I went to a writing group. I'm ashamed of myself. I really didn't want to go, but I'm suddenly in San Francisco and I don't know anybody. The lure of boredom and meeting people with similar interests proved to be too powerful and my hatred of 'groups' was destroyed. For exactly one hour.
I went with a friend of mine. His name is Kevin. It was at a place in the Haight called "Cook's Crepes!" or something like that. It was a Crepe joint. I've never eaten a crepe and still havent. I wasn't feeilng good that night, I had the beginnings of a cold, scratchy throat, nose troubles headache. On the ride over to the Crepe place I told my friend Kevin. "I'm probably going to lose my voice at some point." I never did but I came really really close. Doesn't matter.
Anyway, I believe dumb things like "tea will cure me." So I go to the counter at the Crepe joint, which is actually a beautiful little shop. A coffee shop, that sells crepes, that sells beer, that sells tea. I was impressed with the place. Coffee shops are big out here. I'm in one now actually. But there's always a mass of people inhabiting them and mooching the free wireless connections. It was a happening little place that sold crepes and tea. Tea. I need tea.
I go to the counter and I order tea, fully expectinng to be handed a cup with some tea in it, maybe a tea bag. Probably not. Probably just a cup of brown liquid that I foolishly think will cure me of my sickness before I sit down with this writing group so that I may be attentive and interesting and impressed with how wrong I was about the idea of writing groups. I'm given a science experiment by the man behind the counter.
There's a cup. There's a copper kettle. There's a little screening device. There's a weirdo spoon. It takes two fucking trips to cary to my table on the other side of the store. The kettle is steaming and burning my fucking hand. My throat is scratchy and I'm coughing and my eyes are bloodshot and what the fuck is a crepe?
Not happy. I get back to the table and I start to build my little tea pyramid. Cup, screener, spoon thing. I take the copper pot and start pouring the water over the spoon thing, through the screener and into the cup. I'm fuzzy on what happens next. I sort of become transfixed on the screener. The screener is there to catch the little bits of tea that live in the pot. I'm so concentrated on doing this correctly, and making sure the screener catches all the tea, that I overpour the cup and spill tea all over my legs, pants, balls. Tea is hot.
And so, now. Now is when the writing group starts. Directly after I douse my crotch in hot complicated tea. "High everyone, I'm Dan. I spilled tea all over myself just a second ago" I say through a raspy scratchy wheeze of sickness. Mild laughs. There are a eight people at this table. I'm already not happy.
Some guy who I almost imediately decide that I hate starts off. "Hello. I'm Jerry McDouchebag. Welcome. To. The Writing Group!" Not exactly what he said, but he's very proud of himself for organizing a writing group. Which is to say, he's proud of himself for posting something on craigslist and then having people show up as a result. Doesn't matter. "We're going to have a thirty minute free-write" What the fuck is a free-write? Who is shackling your writing? It's a blank page and then you fill it with words, it's not a constricting process. You can do whatever the fuck you want. Watch: Yesterday, when I got done having sex with the Zebra, I went to the bank. I imediately turned into water, and fell into the time stream. I wound up on pluto. A curling iron told an ATM Machine "I like dinosaurs!" Doesnt matter. You can write anything at any time. FREE WRITE? Fuck my fucking head hurts and my throat. "Ok, lets free write"
So I spent a half an hour at a counter in a crepe joint, my balls wet with tea, scribbling with a pen and paper and the following two stories are what came of that. Afterwards people took turns reading what they had been working on, out loud. I hate this. I hate it. "Would you like to read, Dan?" "Absolutely not happening. Move on."
Some guy read a novel he was writing in the second person. It was like being trapped in a who's on first routine. You? Me? no you. Who? You. Not you, you. Me? Yes. Well, kind of you, but not really you, but still you. You. What?
Some other girl had bad tattoos and talked about Sylvia Plath until I almost started to cry.
Some other guy sat at the end of the table and his motto was clearly "I will stare at you until you concede that I am intense!"
It wasn't a good experience. Never ever go to a writing group. Never ever.
And so, for your reading enjoyment. Here are two stories that I wrote in about a half an hour while dabbing at my pants and talking to a guy sitting next to me who had a very tiny computer and was interesting.