“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.”
~Mark Twain

Let me say that the quote up there is one of my favorites, because of the down to earth honesty it presents to all writers, novice or young.

There is nothing like a good thunderstorm to spark inspiration. Going off of Sean Carpenter’s suggestion, I decided to indeed make my introduction more personal—i.e. written with pronouns and feel good intentions.

Anyways, it was filed, formatted, and finished… sent off the magical land of Publisher. Then of course, my girlfriend glances over it and says, “You’ve got two typos. But don’t feel bad, it’s the kind that’s hard to catch.” Beautiful. Because big, glaring mistakes that tired eyes don’t catch are perfectly acceptable.

On a lighter note, an old friend Brian Walters stumbled across my blog earlier and left some kind words. I’m going to return the favor by telling all my readers to check him out at:

http://www.youtube.com/systemjap
http://www.myspace.com/briankeiyawalters

He’s a multi-talented actor, musician, and model that’s making his way out to New York city next year, for the New York Film Institute. Whilebrian I remember him best as the guy that got mobbed at the Zoo during freshman year of high school by, yep, short skirted Japanese schoolgirls. They recognized him of a TV show he did on national television as a kid.

Anyways in recent years, he’s been touring India with his music while raging all across Japan with his tunes.

As most in Yokosuka, support him by checking out his shows. Everyone else, check out his websites and let him know that he’s apart of a special class of people that are pursuing their dreams.

Said it before Brian, see you at the top of the world someday.

Would like to thanks Leo DeJesus, John Michael, and the rest of MNIJM for their shout out to me, and to let them know that with them linking me on their site, I hit new highs on visibility with this blog. Thanks for helping me spread the word about my book!

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I’m going to try and include in some of my blogs some bits of writing I’ve been doing on the side; feel free to comment and enjoy!

This one is called, Hollow Men. Not a recent writing, but I read A Clockwork Orange, The Catcher in the Rye, and bits of The Perks to Being a Wallflower. I enjoyed the latter two style of writing and decided to give it a shot. This was not included in the novel because I felt the limited violence within it was a bit vulgar, and altogether the piece was unpolished. However, it’s definitely a fun read—and was even more exciting to write.

Hollow Men.

I never thought it’d happen to me. You read about it in some third-rate novels that shouldn’t leave the shelves, see it on the news in some town no one has ever heard of. Where I lived, nothing happened without a reason. In my town, there was an annual picnic, and then an annual community play— come to think of it, everything seemed pretty planned out. No room for the spontaneous or the ugly, no time for the indifferent. After all, nobody was like that in real life, right? No one was like that. We all laughed at the mayor’s jokes when he came to the school, even if he really wasn’t that funny. We sat in rows. We sat in columns. We stood in unison. We walked straight and tall, just like they asked.

When I think about it, it never really bothered me. In fact, I don’t think I noticed before this year. You know, the way everyone kind of smiled. No, no— they didn’t smile, just kind of. Like you knew that something wasn’t there that should’ve been. An unearned compliment; every time someone looked at me, it felt uncomfortable. People shouldn’t be so wrapped up in trying to look like they’re doing the right thing. That’s the problem with most things in life: we don’t want things to be okay, we just want things to look okay.

I started noticing things. Not the way that I noticed my hair was getting redder every time I happened to glance in the mirror, but more… I don’t know, subconsciously? Like Rick. Take Rick Sanchez for instance, because I started noticing him. He was always staring at me, and saying something. Well, not saying, more like muttering. I could barely make it out sometimes, other times I wouldn’t understand a word. It wasn’t Spanish though, hell no. Didn’t sound like a waste of my time, and that’s all Spanish was. I told my seventh grade teacher that once; she threw me out of the class. Said to me, “I can handle ignorance, but you’re just stupid.”

I had an A in that class. Next day, it was an F. The pop quiz must have been weighted. Didn’t really matter though, middle school was just a waste of my time too. Bunch of kids watching other kids do things, but not regular kids— they all tried to imitate the people that they saw living on the television. They wore clothes they knew didn’t fit because somewhere along they way they thought that made them more popular. Funny thing was, they were right.

Kids, we never really know what’s good for us. Parents, teachers, people we never meet— they all try to tell us that. Tell us, “Hey kiddo, hey buddy boy. Don’t listen to that junk the TV tells you— think for yourself.” I hate it when they talk to us like that. I’m not six, and I haven’t been for over a decade. Think that matters to the guy over at the grocery? Nah. He still calls me buddyroo. If he wasn’t seventy, I think I’d punch him in the gut. Hell, I’d knock him somewhere else, but you can’t hit elders. Got to respect them, that’s what Daddy always said. That’s all mythology though, because I honestly tried. Can’t respect a guy that calls you buddyroo, and that’s a damn fact. But you know what? He doesn’t tell me to think for myself. Just looks at me kind of funny and laughs to himself.

See? That’s what I’m talking about. If was talking to you maybe around Christmastime, I wouldn’t have said a word about some guy calling me buddyroo and giggling to himself. Wouldn’t have noticed it at all. But it’s different now, and I can explain it if you give me a second. You know, that’s why I can’t write essays for English. Never could, and it’s gotten worse lately. Never can get straight to the point, old Mr. Richards used to laugh at me. He’d give me an essay about global warming and I’d have to explain the reason why China isn’t quite the full-blooded communist everyone claims them to be before I could even talk about anything really.

Makes it even worse lately, everyone stares at me when I write. Like they know I’m going off on a tangent, so they stare at me while I fidget in my seat. Then when I look at them, they look away down at their paper. Quick as a fox, those kids. I swear to God, some of them are psychic. Gets me distracted pretty bad sometimes, trying to catch them staring at me. I know if I can catch just one in the act, then they’ll all stop and I can go on writing my essay, off-topic and all. “Off-topic is better than nothing at all,” good old Mr. Richards said to me after I turned in the last essay with only three lines; they kept staring, I couldn’t concentrate.

“They watch me, sir,” I told him straight, I mean he’s suppose to be the teacher and make sure everyone’s taking the test, right? Surely when he watched us, he must have noticed something.

“Don’t blame others for your own mistakes.” I hated how he always had to offer advice. You couldn’t ask a question, give a statement, doodle a goddamn picture in his class without getting some advice in reply. I swear it. Seriously, that quiet kid James Franco asked him what the date was and the teacher had to say, “If you don’t know the time, how can you manage your life?”

He could just said, “October 10th, and it’s a Wednesday.” No, no— had to give advice. I mean we’re students; we need to learn everything, right? God, I don’t miss talking to that old man. I think I’d punch him too, but at least he never called me buddy boy or anything. But to be honest, I don’t know if what he did was worse.

That’s why I don’t go to church anyways. A stranger preaching me a sermon— don’t lie, you know that sermon is just a fancy word for advice. I don’t even know the guy, and he’s telling me what I’m doing wrong and that I need to fix myself. Bunch of bull, if you ask me. But then I heard something that made me a little interested. Somebody told me people weren’t the one’s I was noticing looking, it was God. I told them God didn’t care enough to watch my sorry self. Couldn’t help but wonder, though, if maybe the big man upstairs was paying attention from time to time. Spent hours one afternoon imagining it, God coming down to talk to me: “Hey, what’s up? How’s life?”

Only I don’t think God would ask me what’s up. But I know he wouldn’t call me buddy, that’s for sure. Because we weren’t buddies. I didn’t go to church. Couldn’t stand sitting in their with a bunch of people trying to be sorry for something. I never could find anything to be sorry about. And come to think of it, God wouldn’t talk in contractions. Something about the whole shin dig of I-created-thou tells me that he’d pronounce it all: “How is life?” Maybe that’s what separates Him from us— he sounds out his contractions.

Told a kid he was mistake today, said it on my way to church. Hey, call bad guy— hell, you can even call me one heartless piece of crap and I wouldn’t mind. Just don’t call me a bad kiddo or something like that. That’s what you tell to the kid who steals a yoyo from his best friend in kindergarten because he doesn’t know any better. Nah, can’t call me that; you should’ve seen this kids face when I told him. Asked me what I meant, and when I explained that I bet he was an unplanned regret, he looked like he was going to cry. Told him to toughen up some, that’s what I did.

He punched me in my face. Damn near broke my jaw that kid did. When I was cursing him out and spitting up blood, he just walked away. Stupid kids nowadays can’t take a joke. I caught my reflection in a puddle of water right before I ducked into the chapel. Bloody mess of things, he really got me good.

“Bloody, right he did.” God, that’s what a Brit probably would have said had I told him the story. Bloody this, bloody that. I guess after Jack the Ripper, everything seemed bloody to them. I don’t know what the big deal was about old Jackie boy— I bet the untold side of the story is that some hooker probably called him buddyroo and giggled to themselves, and that’s why he went nuts. Sounds logical to me.

But anyways, I got into the chapel and immediately some nuns noticed my, uh, state-of-affairs, and made a big deal. They wanted to help— strangers and all! Guess that’s what makes nuns what they are, fussing over strangers to help them out. Kept asking me all these dumb questions, things like: “What’s your name?” “Where do you live?” “Do you have a dinner to go home to?”

Makes me sick to my stomach. What in the hell does where I live and whether or not I got some dinner waiting there for me have to do with blood running down my mouth? What did it have to do with sopping a warm, wet rag to my aching jaw? Nuns, what a bunch of fakes. Remember what I was telling about, how people just want things to look okay? They didn’t really care whether I was hurting or not, or if my jaw was as broken as it felt— they just wanted to make sure I went home and didn’t die out in the middle of the church doorsteps.

“You’re very welcome.” Can you believe they said that? Now don’t get me wrong, despite all their fakeness, I was going to say thank you; you can’t be rude to a nun, that’s like bad karma or something. Maybe it’s in the Ten Commandments or the Constitution, but I know I’ve read somewhere that being rude to nuns is only bad luck. But they said it before I said thanks. Can you imagine? Pretty presumptuous if you ask me; what if I had been one of them rougher boys and was going to spit in their face after they were through? Not that I am, but still. You can’t be fake and presumptuous. That’s in the Bill of Rights, I know that much. And if it isn’t, then it damn well should be.

My jaw wasn’t broken by the way, but I’m pretty sure you don’t care. Still hurt though, hurt like nothing else— that’s a fact I bet you savor. See, my theory is that people like to see people get hurt. Nah, not in that whole “you’re a failure and a wuss, but I’m so great” complex, just it gives them a chance to do something nice. You know, like pay a compliment they don’t mean while they try to smile. God, I know I’ve done it a couple times. Nothing like watching a kid down on his luck and then stopping by and saying something inspirational like: “Hey there buddyroo, don’t worry. Things will get better. Just when it’s the worst, things will get better!”

For the record, I think that’s the day I decided I would murder the next guy that I see saying something like that. Some mornings, I can’t even stand to look at myself in the mirror, knowing I did stuff like that. I mean, c’mon. Can you rub it in his face anymore? Imagine yourself hungry, pretty thirsty, and cold out on the sidewalk— and then some well-dressed guy, sipping some hot coffee, coming over and trying to smile, saying some bull about life getting better. Getting all close and personal about it too. I tell you what, if it ever happened to me, I’d look both ways and pull that jerk into an alley and fix my life with his jacket and wallet.

Fact is, the real thing you should do is toss the poor kid a sandwich and then ignore him. Believe me, he’ll be more grateful for you silence than the sandwich. Nothing a poor guy needs more than some sage advice. He already knows he messed up, and given their circumstances, I’m almost positive they’ll remember with a certain painful clarity where they screwed themselves over and are already shrewdly planning how not to make the same mistake again. People take people for granted; we’re so convinced that everyone else is stupid.

So yeah, I’m sure you’ll understand all about yesterday morning. I mean you get it, right? When the big yellow bus is spitting out kids on the front lawn of the school and the colors are just kind of swimming around, I’ll admit I get kind of dizzy. Wasn’t quite myself. And I don’t need to be reminded that my clothes aren’t the most fashionable thing on the block. But he had to say something, the stupid janitor. I’ve been going to that damn school for nearly four years and he tries to run me off the campus. “Hey there buddyroo, maybe you had a sip too many. Try and hold yourself together, but you got to clear out of here. School’s starting and these kids got to learn their lessons. I’ll ask this once nicely, buddy boy, but if you don’t leave I’m going to call the cops. Try and make something of yourself, today is a new day.” He even tried to smile.

I’m not crazy, Officer Leeway. I’m really not. But as he said these words I could see right through him. Like he was finally as hollow as he sounded. Hold it Doc, don’t need the meds yet: let me finish my story. I was scared sir, I really was. But I’ve got to admit, I was a little curious. The brick was a bit excessive, but I swear to God it was my greatest surprise when he bled like the rest of us. I was confident that he was empty inside, like everyone else like him. I still don’t really understand… you see, he wasn’t real. He couldn’t be real. Hollow men don’t really exist, do they? But I wonder now, maybe he was one of them I was noticing. Oh, I see that look on your face… on both your faces. I’m crazy, huh? Dangerous? You don’t understand. you just didn’t notice these things.

And to be honest, send me away. They’ll call you a dozen nasty things in prison, but they won’t call me no goddamn buddyroo. You called me paranoid, Doc, hell even schizophrenic. But your words are hollow, and I can see right through you.

 

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