Days 18 and 19
Well we’ve only got a few more days left here at artist camp and I’ve pretty much burned every bridge in Evantarctica so I’ve been working like a madman just like I said I would, the past two days I’ve been writing with the speed of John Wall and the strength of Nene (super excited about the trade!!!!!! I didn’t know Brazilian people could be black) and it’s been especially productive since there’s basically been a giant cargo plane full of ideas flying overhead every morning to drop ideas into my studio. I wish they’d drop some meat too but I guess even with figurative planes there’s a chance the meat could go figuratively rancid so it’s safer to just drop the ideas which don’t spoil unless you don’t write them down.
The WEIRD thing though is that yesterday when I was writing I heard a knock on my door and I kinda groaned because I was totally in the zone, I was like waist-deep in zone, but I answered anyway because no matter how annoyed I am I still feel like I should be polite especially with these clueless artists who have no sense of decorum and don’t even know how to interact in regular society like normal human beings. So I answered the door like I said and Laurel was standing there like a knot on a stump and she asked if I was okay, and I was like Yeah why?
LAUREL: Seemed like you weren’t feeling so hot yesterday…
ME: Yeah I went a little overboard in Great Barrington the other night but don’t worry I feel great now, I just had a little dangover.
LAUREL: What? Didn’t you drive home that night?
ME: YES and it was fine it’s not like a bear or moose or anything cool is gonna jump out around here anyway, only squirrels and dead skunks. I was just kinda sleepy but I made it home fine, thanks. Well back to work!
LAUREL: Wait, I thought you didn’t drink—
ME: ARGH! I don’t, I just had a little too much dairy, don’t worry I know my limits I was just in kind of a weird place and wanted to take my mind off things with a few pints. (off look) OF ICE CREAM. Also an entire pizza. Now can I please get back to work? The Next Great American Screenplay isn’t gonna write itself unless I give it sentience and little robotic arms and hand it a pen but even then it would either be REwriting itself or writing ON itself, either way it’s not really—
LAUREL: Got it. Just wanted to make sure you were alright.
Then I shut the door in her puzzled little face because I’m not here to make friends, Diary, if that were the case I’d have signed up for Friendship Camp instead of Artist Camp and frankly Friendship Camp sounds like the kinda camp that only kids who get beat up go to. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a camp like that, not for all the ice cream and pizza and books in the world okay maybe for all that stuff but just for ONE summer and only if none of my friends from home ever found out about it because then they’d pummel me for sure. “Friendship Camp?” (PUNCH.) Like that, over and over.
The script I’m working on is actually about a guy who’s stuck in his hometown in his parents’ house and it’s about his struggle to get out of the town and then he meets a girl and whoa nelly that’s when his plans go real pear-shaped because now he’s not even sure if he wants to leave all the sudden, but if you compare it to Garden State I promise you Diary I will toss you in the next bonfire Lennon starts outside. My movie is much less quirky than Garden State and not even really about the same things and the girl isn’t a manic pixie dream girl and The Shins won’t be on the soundtrack and I’m picturing Emile Hirsch as the lead (totally underrated, Diary!!!!), not WACK Braff which is what I call Zach Braff since he’s so incredibly wack, in case it wasn’t obvious. Anywho the script is coming along real nice, there are going to be parts where you laugh and parts where you cry and parts where you’re scared and parts where you feel a little warm inside like you just ate soup too fast.
The other weird thing that happened happened tonight when I was eating dinner alone in my studio so I could keep writing and not be pestered by nosy or chatty artists. The dinner was no good of course, it was Brussels sprouts (SICK), cauliflower (SNOOZE), and something called keen-wah (WHAT?) which is basically bootleg couscous which was already bootleg rice!!!! I don’t even wanna know what bootleg keen-wah looks like, Diary, I hope I’m gone before they serve that one. I am a man not a rabbit and an anemic one at that so I can’t subsist on all these lousy vegetables and grains, if I could I’d join a co-op with the rest of the hippies and skeans (guys who wear skinny jeans) instead of eating at Five Guys every other day in baggy Levis like a true American.
So I was eating in my studio and I looked over and all the sudden Jason was sitting next to me, I was like What the heck the door is shut how did you even get in here I haven’t seen you since the séance WHAT’S HAPPENING ARE YOU A GHOST FOR REAL????? He told me to calm down and follow him so I did, out of my studio and the house and into the woods and in retrospect Diary this seems like an excellent way to get murdered given the crazy strong drifter vibe that Jason gives off, but I was kind of in shock that he was even speaking to me so I wasn’t exactly thinking clear, my brain felt like cotton candy. So we went out to the woods and I gagged a little when I looked up at the moon because it always reminds me of cheese and it was very cold out but Jason had a little campsite set up and he threw some MEAT on the fire (!!!!!) and proceeded to lay down some knowledge which I picked up almost as hungrily as I did the steaks.
JASON: Writing’s a lonely endeavor—would you agree?
ME: Well yeah unless you collaborate but given how terrible and temperamental most writers are it’s probably safer to just work by yourself.
JASON: Writing is lonely, but that doesn’t mean writers have to be lonely.
ME: But you’re the biggest lone wolf of them all, nobody hardly ever sees you. Wait is this where you’ve been all this time? It’s freezing and this place is crawling with ticks, your life must be one big brunch with death—
JASON: I move around a lot.* But you don’t want to be me, Evan.
ME: Why not? You’re totally independent and cool and you seem to have a limitless supply of succulent meats, being you is sounding pretty good right about now.
JASON: I’m glad you like the moose. Killed it myself.
ME: (pees pants a little—A LITTLE, Diary)
JASON: Yeah, I’m self-sufficient. Tough. Virile. I’m also miserable.
ME: HOW CAN YOU BE THOSE FIRST THREE THINGS AND ALSO THAT LAST THING?
JASON: Sure, I’ve got the cool, brooding thing going on, and I’m a total mystery, right down to my ethnicity and genre—
ME: Filipino prose-poet?
JASON: Wrong on both counts.
JASON: Despite what TV and movies would have us believe, being a brooding loner isn’t fun, Evan. I wish I could let people in. Make connections. But I’ve seen too much… Been burned too many times…
ME: I know what you mean. Laurel stole my diary, and Heather totally reamed me.
JASON: (sighs) I’m talking about real trag— Nevermind. Listen, it’s not too late for you. You’re young, full of spirit. There are people who care about you. You should return the favor. So you don’t wind up a husk. Like me.
ME: Well I definitely don’t want to be sticking out of an elephant’s face, I’ll tell you that much.
JASON: I can’t take much more of this conversation. I’m trying to tell you to patch things up with Laurel. And Heather. And whoever else you give a rat’s ass about around here. Our calling is lonely enough without our personal lives being just as solitary.
ME: Are you asking to be my friend? Is this some kinda cry for help?
JASON: Jesus chr— No. Just get out of here, would you?
ME: Uh… Can I—
JASON: Go ahead, take the steak. And don’t bother telling anyone about this campsite. By morning I’ll have moved it.
ME: Okay. Well thanks for the meat-and-speak. Lemme know if you wanna be friends.
JASON: (shakes head)
That’s when I got up and went back to the house, Diary. I wish if Jason wanted to be friends so bad he would just come right out and say it but I guess you can’t force a guy like that to do anything he doesn’t wanna do. Maybe he’ll come out of his shell at the studio crawl which is just TWO DAYS AWAY and which is a thing where everyone visits each other’s studios to see what they’ve been working on all this time. I don’t know if there’s any actual crawling involved but given how much these people like to drink I wouldn’t be surprised one bit, I just hope they’re not too drunk to explain their poems to us because we all know nobody can tell what the heck a poem is about unless the author tells us flat out, poetry’s as dense and condescending as French. Anywho I’ve just finished scarfing down this delicious moose steak so I’m gonna hit the hay and hopefully dream up lots of great big ideas for my script because I want to blow everyone’s minds at the crawl and make them feel foolish for ever doubting my writerly, friendly, and romantic prowesses.
Thanks for listening, goodnight Diary.
Evan Allgood's work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Millions, LA Review of Books, The Toast, and The Billfold. He lives in Brooklyn and contributes regularly to Paste. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on Twitter @evoooooooooooo.