Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1st chapter of a novel I'm thinking of writing

In order to increase internet search engine optimization, I want to inform you that I did not get help on this from Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, President Barack Obama, anyone from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, or cum guzzling sluts.

I already hate this novel. Usually, I have to finish the entire draft before I can't stand it. It's nice to see that I've matured.

I'm a sad person. I don't have many friends, I'm a thirty-year-old virgin, I have a massive ego, and my greatest achievement in life thus far is that I kind of helped write content for a college website.

For me, "success" is unbridled admiration from one's peers and the ability for one's art to withstand the test of time. As a result, I won't really know how successful I've been until after I've been dead for a hundred years. And I have the terrible suspicion that one hundred years after I am dead, I will not only be dead, I will also be disappointed. But seeing as how I am a 30 year old virgin, being dead and disappointed is already kind of the status quo.

I want success. I want fame. I want recognition. I want money. I want a meaningful relationship. I thought if I did what I was told in school, these things would follow. Moreover, I thought that if I treated people nicely, these things would follow. Now, I am not so sure.

I've been working at stand-up comedy now for two years, and I am disappointed that I am not a genius at it. Even if I manage to get good enough to do it for a living--even if I eventually win the Mark Twain award for humor, I won't be known as that "genius" who came along and was instantly good. This depresses me further.

The more I do stand-up, the less sure I am of anything. Whether or not I am funny, whether or not other people are funny, what funny is, what funny isn't, etc. I am not sure that funny is something that can be explained in words. And I'm tired of trying to find the "key" to comedy. Either you got it or you ain't, and I fear that I ain't.

And where does that leave me? I enjoy writing, telling stories, telling jokes. So I must continue to do so, even if no one laughs. Therefore, I write this novel in an effort to amuse myself (of course, my egotistical desire is that, in amusing myself, I'm able to amuse what will become a consistent and faithful fan base).

One thing I have learned from stand-up is that I have to reveal something of myself if I want to be heard. And yet, at the same time, I really want to write a novel about a space ship that vaguely resembles a dildo. So this will be an attempt to reveal within the realm of science fiction.

1

According to Jerry Seinfeld, there is a difference between stand-up comedy and "humor." I interpret this as follows: Stand-up comedy makes an audience laugh. "Humor" makes an audience say to themselves "that's funny." I am in hell right now, as I think about these kinds of quotes from famous comedians.

I wake up in the morning and do the following:
*rock back and forth in my bed and hum the theme to Star Trek
*Brush my teeth.
*Feel guilty about not flossing.
*Write one page of stream of consciousness in which, for the last six years, the phrase "as for the rest of my lifetime program, give me more of the same." That's a quote from a song from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," and I'm not sure what it means. Nevertheless, it pops up in this stream of consciousness writing, and may well be the key to my insanity.
*Cry occasionally, and then congratulate myself on the fact that I am emotionally available--though does it count if you're all by yourself?
*Go to work.

I work at the kind of place where one email from a person forty states away can destroy an entire day. My co-workers, normal human beings who are slowly being driven insane by the corporation in which they work, are decent people who attempt to balance unfathomable suffering and loss with doing something nice over the weekend.

Just re-reading the past few paragraphs. I'm not impressed. Woody Allen would have banged out about fifteen one-liners by now. But onward.

This daily routine has gone on now for about two years. While I do not like surprises and excitement, I often fantasize that, like Bilbo Baggins, I am just about to go on a tremendous adventure.

Speaking of Bilbo Baggins, that's pretty much who I am. A crotchety old man in a crotchety young man's body. I think I'm also a lot like Snarf from "Thundercats,"

Hang on a minute--I'm just trying to figure out how to artfully get the plot moving. Everything at this point feels contrived, so I'm just going to get to it.

A large star ship, which looked a lot like your generic dildo, was hovering over my apartment. I had just come back from dinner at the local Japanese restaurant, where I had eaten a bowl of Chicken Terryaki. I have no idea why I included that bit about the Japanese restaurant into the narrative--but it does remind me of a story I wrote in elementary school in which a family went on a journey around the world to track down a falling star. But at each destination, the entire family would stop to eat at a restaurant. And I would go into detail about what kind of food they ate. It would be like Luke Skywalker stopping for Brazilian food on the way to the Degobah System and writing a review of it on Yelp.

At any rate, as I was opening the door to my apartment, sensing an unpleasant bowl movement in the near future, I noticed the ship hovering above me. It did not make a sound, and looked to be the size of five or six city blocks. And, as I said, it looked like a dildo. I could go more in depth as to the color, texture, and what have you, but honestly, who gives a shit. You know what a dildo looks like and whatever ship you see in your imagination is going to be much more interesting than my version. And I'm not a huge fan of overly descriptive passages in novels. I'm also not a huge fan of writers who go on tangents--well, that's a lie. If the tangent is interesting and/or funny, I'll go along for the ride. But I digress.

Back to the ship. I often wondered how I would actually react to this kind of a thing. I had assumed that it would be with shock, and that I would freeze and not know what to do. That's about what happened.

There was a flash of light, and I was standing in a large, spherical room. A guy, wearing all plaid, was standing at a computer terminal--also plaid. He pressed a light on the terminal.

"We have him," he said.

"Excellent. Bring him to the Gazebo," a voice responded.

"Come with me," the man in plaid ordered me.

"Do I need an attorney?" I asked, knowing that my parents would be proud of me for taking care of the legal ramifications at the top of any mess.

"You are not in trouble. Quite the contrary. You have been chosen."

"For what?"

"It would be best if we went to the Gazebo. I should add that my name is Jack. Jack Barista."

"Jack Barista," I said, instantly forgetting his name. I have trouble remembering names because I'm too freaked out with the social interaction to function. Being instantly transported to a giant dildo had only exacerbated the social anxiety.

Jack Barista led me out of the room, into a corridor. It was at this point that I realized that every surface of this ship was, essentially, a touch screen. My shoulder brushed along one of the walls, and the entire corridor was instantly covered in advertisements for shoulder pads.

We entered a larger spherical room in which five or six other men (all wearing plaid) were pressing buttons on the walls. One of the guys was typing with his hands while pressing buttons on the floor with his feet.
Jack brought me up to one of the men, whose plaid consisted of four gold stripes.

"This is Captain Roger Portfolio Manager."

"Hello," the Captain said. "Your assistance is required."

"Are you talking to me, because if you guys, who have probably conquered both the speed of light and time travel, require my assistance, you're probably screwed." I replied, in an attempt to be funny. The attempt failed.

"We will explain to you later why we have brought you here. Know, though, that you are safe, and that we shall not lie to you."

Excellent, I thought to myself. Now I knew for sure that I was not safe and that they were lying to me. My mother has taught me well.

"What you must know now is that we have left the earth's orbit, and are returning to the 51st century."

"I didn't feel a thing. Is this ship a Lexus?" Another attempt to be funny that failed.

"Jack Barista will take you to your living quarters. Obama willing, we shall survive what is yet to come."

"Can I at least ask why this room is called a 'Gazebo?'"

"Why wouldn't it be called a gazebo?" the captain shrugged. As he shrugged, advertisements for wikipedia appeared all over the room.

"Shouldn't it be called a 'bridge?'"

"Why would we call it a bridge?

"Good question."

Barista wrangled me out of the Gazebo. As we walked down another corridor, other crewmen (yes, all wearing plaid) passed us.

"So is the captain also a portfolio manager?" I asked.

"That's his last name. At some point in the past, one of his ancestors was probably a portfolio manager."

"And one of your ancestors was a Barista?"

"That is correct. Legend has it that my ancestor once worked an entire shift in a downtown Los Angeles Starbucks during the morning rush by himself."

"Wow. You come from royal stock."

I was deposited in my quarters and instructed how to use the food dispenser and the toilet. I got the sense that Barista didn't want to talk long, as evidenced by his leaving the room as soon as possible.

The shock was beginning to wear off. I was terrified. I started to cry--but of course, I encountered the usual throat tension that I worked so hard to release in drama school. So in order to finish crying, I had to think about that scene from the movie Contact where Ellie talks to her "father," the latter of whom was actually an alien using the image of said father as a medium. Her father had died when she was younger, and--I feel awkward explaining the plot of this movie. Go to IMDB and read the synopsis.

2 comments:

  1. you are a younger David Sedaris. Keep writing essays. You're fucking brilliant.

    ....so at least you're fucking something..? ;)

    ReplyDelete