Something I wrote in 2003

I was delving into some old floppy disks when I came across a year’s worth of personal journal entries. For some reason, I want to air this material. Something about finding a book that I have already written:

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Happy birthday to me.  Not that I actually observe this silly tradition.  It’s for kids.

Suzanne did call.  She’s trying to butter me up, or actually does love me, or both, and maybe some other motives, or just that she’s a nice person under all those neuroses.

Complicated, my life is.  I should be writing science fiction like I always wanted to do.  I had better do it soon, or I won’t be able to enjoy it as long.  I want to influence a generation, perhaps revive the hard science fiction genre, but combine it with a new sensitivity and insight into character.  That’s what SF mostly lacks, real character, rather than just cardboard characters, cartoon characters.

Well, I just never know where my fingers are going to take me when I sit down to write to myself.

What happened with the editor job?  Who knows.  Perhaps the guy hasn’t made up his mind yet, although that seems weird since he’s losing his present editor in three more working days.  I guess the call cold come on Monday, which has sort of shot my plans to reorganize my life based on the new job.  Lots of things to end, lots of end games to play.

You remember end games, how good I am at packing and moving, at making final arrangements.  It’s almost like I have to move every so often because moving is all I really know.  I have no roots.  My mind is not tied to any place or to any people.  I know movement, though.  I know saying goodbye and leaving.  I know starting over fresh, although you’re never entirely fresh because you bring your old baggage with you, inside of you.

I have moved only two times in 13 years in Madison, once into Julie’s house, then here.  I tried to have some stability for Boy.

Thought about my dad while watching a commercial where a dad holds his baby boy up on one hand, the kid balancing there, standing on the big hand, the two of them doing a trick, the little boy delighted to be a part of it.  My dad was like that, showing me off.  I basked in it when I was little.  I loved doing things with him.  He was like a big kid in many ways, full of fun and a little mischief.   Always making jokes and puns, turns of phrase, making up funny lyrics to popular songs.  He would have like the facts I started writing songs.  Who knows, he may have even helped with them, given the lyrics more depth based on his experience.

What was his experience?  He was 32 or so when he met my mother.  Man, he was in Europe after World War II, and probably could have had as many women as he wanted.

This is where I mentally start working on “Finding Captain Zukowski,” my story or maybe novel and film that is a fictionalized version of what I’d really like to do, and will do a little more of if I get the time and the chance, find out more about his Army days by talking to some guys who knew him then. It will do him proud, just the fact that I made the effort, and made up some stories about him that I thought would sell.  His real stories were probably even better.  That’s what I will say in the epilogue.

I feel stuck

Am I stuck in my own mud?

Am I stuck, or do I just think I’m stuck?

Is my thinking stuck?

What am I stuck on? Stuck with?

Through the heart, stuck?

“Stuck on you” must be a country song.

Being stuck has both positive and negative meanings/connotations/implications.

You can be stuck on a good thing as well as on a bad thing.

Simple-minded crap, that’s what I’m stuck on.

Thinking stuck, stinking “thuck.”

Word play, that’s what I do all day,

making hay, or is it “hey man,” whatchoo lookin’ at, brat?

Me and the microphone, me and the words,

The Wordz man, here come The Wordz,

Got me a plan, went South for a tan,

been thinkin’ ’bout Afghanistan,

been thinkin’ ’bout this planet-stan,

how we each got our own spinning plan,

little Ralphies and Janets got their planettes,

revolving around the same sun.

Solar flare, I don’t care, sun of light and sunburn, son of God and soulburn, burn in hell, never tell, doing well, despite the hard-sell. Oh well.

Chains of love

Ever heard the golden oldie about “chains of love”? Here’s a slight variation:

“Chains! My blog has got me locked up in chains

But they ain’t the kind, that you can seeeeeee

Ooo-ooh these chains of loooove got a hold on me!”

Yes, it’s a willing bondage, but a burden nevertheless. We love to communicate — most of the time. Then comes the morning when we’re glad our cell phone “ran out of battery” as they say, and we can’t even find it. Or the internet is down, and we don’t care. Saying “Hi” to a neighbor on the other side of the street as we walk the dog is a greater high than any tweet, instant message, or blog.

But then again, there’s no discernible record of that “Hi.” We can’t go back over a string or thread of “Hi”s and see whose turn it is, or what days get the most “Hi”s. Life is random; the Net is precise. People forget, but Facebook remembers everything. The attraction to live your life on Facebook is irresistible for some. They chain themselves to their status update and report themselves in custody and under Internet arrest — just check my location on GPS, please, make sure I’m where I say I am, and see who is nearby. Tell me to turn left in a quarter of a mile, give me some “Likes.” Maybe even a comment.

Say, didn’t Karl Marx call on the workers of the world to throw off their chains? Seems like we didn’t care for all that freedom and we slipped on some virtual chains. So if you want to hear from me, just rattle my chain … it’s a chain of loooooove.

Acceptable internal documentary

Inside each of us is a documentary filmmaker whose job is to render an acceptable version of the events and emotions of our [living?], constantly editing and re-editing, even calling for completely new takes, different dialog, different outcomes, until there exists a safe pseudo-realistic production we can watch over and over, becoming convinced this is the way things really happened. The resulting internal documentary film is titled, “If They Could Only See Things My Way,” and we love it.

Weekends are for working

Have pity on the freelancer, the entrepreneur, the home office worker — they work weekends. In fact weekends can be their busiest days.

For example, in my freelance commercial writing practice, Paul Zukowski Copy — I can take on a project Friday afternoon and put three evenings (F, Sat, Sun) and two 9:00 to 5:00 workdays (Sat, Sun) into it by the time Monday rolls around. For the corporate client, it’s like magic. They leave their office on Friday, frazzled and ready to kick back and let loose for a couple of days, then drag themselves back on Monday to find — voila! — a whole bunch of copywriting is ready and waiting.

Then there’s the all-nighter — I’ve been known to take on a rush assignment I got at end-of-day Tuesday, work through the evening and wee hours of the night, and email it off at 5:00 or 6:oo a.m. Wednesday, maybe getting two or three hours of sleep before the client gets to the office at 9:00 a.m., logs into Outlook, and sees a finished draft is ready and waiting.

So when you see me putzing around the yard on a weekday, or wandering around the hardware store at 11:00 a.m., or starting cocktail hour on the patio at 4:00 p.m., remember — It may look like I’m retired, but I’m probably working while you’re snoozing.