Elvis Presley and my new Novel
You may think writing is boring, or that editing is boring, but perhaps you will be entertained with the rarely chosen option of looking at someone else's revisions of someone else's work. Someone else's work of someone else's work.
There's an odd tick about watching other peoples' edits on a page. Especially if it's your piece of writing, the feeling is oddly sensitive—you scrutinize a detail of their cursive and realize that this is a person's ideas about another idea.
American History is the story of how America became a world power, and what that means. It tells the tale of discovery, conquest, slavery, industry, expansion, imperialism, war, change, war, change and progress.
Corporations are not humans, yet they can be convicted of manslaughter and fraud. Perhaps if that abstract concept can be addressed like a person, a country can be as well. America, the abstract concept, is a living being. A changing, social beast with many facets and many interconnecting pieces and warring thoughts. If you could look into America's journal, it would be riddled with its own edits and happy face stickers. If you could only look.
This is the Georgia Capital building in the heart of Atlanta.
This is a view of my city, Atlanta.
Saturday 8:20pm. Standing in front of the Georgia Capital Building alone, you can feel the power of holding a government position. You understand more firmly what it means to create legislation that affects everyday people. Along the streets there are the occasional walking people. There would be more tomorrow, and there were more during the day. Atlanta is so much more interesting at night, when you walk into the Waffle House near Martin Luther King Jr Drive and look up at the 60's style Coca-Cola soda machine.
I've been listening to Elvis Presley more lately. A girl—who I knew, in Desmond's words, "in another life"—fondly appreciated his take on "Pocketful of Rainbows," and a part of me became enamored with the notion of someone appreciating that. Personally, I would say my favorite would be "You'll Think of Me" on his Back in Memphis album.
In the reflection of the Waffle House window, I look like a young Elvis Presley mix with some Rachmaninov and Wallace and my grandfather. Quietly I hide inside of a booth and voraciously slice and eat my waffle with the dull knife, no syrup. No coffee, either, but water—with 2 lemons stuck in.
I drew inspiration from a few plays I saw today in person in the Grady High School blackbox theatre. The plays were written in 2 days, and acted by professionals. One play about 2 people on a plane, a fantasy one, a sci-fi one, a hilarious satanistic/magical skeleton one, one about a con man, and finally, one about a writer who goes to sleep to and dreams her jeans are talking to her. She quits her job the next day. The plays were inspiring because they were written by other high schoolers, and I got an idea for my novel.
My novel, written down fast in a leather journal, is pretty bad. It is written in black ink, and has close to no edits. I want it to be a mix between Vonnegut and Beckett, yet still minimalistic. Nothing crazy, just a story of a person who finds himself traveling down an endless path into the deserted apocalypse of Atlanta. There are many metaphors and crazy characters: the main character stomps on a fly, to watch ants surround like zombies, consuming it; a doctor (Doctor Z-something-I-havent-thought-of-a-name) with shiny sunglasses that reflect light, he beams with a large crooked smile and describes his process of torturing insects; a strange man who follows the protagonist never to be talked to; streetlamps that turn on and off, and signs that appear saying strange or obvious things (Foucault ish); and finally The Playwright at the end.
I have been walking down this one pathway for the longest time, returning multiple times. I have walked 5 or 6 hours total there, mostly at dark, alone. It gave me the inspiration for writing. I figured the ending, and there's a factory-like building with turbines, being fed a river which I could not, unfortunately, cross. One day I will find a way to visit that building, or have my character visit it. Perhaps the novel will be like my dream, a daydream, a lucid dream, a voyage to another experience that I am unable to personally obtain.
One day my Presley-ian self will find an editor capable of transforming my material—or rather, the work to which I haven't said Stet on—and I will write some great novel.
It is 11:46pm now. I have to read 2 chapters from the American Pageant between tonight and tomorrow night. Chapters 34 and 35, about America's role in World War 2. I will walk and feed the ducks and think about books and Elvis and parts of my life I don't share with the awaiting masses of. . . (well, currently, two people named Alec and Rachel). Yes, I just gave you two a shoutout. I will write a conclusion for my Physics lab notebook about electricity. I will figure out my math situation.
Last Thursday I received a 7/100 on my math test, bumping my cool 92 down to a rocky 68. Ouch. I talked with my father, and unashamedly cried [note: not sobbed (we save that word for tragedy)], in my room until the night was dark and late. A 68 meant not having A's for all my classes, and meant I'd have to work double-hard in ALL my classes to catch up with Math: see, junior year, you must do work for all your classes, and in order to fix one class, you must work harder in your others to get them done with faster. I would play the political game of school and tests, and clout myself into memorizing texts once more. One heartfelt apology email to my math teacher sent, and a text to my friend saying that I would not be publishing my Beckett-style play in the Lit Mag; I was ashamed that I had allowed myself to get that distracted in math.
The grade was 72. Inputted wrong, my teacher said "sorry". If she devised this to get me back on schedule, I truly believe she is a genius, because I had a near religious experience with sincerity and my belief towards Foucault-level conformity.
My friend Christopher, yes from the Beckett-style play, sent me the name of an artist that I should listen to. Father John Misty. I regularly would not listen to such an artist, perhaps a sensationalized artist rolling atop the false-cover of deep thoughts on life. Strangely, his music was a calm that Jack Johnson could not replicate inside me. No, Jack Johnson is rather reserved for the real tragedies. This artist will be reserved for the false tragedies, the misfortunes of school.
On another note, a friend of mine, Maxwell, told me that I could make it into Yale. He had gone on a college-visiting trip there, and thought to himself during a class discussion on Milton that I would love that more than anybody at my school. The thought of going to Yale excites me, although I can't tell whether I'm just cocky enough to get in, or if I would be disappointed by the firm truth that I have not worked hard enough for it. I could blame it on them, for not noticing such incredibly bold talent, but that would be arrogant and, more importantly, wrong. Besides, I'm trying to approach life more individualistically, since I realize that governments and societies are but external forces directing me but not moving me, if you can get me. Agency, my own success, and a rejection of blaming other things, that is my next step after embodying the sincere.
Tomorrow will be another tomorrow, and I will someday find out when and how and why I am going to die. My life, the sprawling novel, I want to write down so that it can be preserved and scrutinized and explicated and interpreted by other living creatures who will then die as well. I want to be Wallace, and I am him, but I want to preserve him. Happy fucking Earth Day.