[VOID/Sid's] Writing. Writing about Writing. Writing about

Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Mon, 14 Jun 1999 02:17:48 -0700

So, I've never written an entry quite this self-conscious before, but
what the heck, there's always a first time... It's about half an hour
from closing time, and thanks after a double of Macallan's and a
double back to boot (hi Shima!), I'm finally making it out from under
a fairly Brownian weekend. I wonder where to start...

So this streaky brunette with fierce eyes materializes beside me, to
the degree anything is ever the color it seems to be in Sid's bloody
Tijuana brothel lighting. And, as one of her more sartiorially
distinguished compatriots puts it, "she's SOOO drunk!"

"Are you a writer?"

And from there proceeds one of the more surreal career changes I've
slipped into. I decided to answer truthfully, but without using the
letters X, M, or L... so the answers are, "Yes", "I'm a graduate
student at UCI", "No, I am published; I have 6 books out", "yeah,
it's pretty good money", and "Hey, I *like* the tall, flirty blonde

I wonder if it's possible to write a short story with one character
wearing a wire -- that is, only one half of a suitably ambiguous
conversation. Or would that be a "decorative" art a la the Chihuly
post that just horrified me -- an empty exercise in form alone? On
the other hand, every human's story is only half the story...

... or maybe it's that a giddily drunk crew from the Cheesecake
Factory with an amateur, but overenthusiastically overamped Elvis
cover guitarist all miming spreading their legs wide for a proper
OB/Gyn exam is simply beyond parody?

Perhaps walking into Sid's with a Powerbook just isn't a challenge
for the imagination: it's just too lurid as raw pigment in the first

Anyway, I was thinking of something profound, then stopped at kicking
myself I don't have a digital camera at hand, even after so many
ephemeral egregia. Experience simply isn't enough to learn from.

Nor is a fifth of Scotch something to crafty syntax after, if this
prose is any self-speaking-of-artifact.

Anyway, the point of this conversation with Miss Pierced Navel (which
may or may not be true, since, Times-like, we choose merely the most
conventional, least-entropy bit to describe our victims, this being
premillennial -- oh, cut the self-serving melodramatic shit, merely
monotonically, aggressively suburban -- Orange County), was that yes,
I was a writer, and I wrote rather creatively -- about myself, mainly.

This seems sufficiently impressive, at least when you're happy,
happy, happpy enough to approach strangers with Powerbooks to
challenge their careers (although Love Dr. Byars would take the
platform to opine on the aprhodisiac affect of bun-warming black
boxes). And, the more I thought of it, why not? I write, I get paid
to write, it's almost always heart-felt, and I'm getting sloshed on a
Sunday night -- I *must* be a professional hack, right?

Kind of a sobering bookend to dreams of dancing sugar-stocks. Quote:
"It takes $400 million today to be even as decently rich as a mere
$50 did in the 80's,"

So having promised that I kind of indulge in professional writing for
this 16,000 Web-page cocktail party called FoRK, I snapped back to my
original snapshot thought: if I don't have any garbage-in, at least I
can show off some garbage-out. So we flipped through the storyboards
for the latest mythical-VOIDpost-in-progress, TimBL's digicam shots
of the most recent FoRKcon in Toronto.

Nothing quite like explaining away a 26th floor penthouse suite on a
grad student budget :-)
(Hi Josh!)

Blowtorches always attract an audience. Why don't I just learn to
keep one @hand@alltimes?

Anyhow, it's 2AM, and my enthusiasm for recapping the whole sequelae
with the lissiom blonde collections agent is waning. I'll leave it at
this: Tim "Bunsen" Berners-Lee has two more groupies, if he'd just
ever make it out to our workshop on Internet-Scale Naming this

I was talking to our house artiste on his way out the door, and he
was asking how I was doing, about the lady I had over the last time,
and I said we'd parted ways on the best of terms, but it still hurt
quite deeply. He countered with the face he'd just separated from his
wife and three year old daughter two months ago. A twee bit more
serious to say the least.

But it was interesting to hear what'd make folks happiest. I told him
about my dilemma with telling the two ladies I was a writer tonight,
but, as he prompted, I do make some decent money writing. I wouldn't
be printing 4K business cards without it!

"The key thing is, man, you gotta be secure".

"Well, security is a state of mind. A grad student, a thousand bucks, hey..."

"Yeah twelve or fifteen, and I'd be set".

Kind of puts making $5 an hour one day and $500 the next in perspective.

Namely, life is random. I want to go see the total solar eclipse on
August 11 in India.

Thread changes are random, too. I learned that this weekend with my
folks. Finally stepping back a bit -- though still massively
affectively involved in fighting back -- I can see that the roots of
my own abruptness. In the ballet of family life: there are no
transitions in our home. Any topic, any fragment, call it a Jeopardy
category, and it'd be easier to react. I also see the roots of my
stoicism in her tempestuousness, my rush to certainty in their
repetition, and my rules-seeking in their relativism, my assuredness
amidst their scarcity. I am finally seeing myself as I must once have
been buffeted, and my parents today as actors quite separate from the
mythically distant ur-parents whose approval I wish for.

Actually, more than the eclipse, I want to run away, to see if the
world I've put myself at the center of truly falls. In a bid for a
little rational humility, maybe I just need to see that FoRK, the
workshop, the department, the IETF, that these will all manage to
somehow stay intact, nay, thrive even without my daily angst. I need
to run away, to do something completely on my own, as independent and
self-ish as nothing ever VOIDposted for an audience can be.

Heliocentrism is good.

Pretending to be a writer is fleeting.

Even Macallan's 12, in quantity, can sweep you to the highlands. Or
at least as far as County Kerry, Ireland.


PS. Hey, Rob, whaddya think of last week's Economist's grudging
acceptance of French financial resilience in the face of continued
structural meltdown. Think they'll surrender to the Anglo-Saxon way
in the end, ever? Or just no sooner than Adam ever slogs through
Ellul's Technological Society (*)?

(*) famed for posing 'le defi Americain'