Wayne Allen Sallee
That’s what I call my writing resume these days, the collections of newspaper interviews and my appearance in Chicago magazine, sadly when I still had hair and wore my Larry King glasses. More on that in a minute. Or maybe not, considering my lack of concentration lately, due to my brain popping rods of pain on a regular basis. Never could get the voice activation to work, I get too many spasms in my right cheek. At some point I might swipe a story title from Ray Russell, start calling myself Mr. Saldonicus. At times, I can see how writers decide to take that dirt nap, what I calling Doing It The HemingWay. Ha ha. But I’m sticking around. As my good friend H.E. Fassl wrote me once, we have to stick this out until our expiration dates.
Got laid off a day before working two years at the plant. Worked out in a good way, because there had been quite a few layoffs since January, and I recently talked with someone there who told me everyone got an eight hour per week cut and salaried workers had a 20% annual pay cut. But, since the temp agency I was hired through is still giving IDES the usual hoo-ha, I’ve yet to get benefits after four weeks. Hence, my grasping at job straws. You lose track of days of the week when you do different things on different days and a specific routine is lost. I feel fragmented. I don’t want to start selling my books to get money to eat again. The past two days I’ve worked at Taste of Chicago, the gigs over, but at least it was worth a few bucks and an enormous sunburn. Email me and I’ll send you a photo of me looking like The Hideous Sun Demon (a really bad Guilty Pleasure film of mine). I’m burnt enough that I can’t put on my pain ointment and you really should see me now, Heath Ledger has nothing on my paingrin, ladies and gents. Oh, I am insane, indeed I am. But I move on because of Janet and her recent accomplishment and the people on the streets that move like Ray Harryhausen stick figures, climbing onto the bus sideways, or the guy I saw in the Loop yesterday wearing a sign that read I’m Just Hungry. Land of the free. Again, to Janet, my admiration and prayers, for what they are worth.
So on to talking about writing. I’ve looked into a few web content jobs through Remilon, Guru, and Elance, passed on to me from Jeff Johnston and Jesus Gonzalez, respectively. Yea, I can see my doing this on deadline, that image of Hemingway with the shotgun in his mouth ever clear in my mind. Four days before he committed suicide, he wrote a thank you letter to an eleven year old. Will I have written about the benefits of enrolling at the University of Sante Fe or maybe emailing Brian or Sully, or sending a wacky postcard to Dave? My empire of dirt, baby. And when people talk about it–IT, I mean–that means they are really in it for the long haul. I’ll end up eyes and a brainstem in a jar in some carnival, which quite honestly is how I feel some days anyways.
Earlier this week I was part of a focus study group on lip balm, and was paid $100.00 for one hour of picking my brain. One of the last questions involved my being asked what I would do if I woke up one morning in a world without lip balm. Honest. I could think of dozens of things that were higher on my list than boo-hooing the demise of lip balm, like working, using two hands independently, living above poverty level, having health insurance, running into Kurt Russell (who I’ve admitted on my own blog to having a man crush on, no secrets in my life) and grabbing a few bottles of ABC root beer. And writing long term, not in fragments. I love putting these words down for SU, I rarely comment on other posts because my self-esteem went south so long ago that I feel my words–even in casual conversation, mean absolutely nothing (my empire of dirt). I’m an old man in a dry month, as T.S. Eliot wrote in THE WASTELAND. One of Beth’s cronies, the Rev. Snavely, sent a few people a link to the remake of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. It opens 09/09/09. The day I become Half-Century Man. I really never thought I’d make it this far. And at least I’m putting down words every day, with the determination of an ant balancing a piece of Honey Nut Cheerios on my stoop earlier as I read an old Green Lantern comic from the 60s. One finger going numb, an hour into typing my babbling missive, my shout-out to all the SU readers, from Chicago to Tasmania and New Zealand.
I have written no fiction in the last few months. I have handwritten pages that end up in my blue recycling can outside, some I take to the bus stop and let them blow in the wind, maybe inspire someone else who finds a random page. For years, I have kept in my wallet a folded piece of paper I found on the el, words printed in pencil on a small memo sheet with a R in a circle at the top. I think of it as my constant, something reminding me to always, always write. The words on the page, I am sad. Do you know anymore information about Eddie Curry WAS died last Monday 3:00 morning. Someone mourning, leaving a note to someone, anyone, just to express emotion and continue on living.
Writing this has uplifted me quite a bit. Its like religion for me, and I am always grateful for those who take the time to read my fragmented blurtings (is that a new word, never know with me?). So that’s my confession for this month, that I have written nothing I feel is worthy, yet I have not stopped writing. I’m insane now, and if I stopped writing, well, what lies beyond insanity? A normal life, like my neighbor sitting outside drinking a beer, content after a hard day’s work (and one hell of a great guy), not having to fret about words in his head that want so desperately to be put on paper? When I sit outside with that ant reading the Green Lantern comic, I’m twittering, facial-ticing, about going back inside, climbing the stairs to Welcome To The 12 Monkeys House. Always thinking, hardly typing. For now. Thanks, everyone. Until next month, I remain your chattel, Wayne Allen Sallee, dangerously close to Chicago, and fifty-three minutes at the keyboard. Loving every minute of it because it means my brain is still active.