Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Part of the reason I haven’t been working much, these last four weeks, goes back to Christmas evening, when I noticed a cold, wet impact on my left shoulder as I sat at this desk, looking at this screen.

Let me backtrack here. For ten years I lived in a place with a leaky roof. It was ten years of scurrying for saucepans and stockpots every time it rained. I went back to the empty house once, in between the time when we moved out and the time they plowed the whole thing under. Livid patches of fungus had bloomed across the ceilings; rhizome tumbleweeds drifted over the carpets, and a fine moldy fuzz crept across the hardwood floors of the hallway and halfway up the walls. My only regret about leaving is that I wasn’t there when they razed the place: I’d have liked to piss on the rubble.

So here I was on Christmas night of 2005, with a steady drizzle was falling outside, and an inconvenient suppuration of my ceiling happening inside. Clearly, this could not stand.

There followed a long and ugly series of events—steely phone calls left unreturned, federal holidays, and a lot of profanity—all coming to a head on New Year’s Eve, when—hey!—chunks of the ceiling started falling down.

Even when a patch was at last applied to the roof, the ceiling had to dry out before it could be repaired. So I spent nineteen days between the visit from the roofing contractor and the arrival of the painting contractor, staring at this:

It became surreal. It was like one of those venereal-horror photographs that occasionally enliven the pages of D’s medical texts. I was supposed to be writing a magazine piece, and my office was turning into a Cronenberg movie. It was, to say the least, a tad distracting.

But that is, as I said, only part of the reason I haven’t been working much—and probably the least important part. The real, big bad sonofabitch that’s standing on my chest and grinding a heel into my nuts is Resistance. Here’s something I read the other day that hit me like a bomb:

What does Resistance feel like?

First, unhappiness. We feel like hell. A low-grade misery pervades everything. We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t pinpoint the source. We want to go back to bed; we want to get up an party. We feel unloved and unlovable. We’re disgusted. We hate our lives. We hate ourselves.

The War of Art, Pressfield calls it, with apologies to Sun-Tzu. And to win the war, first you’ve got to realize that you’re in a war.

Well, it’s on, motherfucker. Lock and load.

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