1. The Drunken Space Lotus Flower Bomb Dance and Vomit-Sparkles STAGE
This is the best stage because anything goes. It’s the freest, the most spiritual, the most giddy, the most in-your-face, chaotic, naughty, and eternal! We are all stars and sparkles and trees and little purple birdies of life! (JUST GO WITH IT)
If this stage were a human interaction, it would be getting slapped and slapped by your lover, and then, enamored and enraptured again by the shroom-induced sunset colors of their eyes and skin, having make-up sex on a helipad made of Byzantine chocolate (whaaaaaaaaa?), but it’s not really chocolate, it’s melted Bronze medals from Olympians in the 1940’s who are actually robot time-travelers that just got here simply to say “sorry” for not winning us gold.
Speaking of gold, you think every moment your finger caresses a keyboard letter, it actually turns to gold on the page, not unlike communion wafers turning into bloody grace – not silver, sure as hell not loser-time-traveling robot bronze – but solid, mother, fuckin’ gold, ordained to electronically imprint that white racist page, looking at you with eyes that glow blank-white and heartless. You close them with a golden dark matter most cannot fully understand, unless of course you’re doing the drunken space lotus flower bomb dance which always ends with vomit-sparkles, which happens after each and every asana of your fingers, Praise the Lord from the heavens, Praise him from the heights above, Ommmm…The problem is (squinting) noooo one really knows what that dance is exactly (except you), but if by chance someone actually figures it out, then and only then, can the words you’ve just arranged in front of you on that screen ever be able to be stricken from all the stone tablets and all the electronic tablets and times before us, even before the farty Big Bang of Jesus.
If this stage were an image, it would be a galaxy, made out of love-sloths (every time you kiss someone, a love-sloth gets a space suit) and they’re slowly eating Pop Rocks in their space suits for all eternity, and their furry stomachs continue popping in their slothy space suits, as supernovae, over and over until all you can do is sing and fly and cry with them, but never die and always fuck anyone attractive you see on the subway on the way to work at your job as a genius and a genie who only grants wishes for more wishes, made of sparkles, and sparkles on top of sparkles…SO MANY SPARKLES! Seriously, why do you look like a sparkle!!?? (VOMIT)
2. The Evolution of Depression STAGE/S
And then, from a murky, boiling substance on the most evil of the Galapagos Islands, something begins to grow and stand-up in what seems to be a mean, unforgiving planet. Your first sign of intelligence is born; you realize that everything you just wrote actually isn’t gold, or silver, or bronze, or chocolate, or sparkles, but feces. It was Google who said that it was Hemingway who said, “The first draft of everything is shit,” but that quote was probably derived from his first draft, because it’s all wrong. He should have said something like, “The first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth draft of everything is shit, and on the 7th draft you can rest a bit because you’ll probably be at a place that is actually recognizable with common language rules and dictionaries (which are books of words people used before Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com) and just general common sense, you stupid retard.”
And, as your story evolves during all of these drafts, it just gets really, really depressing because you realize how very far, far away you are from where you once were, that feeling of having sex with your lover in space covered in chocolate and gold and dancing and sloths and delicious vomit-sparkles – all gone. If this stage were a place, it would be a desert with an oasis in the distance, and as the heat waves clear away, you see a boiling pit of shit and tears and your finite, sun-scorched humanity, and from the sun drops bottles and bottles of moldy, coagulated Sunny Delight. You see a silly snake of a creature there slithering about, and you realize that silly snake is you, rambling on and on about “OJ, the purple stuff, soda…” when really you should just K.I.S.S.S.S., Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. Silly. Snake.
If this stage were a declaration of dependence, it would be you professing your love to a man for the first time, “Hey man, I, uhh…I love you,” him saying, “hell no you sick gay fuck,” recording that phrase of “hell no you sick gay fuck” onto a vinyl record, and having a cute little Indian monkey pull a record player of that vinyl playing over and over, following you around for the rest of your life. And if you don’t give cute little Indian monkey his bananas, he takes your eyes.
He will take your eyes from your head and drop them onto the spinning record player, watching your blood on the black make all sorts of interesting “spin art” creations, later hanging them in his apartment, where your human cage of devotion sits tucked next to cute little Indian monkey’s couch, where he creepily watches you, grinning, with curry-banana drool, with Clueless – a movie you once loved when you were just a kid in America, we’re the kids in America – playing behind him on repeat on Netflix – until you hate it, until you hate everything and everyone.
3. The give it to other people STAGE
Now, in your cage, this is when you give what you’ve written to any one of your three friends or family members who actually knows how to read or, even better, who enjoys it. It’s important to separate these people into three categories, those that will tell you exactly what you want to hear, those that will provide calculated feedback, and those that are jealous of your endeavor no matter what it may be. If you must skew towards giving it more to one particular category, then go with the first group, because all their rosy feedback – that it’s a masterpiece, that you’ve always had so much talent, that this is what you’re born to do! – will give you some faux-nergy to keep going, even though you know a lot of it is really just a first draft of the truth.
The second category is probably most important, as these folks enjoy the art of writing as much as the critique of it. These are your brother, or a friend who’s an advertising executive like I once was – someone familiar with the art of lying to people and manipulating them with their own cultural insights – people who are not afraid to tell you something is ineffective or dumb as fuck and should be completely revamped if you ever want to sell your cognac to all the people who shouldn’t be drinking it.
The third group usually has a motive for their critique, one spawn out of competition – say, your friend you hardly talk to anymore who was also in your writing program, or someone who is also doing the struggling, impatient artist thing, daily hoping they’ll win the lottery before their city is covered in a wave of yet another hurricane of younger people who don’t even know what Sunny D is, a wave of kids who can do everything you can do but better. No matter what it is, there will always be a subtle bitterness that they didn’t write what you wrote, and so their advice will be the most needlessly biting, which blurs your vision of why you wrote anything in the first place, or second, or third. Their points aren’t there to help you, but rather to stall you until they can learn how to swim too. Drink with those friends; don’t share your work with them, especially when it’s this close to sinking.
4. The Cookies STAGE
This is when you smell something sweet in the kitchen, when you finally tweet, post, or submit your piece that was – hopefully past tense – once a piece of shit, when that desert transforms into dessert.
You’re happy you’re finished with those previous stages, and somehow you regain some of the magic of the first stage, but it’s now – in between all those dark letters on the screen – surrounded by the comforting egg whites of a timeless sugary wisdom – that everything you type or make is not gold, but if you work hard and also never forget your inner-drunken-space-sloth-sparkle-lotus and the people that aren’t afraid to tell you you’re being dumb, you can create something that’s worth more than an old metal medal, because you realize you hardly had that much to do with it anyway, less a cause for congratulation or fame, more a thankfulness for having had the opportunity to perform a kind of duty.
You’re simply a sock-puppet possessed by the hand of Bob Ross, floating into you from another mysterious, beautiful realm we keep trying to copy, “bend the brush, make those little leaves and branches just pop right out at ya…happy little tree …” If this stage were a dessert, it would be a cookie that you can finally eat after being tortured by the smell of the baking process in the oven for what seemed like a billion years, not only without milk, but without any hope for well-baked cookies either, just awkwardly hanging out in the kitchen. It’s as if you woke up in the middle of the night and began sleep-baking, mixing things together and not really knowing why, and while they’ve been cooking, all you’ve been doing is mopping up all the crumbs off the floor like the little monkey told you to do, but now he’s gone.
You open the oven, you grab a cookie, you put that hot cookie in your mouth, and as the hot chocolate burns your tongue-and-cheek walls, you slowly swallow a scalding satisfaction, of completion, along with your milk-less, chap-less-ass pride, and salty-white tears of pain-well-spent rolling down your chin, mixed with the mop-sweat dripping down from your stinky pits, to your lucky baking gloves you haven’t washed in years, the layer of calluses covering your typing fingers.
Admittedly I haven’t really been through all of these stages just yet for this, so don’t judge me. Don’t even look at me right now. There’s a creepy monkey behind me cruelly making spinny art with my heart,
“Quit playin’ games with my …”