form of methamphetamine that’s only accessible to cultural icons? Have you somehow discovered a way to manifest quantum superposition and wave/particle-duality at a full-body level? Is it a combination of drugs and physics? For instance, if I take ten Adderall pills, will the electrical impulses in my brain fire faster than the speed of light, thus bestowing upon me the ability to transcend time and space? Or will my heart explode? Will my dead body, still tweaking on speed, continue to shake and twitch and convulse for years? Will they bury me despite the clamor? Will my thumping appendages find a steady rhythm? Will it be faster than entropy? Does entropy obey a metronome? When people walk past my grave and hear the noise below, will they say, “What’s that? Sounds like someone down there has a drum set”? When my knees spasm and whack the inside of the casket, will it produce a timbre different from when, say, my arms knock at the sides? When the speed wears off and I cease drumming, will the birds finally return to the graveyard? Have you read Padgett Powell? It is OK to imitate Raymond Carver, but not Padgett Powell? If I take twenty Concerta, will I end up with twenty MFA degrees in Creative Writing? How about I just stick to the coffee? Can you tell me what you’d do without a secretary?
Are you going to suggest I create some continuity between my sense of ambition and my time management skills? That I need to stop watching videos of 1980s hair bands on Youtube? Does Ozzy count? Is it wrong for an aspiring musician to imitate Ozzy? Can you run a fine comb over my activities? Or is it called a fine-tooth comb? Should I look it up? Will you recommend that I stop practicing my bass guitar? That I’m wasting time with this blog? That blogging isn’t an effective way to get attention, unless you’re swapping recipes?
A few months ago, I went to a conference. There were 10,000 writers there. I attended a panel on blogging. One of the panelists, Claire, said that new bloggers should pick a platform with a built-in community, and that we should blog every day. We should connect to other bloggers through comments and emails.
I have failed.
Three weeks ago, I started writing a new blog post, called “James Franco becomes a New York Yankee.” I haven’t put it aside; rather, I can’t stop fixing it. When first I read it, looking for grammatical errors, I thought, “This isn’t polished at all.” So I polished it up. Then I read it again and thought, “This is too damn long.” I pulled out the Gordon Lish machete. Then, “This is too damn sparse.” Then, finally, “This is a goddamn turd.”
I would like (for just one week) to think that everything I write is golden, to deem my every keystroke worthy of immediate publication. Pomposity and delusion would afford me the time to pick a platform with a built-in community, to blog every day, to connect to other bloggers through comments and emails, to post on someone else’s blog, “Hey, I read your rant on sexism in the New York Times Book Review, and loved it. I read the whole thing, beginning to end. I didn’t even need to take Adderall. That’s how well you held my interest! Update me next time you write something. Are we good friends? Or should we trade a few more comments before we start declaring things like that? What do you think about my blog? Do you believe I’m cheating by using a famous guy as a creative writing prompt? I think it’s cheating. Get this: I just told you the truth. Are we good friends now? Are we close?”
James, are we close? Can you now tell me how you’ve outsmarted time and space? Why doesn’t Advil affect me anymore? Why haven’t I seen a fox in years? When was the last time you cried at a zoo?
If I do that, will someone escort me out?