17 April 2007

Will Work For...?

Mentioning Ben Weasel reminded me that J Whoa Oh played his/Screeching Weasel's song "Friends Are Getting Famous" on our podcast, which in turn reminded me that while few of my friends (apart from Dr. Frank, maybe) are getting all that famous these days, lots of them are becoming incrementally successful, or at least keeping busy doing cool and productive things.

Which in turn reminded me that while I've been thinking and talking and even occasionally fretting about "getting serious," "getting busy," or just "getting down to work" for at least a year or two, I still haven't done all that much about it. I got hectored a bit about that on Jonnie's show, when I had to field questions about what had ever become of the memoir that I spent a couple years writing and a couple more years hyping and talking about.

I had to confess that it's been gathering dust under my bed - a series of beds, actually, as I've been moving around a bit - and that I hadn't done anything with it since 2005, when, after a couple of rejections from agents who'd come highly recommended, I reluctantly started out to completely rewrite the thing and gave up after slogging through a page or two of it. I don't think I've looked at it since, except when packing it into a box preparatory to moving to New York. I randomly opened it somewhere in the middle, read a few sentences, shuddered ever so slightly, and tossed it back in the box.

I don't think it's as badly written as it seems to me now, just as I don't think it's nearly as good as I thought while actually writing it, but in any event I don't think it's good enough to publish as is. And I can't help feeling that by the time I do get around to reworking it, all the events it covers will have been done to death. Some of them - the 60s, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage delinquency, etc., already have been, while others, like Green Day, Operation Ivy, the East Bay/Gilman scene are already in the pipeline. Just the other day I spent three hours being interviewed for yet another book that purports to tell the whole story of Bay Area punk rock, with special emphasis on the East Bay.

And this is being done by a guy who wasn't even there! But there or not, he knows his stuff; when he told me some of the people he was contacting, and quizzed me about events that I'd forgotten or never heard of, I had to admit he'd probably do a far better job of it than I could. Not least because of my habit of only writing about things I'm personally interested in, which doesn't make for the most balanced of overviews.

With my longterm plans to write the definitive story of the East Bay punk scene, let alone the latter half of the 20th century as lived by me seemingly now in tatters, I suppose it's time to think about other forms of useful work I might do. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have much of a résumé, and few visibly marketable skills. Writing kind of drives me up the wall, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that I don't know how to do much else.

So if any of you have any suggestions or leads as to where I might take it from here, have away with them. It doesn't have to be anything high class or epoch-making, just some opportunities to arrange words on a page with a reasonable prospect of getting paid for it. As someone who's been writing in one form or another since the 1950s, it may be a bit late in the game to try turning pro, but hey, I could use the work, and it would least give me something to say when nosy New Yorkers start every conversation with, "So, what do you do?" "Nothing" just isn't working for me anymore.

1 comment:

Jersey Beat said...

um.... start a record label?