How to Paint Your Spirit Animal

I went to a painting class called Paint Your Pet. I can't paint. I have a pet. The way it goes, you send in a photo of your pet beforehand, and then someone sketches the outline of your pet, and then you show up for the painting class. That way, your pet doesn't look like an alien blob. We were instructed to paint the background first. I did mine: blue and green. Then I looked around and saw that almost everyone else had a blue and green background. Initially, I'd wanted to paint the background jet black, but I hadn't. Now I was sorry. Then it was time to paint the body. So I painted part of the dog's body black. (The dog isn't black.) I didn't like that. Now I had a boring background and a black dog. So I took a bunch of black paint and a bunch of red paint, and I swirled them together, and I painted everything on the canvas other than the dog's eyes, and nose, and tongue this color. At some point, the instructor came by and indicated that what I had done was wrong. I got the sense that he thought what I had done was bad. He didn't like what I had done, I surmised. So I told him something like this is where I was going, so I was going to go there. He didn't really say anything, or maybe he said something; I don't remember. It seemed like I had to wait forever to do the eyes, and the nose, and the tongue, but when I did them, I made the dog have crazy red eyes, and a swirly orange noise, and a weirdly pink tongue. By now, the instructor was avoiding me. Everyone else had followed the directions. I guess they had taken the assignment of painting your pet literally. They had nice looking paintings, but I was unaware what it was they were trying to represent. Sometimes in my fiction, a crazed black dog with wild eyes and a lolling tongue will present itself, and I guess that's what I was trying to paint. I was trying to be creative. I think I succeeded.

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Reign of Productivity Terror Advances Unabated

I don't know anything about this book other than that I like the cover.

I don't know anything about this book other than that I like the cover.

Yesterday, I worked productively on the next work of fiction I'll be selling online.

Today, I was, unbelievably, productive again.

With two days of productivity in a row, one might long to believe anything is possible.

BUT IS IT??

Wednesday will reveal if this madness can be sustained.

I'm up to about 3,000 words, I think.

What I Did This Time

  1. I was more rigid in my scheduling
  2. I wrote in the morning
  3. I pretended someone was channeling words through me
  4. I tolerated the voices saying it was awful
  5. Afterwards, I went to Pilates

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The End of Failure

After three reports of failure (one, two, three), I was finally able to stop failing and start working on the next short story that I'll be selling online.

How I Stopped Being an Idiot and Started Being Productive

  1. I read the last short story I sold online, THE TUMOR
  2. I checked my Gumroad sales on THE TUMOR (114 sales, $663.50 revenue)
  3. I read "Joe Gould's Teeth" by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker ("We all spend our lives chasing into darkness.")
  4. I looked at the drafts of other stories I'd started and not finished (one we'll call S, one we'll call H, one we'll call P)
  5. I emailed Lydia Netzer ("It is ASTONISHING how talented I am.")
  6. I walked the dog (it was raining)
  7. I listed three qualities of THE TUMOR ("scary, smart, surreal")
  8. I added seven more ("disconcerting, weird, uncomfortable-making, troubling, twistedly delightful, original, naughty")
  9. I thought about how when cats are preparing to jump, they dance their paws in place really fast before taking off (see: Supercat)
  10. I wrote a list of the stories that I had worked on and what was wrong with them ("too stiff," "one joke like 'SNL' skit," "no, gross")
  11. I read "The Really Big One" by Kathryn Schulz in the New Yorker ("Then the wave will arrive, and the real destruction will begin.")
  12. I watched "Ex Machina"
  13. I went to bed
  14. The following morning, I listed the options of the different stories that I could work on and decided on P ("interested me bc seemed something new")
  15. At 8:41 AM, I opened the document that contained P and began working on it
  16. I was listening to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Some Kind of Ghost" ("Pain, they say every name got a page")
  17. By the end of the day, I had a 2,010-word working draft (the finished draft will likely be between 7,500 and 10,000 words, which I ambitiously would like to have completed by this Friday, July 31)

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Pilates

I've been getting more into Pilates lately and have been seeing and feeling a difference which is cool. At home, I sometimes do this Pilates DVD with Brooke Siler. You don't need any special equipment for it, and the fact that she's built like a stalk of asparagus is inspiring.

Buy THE TUMOR! "This is one of the weirdest, smartest, most disturbing things you will read this year."