Monday, February 20, 2012

Iced Green Tea Latte

"I've got no voice. I don't know how to write like me."
"Paul Kemp" (Johnny Deep doing a much better job of Hunter S. Thompson than he did in Fear and Loathing)- Rum Diary (2011)


Funnily enough this morning, before watching this movie tonight in which, serendipitously, I heard the above line and pressed pause on the laptop and opened Evernote to jot it down, I headed to Starbucks and ordered an iced green tea latte because I thought such a drink would be disgusting enough, and it was, to grant me extra time in a relatively comfy chair while I bashed away here. Because I wanted to check something out.

I had something in my head, in my bowels, somewhere, where-ever gut feelings and brilliant ideas reside. It was about my voice, my literary voice. E@L's voice, the voice I want to have when I write being me trying to write like I'm writing like E@L - yes, me too, fuck it, I get so confused trying to emulate myself that it all comes out like the shit you have after a night on the piss and curry.

And you know, advice from a whole lot of good people over the years has been perfect: Get onto it, if you want to write something, write something that E@L would write, write like you do in your blog. Obviously that is your voice, they'd say.

As they should. And I tried. I wasn't ignoring their advice, I was trying but I couldn't do it, horn blast, failed. No matter how hard I tried I didn't sound like E@L. It didn't even sound like me.

Despite nodding and saying "Yes, yes, I understand" when these well-meaning people abused me and threw rocks at my head trying to get some sense in there, I still had trouble putting E@L's tone and voice into these pieces. Perhaps I was thinking that this writing would be associated with *me* rather than E@L, that first-draft wunderkind whom we all love and know so well. Or is that meant to be other way around? Ah, I'll fix in the next draft.

Last few weeks I've glancing over some of E@L's old posts from this and the previous blog and thought, hey fuck, this guy is good, do I know him? Wish I could write the way he does.

So today, for some reason, I just said fuck all that self-conscious literary shit, I'll get E@L himself to do the writing for me. I'll let him write a blog using my imagination, let him tell the story of the story behind the story that I have been trying to write for years. Which is not, as some have been whispered to, the Bruce stuff at all (well not completely).

Trying hard hasn't worked, I'm going to try easier from now on. That is the plan.

So E@L sippped his drink, yuck, and banged out five pseudo-posts for me, a whisper over 2000 words, before the green tea latte ran out. I hope it sounds more E@L'ish than last year's NaNoWriMo stuff.

Here's one from today...




But E@L is sitting down in Satrefucks, he needs time to think about this news, needs to write it down to see what it looks like, so he can think about it better and he has an iced green tea latte on the table, next to his laptop.

A nicely horrible drink like this will allow him to sip slowly, to shudder, then write something while he waits ten minutes, and sip, shudder again. You get the idea. How long can he stretch this poison out? There is nowhere in the hotel to sit like this - he needs white noise of people doing those various things other people do in order to concentrate. He needs something, though a critical mass of someones is better, to ignore. Satrefucks, perfect for venting anger. Ice green tea latte. How horrible does tha sound? How horrible does it taste. He's got about an hour here he calculates.

Life for the gullible is always teetering on the edge of disaster thanks to the indifferent hearts of psychopathic grifters, con-men and investment brokers. Bastards left and right are out to insert a hand into the wallet pockets of the vague and upstaring, to rip out their financial guts. E@L, gullibility made flesh, is pretty fucked up at the moment in this division, as the more perspicacious reader of this blog may have assimilated by now.

Some fresh news has filtered through about The Prick's disappearance and the evaporation of E@L's investment, sigh, from one of the other poor suckers investors. It seems, according to that source who's name cannot be remembered and perhaps should not, that The Prick not only took E@L and his fellow gullible's money, he also drained his wife's bank account. Swear to god. And not under the most pleasant of circumstances. Aptly did Birdman create his cognomen.

E@L has only met the short-suffering woman (the wife) two or three times, not enough to maintain her name either in his leaky sieve underneath the dripping glue form his rotting memory banks. Fuck what is it with E@L and names? Heard she was sick, but The Prick never told E@L of what. Him? Tell E@L anything? Turns out if was freakin' breast cancer. Oh my freakin' christ. The death-worthy prick. The lump was scanned in their TST office by a friend of E@L's, he hears now, someone in his old company another source of gossip, as a favour to The Prick who apparently had charmed her at one of my parties . "Get to a freakin' real Doctor immediately!" That was fair to middling unprofessional btw, but we are in Asia.

Listen to this, those who have computer screens to hear. Story is she had gone back to Germany, she's half kraut, old Blighty's NHS not quite the ticket, for some treatment or other involving loss of hair and a small snip. Didn't lose her whole breast, it was early/small (not necessarily significant, but that's not helpful in the medium term E@L's recent casual studies have concluded - a kick in the butt for our screening machine, but sshhhh, don't tell the customers).

Wifey, victim in so many ways, had refused the well-meaning ministrations of those who peddle their varietals of soups and teas composed of a menagerie of endangered species and bits of garden clippings that is TCM. Thankfully, [You've all remember Steve Jobs? Sorry bit of editorial intervention here. E@L will be blogging about this in the far far future. OK I'm gone.] she went the Western Way.

So, scarfed and don't-touch-my-boobies sore, she gets back home to their mansion of a flat on The Peak, but The Prick is not home, the fridge empty, except for some vegetables turning to soup in the bottom drawer (good for TCM?) so she wonders where the slave hired help might be hiding, not there either, pops down to grab a bucket of Beluga and, WTF, her card is rejected. OK, the bit about the caviare E@L is offering some mere conjecture there, but the card rejection was real. She had no money in her account. Nada, zip, not a Standard and Chartered buck. You don't need E@L to explain what The Prick had done with their joint account.

This was at exactly the time we all lost contact with that massive prick, The Prick.

Sound familiar? E@L's investment account. As previously described. All the money from the sale of his post-divorce 50% of the Olde Sweete Homee. The Prick is a total cunt. I think was can all rest our joint agreement there.




Finished for today.



That will all be for this transmission. His work is tough you know and it starts again tomorrow. Around lunch time.

Finished for today.



Michael McClung said...

Oh no no no no no. Whatever you do, DON'T try to write like yourself if you're writing fiction. That's a grade A way to bunge yourself up good and proper, all the ego and psyche issues come leaking out. Try to write like your *characters*. Or, depending on POV, as observers would see your characters.

Call me when you get back. and I'll give you the other 98 cents.

expat@large said...

That is exactly my point. It is no longer my ego and psyche, but E@L 's. You know that E@L is not me, as in the person you meet in the pub or signing legal documents. E@L keeps his distance from PLR and vice-versa. At least we think we do, and that's what matters. Actually he tells me we do, and who am I to disagree?

He does however have the off-the-cuff voice I like and that my personal stuff is lacking. Plus he has a readership already, pathetic as the stats reveal, but still a readership. Remember too that this is a 100% vanity project.

Remember also that bit about the unreliable narrator in your writing classes? Pale Fire this is not, but a flicker on the cave walls perhaps.

Michael McClung said...

Yes, but you've lived with e@l for so long, in one context or another, that the same sort of issues are creeping in. He's mainly a blogger, and the blogging persona might well be the one that's having the issues with longer fiction.

Shorter: dude, you're messed up. :-)

marke said...

I like this (E@L) voice - tis fluent and relaxed, and does not force my no longer agile mind to clamber over prose and vocabulary to hear the tale ....

Voices, style? To each his/her own.... (alas, where is mine?!)

expat@large said...

Cheers Marke, I will try to get it going. I have a cunning plan which involves locating a place in Singapore that sells iced green tea lattes.

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