Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Santa Cruz: The Novel.

The great Santa Cruz novel has begun. I've been dreading it ever since I left that place for the last time. One of the darkest periods I've ever witnessed. A real state sponsored holocaust. How the hell am I going to do it justice? It's almost impossible at this stage in my life. Steinbeck was experienced when he wrote Grapes of Wrath. But this is about people no one will have any sympathy for. So what do I do? I go for it. It's different. I'm not a journalist. I'm an entertainer. That's the only thing I have going for me. This isn't the whole first chapter. It gets too complicated having two editions going at once. FYI: There is a $10 fine (donation to wikipedia) for asking me how my "novel is going." If it isn't published then it's going very very badly.

Chapter 1:
A total loss. That’s what Ponytail thought when he first looked at his ransacked campsite. There was nothing left. Even the Rainbow Buddha altar had been defiled. Who was responsible for this karmic atrocity? Would a scumbag tweaker wingnut trouble himself to dig through every tree stump to find all of Ponytail’s hidden cans of food? He knew that kind of troubled nomad also lived in the dense forest surrounding the train track and it was no mere rumor that a group of meth chefs had built a trash fortress behind the golf course. Ponytail had seen the plywood and plastic kingdom with his own eyes during a magic mushroom hunting expedition. He had never stolen from the Wingnut Empire and never trespassed on their territory - why would he? - so this act of destruction, this unprovoked attack, had been random, probably the work of one of the truly insane men who lived in caves by the river. What other deviant would cut out pages of the bible and impale them with sticks in a circle around an old Penthouse centerfold? That kind of obsession based ceremony was definitely performed by a bipolar madman whose barrier between fact and fantasy had completely eroded. It was very likely that the person responsible for stealing all of Ponytail’s clothes was building a cocoon for a stuffed animal and simply needed more shirts. He’d seen weirder things.

A drop of rain fell through the dense canopy and landed on Ponytail’s head, which meant it was already raining heavily. Ponytail needed shelter but he was upset and his yoga teacher had trained him to act only with a balanced mind. That’s what Yoga means: Balance. Act without balance and nothing is accomplished. So Ponytail kneeled down near a small redwood sapling. He flexed his anus and imagined a string pulling his coccyx up through his skull and into space. The world spun on an axis and within this axis was another axis that spun perfectly around Ponytail. Each inhalation was one of love. Each breath out was one of love. In with love out with love. Ponytail imagined himself high on a mountain. Sitting before him was every person and animal in the world. From Ponytail’s eyes came a bright white light that represented love and this white light penetrated the eyes of the animals in the front row and from their eyes came another white light that penetrated the eyes of the people and animals in the second row. And so the white light was replicated and passed from row to row until every person and animal had received his blessing of loving kindness. Just as Ponytail was about to complete his practices with a series of deep om chants he was struck in the head by a heavy boot. As he fell forward into the wet leaf bed he saw a naked man drop from a nearby Bay tree and flee through the woods. This naked man was carrying Ponytail’s backpack full of journals and aluminum cans. As he expected, the offender had been one of the cave dwellers which meant retrieving his journals, along with the detailed plans for his fruit and nut oasis, would be next to impossible. The naked man stopped near the train tracks and looked both ways. The man had a long bunched mat of black hair and a tangled web of a beard. His skin was covered with mud and brush and was naked except for a pair of filthy neon green leg warmers. The man looked back at Ponytail and let out a maniacal laugh that everyone who lived in the forest knew well. This wasn’t just any bipolar nut, this was the king of all nuts, the Minister of Manic, the Pope of Post Traumatic stress, The Duke of Depression: The Hyena. Ponytail watched The Hyena’s bare ass scurry in the direction of the river and disappear behind a redwood tree.


hardworker said...

You are trying to entertain a population that is broke, that's why you shouldn't expect riches. You'll have a best seller on the hobo circuit if you finish this thing, but that means you'll have to give it away, or trade it for gemstones.

hardworker said...

plus, "His second thought wanted justice" sounds wieird. If your third sentence sounds grammatically weird, it's hard to keep going. You can give me new vistas and new metaphors, but don't lose me on the simple stuff.
A thought doesn't want justice, a thought seeks justice. a thought isn't outside the human who thinks it. Don't sound retarded out the gate bro. imho.

hardworker said...

ok. I got some more ideas. You say, "He knew they also lived in the dense forest..."

How about saying, "He knew meth chefs lived in the dense forest..."

so that my mind isn't wondering for the next 20 words who "they" are. THis is the opening paragraph. Help me out. If I know in quickly that you are against meth chefs, (awesome name) then I understand there is a serious problem and the sooner I know it, the more I'm involved. Don't waste 20 words to hook me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's a good idea to line edit a blog entry like it's a manuscript in the ICM slushpile. Are you kidding me? What, this is an MFA workshop now?

Nothing is a worse draft-killer than the blathering experts who love spouting off their nickel and dime opinions. Everybody knows so much.

Get your fucking shine box.

Oggy Bleacher said...

my children, calm thyself.

This is why I'm not posting any more of this novel. I will point out that someone has been doing their homework when they should be drinking at the Tiki Lounge.

The second sentence was destined to be changed. And even that detail about "He knew they..." really should be "He knew that type of nomad..."

So, I won't be as defensive as Mr. ICM. He's already got his MFA. Those of us still in the trenches don't got shit.

I'm serious about this one. I agree, the simple stuff has to be easy, because the big picture is going to tough as hell to swallow.

Anonymous said...

Go for the Gold - don't worry about the small stuff (i.e., single sentence structure). Capture the essence of the very hard life of the disenfranchised and riches will follow.

Oggy Bleacher said...

I'm right there with you, Kodiak. I have a stuffed turtle that I was trying to explain the story to. Like a child, (as my womb is barren).

"And the crazy man stole all daddy's equipment and he nearly froze to death. That's how daddy met the deeply troubled girl who would later smash daddy's heart into a thousand pieces by smoking crack and giving $5 blow jobs under the railroad trestle. Yes. Yes, she did turn Daddy into a grieving shell of pain. Now go to sleep."

And I'm not drunk so now is the time to be concerned.

I am juggling many different balls here. I don't even think I have the skills to do this third person stuff. I hate it, actually, like I'm invading someone else's life. But this is the Updike, Steinbeck, Hemingway ideal. Even Confederacy of Dunces is a perfect third person. But it involves a level of insanity I'm scared of.I already live in my own past. So if I commit to the past of complete strangers then I don't know if I can make it back across the river.

hobo soup said...

thanks for taking all the joy away mr. anonymous.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.