I'm Not Dead - January 5, 2009

(Reconditioning Batteries)

Hello there, Internet Land. I just wanted to check in with you to let you know I have not been kidnapped by Hamas or murdered by some jealous boyfriend. I know a lot of people out there just now lost a bunch of money in their respective "KungFu Mike death pools", and I apologize.

I've been working hard on the book the past few months and I just started a new position that allows me to work strictly from home and on my own schedule, which is going to facilitate my writing schedule in a very positive way. Hopefully I'll have so much time on my hands that I'll be able to pump out some new entries for you guys. I have a list of half sketched-out stories that I'd love to put up here.

One thing that I think about a lot while I'm writing this book is about its believability. The closer I get to finishing everything, the more I'm afraid that my life has been so tragic and ridiculous and self-mutilated that people who don't know me will refuse to believe any of it when the book is done. I mean, I have plenty of people I know in real life who will always vouch for its credibility and I'm not going to get James Frey'd out of existence, but it's still something I worry about because I always feel irrationally guilty about shit. It's the same reason I can't walk out of a store without buying something. I'm worried that someone will think I'm shoplifting so I'll buy a pack of gum, even though I don't look suspicious and I don't have any ill gotten merchandise stuffed in my boxer briefs. I watch Curb Your Enthusiasm and I almost have to change the channel every time Larry David makes a mess out of things. There's an evil gnome in my brain that prods whatever lobe that evokes guilt at strange intervals, and I am slave to it. I'd delve into that further, but that would spoil a bit of the book for you.

I started writing this entry when I was sober, but then my friend called me and I went to the bar for a few hours. Just keep harassing me about those new entries so I don't forget.

Something about this entry doesn't feel right. Cunt. Fuck. Fireworks. Tits. Monster trucks. Dead people. Blowjobs.

There we go.

Posted by KungFu Mike at 3:23 PM

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Counsel from one a bit further along the novel-publishing trail: Do not be afraid of your feelings about your difficult past. Cry, scream, throw a chair - then WRITE. First, if a scene isn't immediate for the writer it can't be for the reader, and that's kind of what first drafts are for; second, it is therapy just to get them OUT, externalize them in words (most people don't have this ability); third, repressing them in the name of artistic control can make you ill by itself. Anecdote in point; I was writing a scene in which a young woman goes to identify the body of her murdered sister. I'd visited the ME's office in the state where this would have taken place, had all my gritty details at hand, and felt like a cool pro in the writing - only, I started having chest pains that got scary by day 3 and went to the ER, where after numerous tests I was told I was having a panic attack. My retort was that I felt zero panic, and that this is what woman are always told in similiar circumstances. This really good doc elicited from me what I was working on, and that hmm, yes, years ago I had actually found the body of my older brother who killed himself at age 26. The doc pointed out that in imposing tight intellectual control, however successfully, over feelings I (must have) had then I was making myself sick. I had to get to a level of grief I was maybe too young/shocked to fully understand at the time. It didn't change that scene much, but it informed the rest of the book in subtle ways I didn't plan or build-in. That book didn't sell a million but got great reviews and 3 blurbs from top writers I didn't know from Adam. Good going with yours, kungfumike. Every serious writer has been where you are now, and maybe that process (of discovery) never ends. But it IS cathartic (and not merely confessional), and so we are, in this, at least, a lucky breed of cat. (Or dog, if your prefer.)

Posted by: Anthea at January 9, 2009 10:23 AM

Mike...beautiful ending.

Posted by: Wayland at January 16, 2009 07:52 AM

Dude, don't worry about any slandering about you telling the truth. The ginsanity stores are way too powerful to be "artifical".

Posted by: Joe Power at January 17, 2009 09:49 PM

I too find myself feeling incredibly uncomfortable whenever Larry David screws everything up. In my case, it comes from every single time in my life where I "just went with it" even though I knew what I was doing was completely fucked up. I just didn't care enough to stop myself and that makes me feel guilty later. So I'm watching Larry David and thinking, "He knows it's wrong, but he's powerless to stop himself... ugh... reminds me of that time when I (fill in the blank)"

The few times I've sobbed uncontrollably in my life I've also found myself kind of "out of body" where I realize I'm upset and crying but I can't help but think about what groceries I need to buy or that I need to move the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. There's this completely separate inner dialogue that continues regardless of what's happening to me. That's fucked up too.

I think I had a point. Oh yeah, if it happened to you then it's true. As long as you remain honest in your recounting that will come through in your writing no matter how "unbelievable" it may seem.

Posted by: Carlos Goodwin at January 20, 2009 06:52 PM

I completely agree with your feeling of having to buy something if i've browsed around the store with no intention to buy. I could never figure out that paranoia because other than that, I'm completely laid back. Its such an intense feeling of judgement from the employees around you..or so it seems. Oh man, I sound like a nut so I'll just leave it at that.

New point.
You're a fantastic writer, a great story teller and you evoke TONS of relatability even in your most outrageous posts. Your take on life is completely refreshing and despite your "flaws" and struggles, you seem to be a wise man with an awesome character. Great. Now I sound like a stalker fan.

Well for fear of digging myself further into a hole of word vomit, I'll simply say that your site is great and your stories have thrown me some great laughs and reality checks when I needed them.

Never stop writing, kungfumike. Too much talent to waste.

Posted by: gabbie at January 29, 2009 10:09 PM

Dear Mike,

You're fucking awesome, man.

Sincerely, Nick

Posted by: nick at February 9, 2009 11:23 PM

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