Introduction and Postscript
I do love Joe Bob Briggs (joebobbriggs.com). Joe Bob reviews B movies, drive-in movies, cheap movies, bad movies, the sort of movies you probably wouldn't want your kids to see. Movies with titles like American Nightmare. His reviews always conclude with a tally of the important stuff—here’s how his review of A.N. ends:
Four breasts. Eight dead bodies. One burial alive. Corpse- beating. Grave-stabbing. Slicing. Dicing. Filleting. Multiple stab wounds. Outdoor rave bikini-dancing. Drug-induced wife-stabbing. Gratuitous shower scene. Voodoo Fu. S&M Fu…Three stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
Well, I probably won’t. Not because I don't trust Joe Bob. (Who’ya gonna believe? Joe Bob or the Netflix reviewer—read amateur—who says of the same movie, “This movie is a celluloid nightmare. Pure torture.”)
I read Joe Bob because he’s entertaining. He can write. Long ago, he penned a column in which he ruminated about writing. This is my recollection of what he said:
People come up to me and say, "Hey, Joe Bob, you're a writer, right? Got any tips for writing?” and he says, "Sure. Write every day.” And they say, "Yeah, OK. The thing is, I've got a terrific idea for a novel and I'm just trying to lick it into shape…” "Great,” he says. "Write every day.” "You don't understand,” they say. "This is a really fantastic idea. It could easily go from a bestseller to a screenplay and a major motion picture.” "Wonderful!” he says. “Write every day...”
I tell you this because I’m sometimes asked about writing. And because I write most days, not every day, I fall back on my Joe Bob story. I don't even know if it's true.
I write a lot. Mostly in coffee shops, mostly early morning, mostly in Eureka (Humboldt Bay, way up the California coast). At 6 a.m., I’m often Hasbeans’ first customer of the day, a buck for a good cuppa joe, table by the window. Right now it’s dark out, can’t see the bay. Ella sings Mister Paginini. Joanna’s making fresh coffee, Christine’s in back baking scones. Lights of a fishing boat heading out the bay. Police cruiser checking out something or someone down on Second Street. Nothing and everything.
I don’t know what consciousness is, but I write about it. I do know about travel, and write about that, too. The best advice I ever heard was, Don’t listen to my advice. Something like that, I forget.
I live in a culture where there’s this emphasis on improving our inner lives, fixing and tweaking and generally reminding ourselves that we’re not quite good enough the way we are. I'm 64 already, I'm tired of fixing myself. I could be 94 and still not be OK. I’m never going to be OK.
This is as good as it gets.
That's it. You can skip the rest.