Today I went to Sonic, to buy a strawberry slush. I wanted something to freeze the poison in my throat. Pressing the button, after a minute pause, over the speaker came the dull voice of a girl. “Welcome to sonic, how can I help you,” she said, as if on the other side of the cables she was locked in thick walled box of lead.
“Medium strawberry slushie,” I said as if I was unsure, but truly there was nothing more I wanted in the world. Medium, good point, well why not the large? It was a dollar more. “Do you want zzzzz or zzzzz or blah,” she asked all busted up with feedback. “No thanks,” I said and that was it. No other comment so I slid my card through the reader and nothing popped up. I stood like a moron for five minutes until she showed rolled through the door. This little girl maybe eighteen at the most, eyes all red like they were stoned and she handed me the drink as if it was glass, carefully putting in between both of my hands.
I could have gone right then and I’ve been known to steal. I felt pity for the girl, so I said blah blah blah, credit card, didn’t pay until her glassy eyes rolled over and she said, “It’s probably broke,” giving me no recourse like, “I’ll charge you inside.”
I pulled out my wallet and all I had was 20$ bills. I handed her one and she was not ready for the math. The pot in her brain made her shake her head. “Do you have a penny?” she asked and the drink was only 2.53 “I was like, what good would that do?” and she handed me back 16 dollars. Obviously that’s pretty screwed up. I was like, eh, well whatever and handed her another buck. I paid 5 bucks for the slushie and regretted it just as fast, but thought I’d give her a break and make her day in the smallest of ways. When I got home I checked my bank and found that Sonic had charged my plastic as well.
I like to write and when I was younger, I truly believed it was simple. You write a book, edit it a couple times, send it to a publisher and then you are a big hit.
I always had a problem writing to agents because I felt so ignored. Come to find out that self publishing is just as hard, who would have thought? Millions of authors and millions of books, it’s like digging yourself out of the dirt to realize you are a blade of grass in a field of grass.
You put out a book and no one notices. Today I was on amazon looking for people to review one of my stories and I came across a review of Albert Camus’ the stranger–3 stars and one simple sentence. “It was a bit forced,” the reviewer said. Punched in the face. If someone can throw salt like that so easily at a certified classic, what hope do I have?
It kind of feels like you are digging your own grave, begging people to read your books and review them, knowing that any negative review will destroy you.
The truth, it’s an amazing world when the worst thing that happens to some people is that no one looks at their art. I often forget there are people all around the world suffering, being murdered and abused; people starving and crying themselves to sleep.
Seven months ago at a thrift store, I came across an album of doll photos. These were not magazine quality photos, taken by a professional to sell the dolls; no, these were polaroid style pics taken by the doll owner.The owner was dedicated to say the least and surely had a room in her house full of little babies. Dusty and dark, dozens and dozens of dolls, seemingly captured on film during the 80’s. I knew I wanted them and the owner of the thrift store laughed and gave them to me for free.
For that past 7 months, whenever I go somewhere, I take a doll photo, write a message on the back like, “You were better than my first daughter,” and leave them in parking lots, behind products at the grocery store, my favorite was outside of a rear entrance to a bar.
I sometimes wonder how many people were deeply disturbed finding those pictures…then I laugh.
Today I went to the store to buy my grandma cigarettes, kicked around the chip isle wondering if I should get ruffled cheddar crisps (remembered I had pretzel peanut butter nuggets at the house and let go of the dream), you know, just wasting time. All day I felt weird, good, but really off; maybe it was that the air was way too nice for May or that no one talked to me up to that point in the day.
While I waited by the register, a black guy came into the store. A regular black guy, nothing strange about him at all. The small town I live in has about 200 people pretty much. I never see new people. So all of a sudden I’m looking at this guy, wondering where he came from and what his life was like…but time, it kept moving and I realized I was locked on his eyes hard for about 20 seconds.
He gave me a nod. I averted my eyes and bowed my head. Turning around I saw all the old white drones, the small town folk in the store, they barely batted an eye. So then I looked like the big freaking monster who gawks at black guys. I don’t know why but my instinct was to over compensate, so when I was at the box handing over cash I gave the man a real loser wave as I left.