Thursday, September 2, 2010


They came from California, and Texas, and Philly--with ideas that were all over the map. The critically acclaimed and the self-acclaimed, gathered together for three days of readin', writin', and regurgitatin'.

A hundred intrepid writers...and me...there of a morbid curiosity, determined not to listen to anything with too much conviction, lest I turn stupid again and self-conscious about my work.

A haven where, for a fee, the voiceless can have their manuscripts--and womanlyscripts--poked, prodded, and given a thorough physical by an expert word surgeon who then conducts an emergency operation--first to remove the guts, then to take out the heart, then to had it back to you and say, "You can sew it up now!" (A woman beside me is quietly sobbing over her treatise...which didn't pull through the operation.)

In a workshop exercise an author tells us to write a story--in ten minutes time--based on the fable of Cain and Abel. I want to kill him for that.

So instead, I write some drivel about a slob named Frankie, who walks into the G-Spot Diner--a greasy spoon saloon--plops down on his favorite stool, hails the waitress, opens his mouth to speak and-

"TIMES UP," shouts the lecturer. "Now, who wants to read their story?"

The guest poet--who is from the School of Endless Tinkering--declares that the trouble with Ginsberg was that he didn't rewrite. If the guy had thought of it, he might have taken a few whacks at Kerouac as well.

But the best counsel came from the senior sage in attendance--who, in her ageless wisdom, solemnly addressed the assemblage after the lunch break and said, "Don't go back to the can't even VOMIT that stuff up!"

As I left, I recalled Bukowski's advice to aspiring writers: Drink...f#ck...and smoke lots of cigarettes.

Wow...and he didn't even charge for that.


  1. lol! I went to a writer's conference once. I think our food was better - lol!

  2. Wow... My vote is to take Bukowski's advice. Good advice, that. ^-^

    And for the record, I love the way you write. I love to read what you write. It's like a guilty pleasure, only without the guilt... ^-^

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog. This is great! I love going to trainings that I could teach, listening to people who have been in theory rather than practice for years. Love the last bit of advice!

  4. lol why someone who writes like you attend such a tepid ridiculous convention is beyond me...the 'writer' is just out to make a buck...Bet you could have a conference all of your own and make big bucks. and drop his last bit of nonsense, it's not humour, instead you should end with: Go Live, go write...

  5. TALON,
    That's where the "regurgitatin'" part comes in!

    You are so sweet, and I don't mind being a "guilty pleasure." (What's pleasure without some guilt attached???)

    Thanks so much...Bukowski's advice is really about living--and through living, we develop experience to write about!

    I attended this conference quite a number of years back--like in the previous CENTURY--but I thought it might be good to warn folks who've never been to one what these things might be like!

  6. G-Spot Diner....hmmm!! You ever been there Tim :)

  7. Amen to that. Most of the people who run those things wouldn't know a good piece of writing if it transformed itself into human form and walked up to them and said hello.

    Bukowski knew what he was talking about. Couldn't agree more!

  8. CINDY,
    It's one of my favorite spots! :)

    I wonder if we could base a writing seminar on Bukowski's wouldn't that be interesting?

  9. But what if you don't know what Cane and Able are?

    I can't complain about writer's workshops. Granted, I've never attended one since I'm not a writer. But a writer's program made it possible for one of my friends from France (who is a writer) to come to the US for several months, during which he came to San Francisco as part of their lecture series and we were able to spend a day together.

    So ... what did Frankie say to the waitress?!?

  10. KOBICO,
    Frankie says to the waitress: SO WHAT TIME DO YOU GET OFF?

  11. If my housemate still had his drum kit set up here, I'd do a rim shot for you.

  12. KOBICO,'ve been a lovely audience!

  13. __The only thing that really matters is that I write as I dream... and therin, is an Anthem.
    __You wonder why their stand of creativity is always, do only as we do.


  14. MAGYAR,
    The self-proclaimed experts in a highly subjective area of creativity, where only PERSONAL taste really matters! Could have something to do with making money...