A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Thursday, November 07, 2002


Observation: Why is it that writers who smoke have convinced themselves that the act of smoking is somehow infinitely profound? They seem to feel the need to tell you about every cigarette they have, as if it is uncommonly significant. To my mind, it's anything but (no pun). In fact, it's frightfully common, judging by the filtered debris that litters the gutters. But then I've never smoked, and I am sure they would use that as their argument against me. Still, I find reading about someone's latest nicotine fix about as interesting as listening to a college student detail what he had to drink last weekend. Ho-hum.

On that thread, it actually seems particulary collegiate to write about smoking. How much bad uni-level prose has reached a point where the character's situation has gotten desperate, and he laments in a hard-bitten first person narrative about having only one cigarette left? It's the quickest reference Bukowski-wannabes have for being at the end of their rope. I remember visiting a friend in his dorm and his writer roommate happened to leave his computer on when he, unsurprisingly enough, popped out for a smoke. He was like three quarters of the way into his novel, and the particular passage he was working on was, yup, some guy who was an inch shy from the edge of the cliff and had only one cigarette to get him through the turmoil. He kept repeating, "One cigarette. One fucking cigarette. And many miles to go." Or something like that. I know the guy told me he was writing a book that was "realistic" and "gritty," and I am pretty sure he used the word "oily," too. I remember he needed a good shower and a shave, so I may be inserting oily myself. But that dude is why I despise academia crumpled up in one ugly package.

Ironically, in my third and last year, I had a story accepted to the school literary magazine, Rip Rap. It's called "You're a Guy. I'm Sure You'll Understand" (eventually I'll get it on the site). The narrator spends a lot of time enthusing about his indulgence in menthol cigarettes. So even I fell prey. My only defense is you aren't necessarily supposed to like the narrator, and a smoker friend told me it was clear I knew nothing about the act when he read it.

Completely unrelated, I did start Magic Knight Rayearth volume 4 on Monday, and also worked on it last night. I'm about 1/4 of the way in. I am also talking with Jake about the books that will follow this and Angelic Layer for me next year. Not sure if I can mention them yet, but I've got some fun stuff coming.

Current Soundtrack: Pete Townshend & Raphael Rudd, The Oceanic Concerts

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