I still haven’t told you, dear internets, about the beautiful little book of short stories of mine that is coming out soon. But there, I just did. Now. On to other things.
I’m in love with things made of paper. My daily lists are little bits of simple art. I have had to implement an intensive review process when purchasing a new journal or notebook, lest I become a blank-book hoarder. But all of this is to tell you how hard it is lately to buy business cards.
I need them. I do different work and have to tell people about it. I write so many words, these days: technical ones and fictional ones, and bloggy ones, and secret poem ones, and online dating consulting ones. So I want cards. I want red ones and beige ones and thick parchment ones and serif font ones. It’s hard to decide. But at the end of the day, all I want is this one:
I < 3 Huckabees was one of the first movies I fell in love with. It may seem trite now, to some, but when I was young it was one of the first movies I ever saw that walked the line between hilarious and super dark and it was all smart and clever and real.
So what is a writer, any artist really, but an existential detective? To say anything else is a lie, or a simplification, or a joke. I live my life sideways sometimes. At least according to the world at large. Here is an example:
I have a friend named R. His real name makes me want to write about space pirates but that’s not important now. We were best friends the second we met and I’ve lived long enough to know that is magic to be cherished when it happens.
R loves yoga, and makes hard eye contact, and talks enthusiastically about every single thing he thinks of. His skin is milk chocolate with red tattoos. He has a scurrilous beard and mouth full of white teeth that beam at you when you’re clever. He works hard and thinks deeply and laughs deep from his belly. These are qualities I value in so many of my friends.
He travels a lot, he’s much in demand. He is available for epic trees of conversation approximately 1-3 Wednesdays a month. And I, because I’m me, book my entire schedule that week around it. There is nothing more important to me on those days than walking and lunching and talking about books with my friend. And, the last time we hung out, we had beers in the morning and discussed the discussion of things.
“Is it a luxury? Is it a privilege that I get to decide to plan my day around sunshine, or good conversations, or a book I can’t put down? How can I ever go back to a regularly scheduled job?”
“Felix. I can acknowledge that we both know like what’s it like to be hungry and in survival mode. So let me rephrase your question.”
“Please do. Cheers and good morning.”
“What right do they have, the people who would employ us, to contract us for time rather than results? In what world do people have a right to say where we should be, mentally, corporally, at any given moment? Why should we think we are getting away with something, that we are elite, to have the simple indulgence of scheduling existential necessities?”
“Hmmm. All I know is I’ve worked too many jobs where I had to ask someone else if I could use the bathroom. I consider it a moment of profound professional achievement when I reached a level of work where I could decide my own urination schedule.”
“That’s exactly what I mean.”
Anyway. I work really hard. I’m learning to hustle, and to invoice, and to save for taxes, and a million other things about contract work and tech bubbles, and the wonderful weird technocrat contradictions of life and community. But. I take time, every now and then, to invest in my inner existential detective. And I never even knew how to explain why until Kirk Lynn did it here.
By glob, you should follow that link. But if you don’t, here’s my favorite bit:
When I need inspiration I start giving more time and attention to the world around me. I write an e-mail to someone I miss. I make a mix of the best songs ever for where you are in your life right now. Or I set myself a challenge: I have to be kissed three times before an ending comes to me… Maybe it’s a thank-you note I’ve been neglecting, or a handful of change in the cup holder of the car that wants to meet people on the side of the road.”
So if I hand you a card soon that says nothing but “I write stuff.” or “existential detective”, I hope you’ll consider that I’m not only qualified for the job, I’m qualified for this absurd and authentic and stumbling exploration of life. And really that’s the best Ive ever felt about my skill set. So.