Hi Wonderful one, How are you doing, for real? Are your days long and oozy or are you a disciplined person who wakes, works and stacks zooms, adjusting brilliantly to plague times? These are dispiriting times. I hope you’re finding bits of joy and that you are safe and healthy. I hope you are finding a reason to get out of bed and make your art. It’s a new year. Can you believe this shit?
Writing feels hard and ugly. Okay, true, writing has felt this way for months. In a desperate attempt to write again, I thought I’d try this Substack deal, even though I’m not sure it will work out for us. I’m suspicious of individualist-porn: business models that claim they’re not a business publishing writing without being publishers. I worry that it could be a gateway drug where rich companies (like Uber and Lyft) convince people they are merely an app “doing important work” and that work is to not give employees bargaining power, sick pay or a living wage. I read that Substack pays certain high profile writers but it sets up an influencer model where lots of lesser known, intelligent writers won’t thrive, but popular celebs probably will. I digress, but honestly, I will always detour into labor issues. It’s my thing.
I should tell you I am in Los Angeles. We are getting hammered by covid right now. A neon orange fire illusion snaps on my TV screen, licking the night. Sirens blare in the distance. Ambulances flash their lights and ambulances cluster the street. I’m sitting on a black couch that’s shiny and shabby, where, in the time before, writing happened. The girl downstairs has a laugh so wild and unselfconscious, I want to bottle it. I think it may be the thing to save us all.
A couple days ago, a juvenile opossum crawled under a silver Prius that belongs to the girl downstairs, and it died. I figured it was on me to remove the little guy because I manage the building and it was the weekend, so I grabbed those horrible scented garbage bags and a dust bin. It was just out of reach, so I chickened out and called the dead animal removal place also known as the sanitation department. Their claim to fame is they remove dead animals within 24 hours.
Sanitation dead animal removal guy woke me up this morning and asked for directions to the opossum. I pulled on my white sweatshirt that says “Fauci” in letters exactly like “Gucci” and ran outside to unlock the gate. The masked man (a kid, really) with a shovel leaned against a van. We looked under all of the cars but the opossum was gone. “Better for me,” he said and drove away. You may think he played dead, but he was there for days. And I’m no opossum stealer, but I have my suspicions about the girl downstairs. When the opossum of my soul wriggles free from the hiding place where my writing used to live, I hope I will be brave enough to carry its bones home.