Originally published on Ale81inn.com on 18 Sept. 2018
Here’s a bit from his more lucid days.
Sometimes the question arises “How do you write?” It’s not for everyone, but I like this man’s advice. It worked reasonably well for him. You are sorely missed, Mark E.
Mark drew his inspiration from amphetamines and the bottle. It only took 60 years, but it killed him. We always knew it would and I think so did he. And I think he didn’t care because he was too busy living. Look what he did with 40 of those 60 years.
That was Mark’s secret. Not the pints, not the pills. Those were only ingredients. Mark lived his art. Most of us are afraid to do this, or even try. Count myself of those numbers.
I have spent most of my life wearing foreign garb, going in places where I did not belong. Part of the whole game, but always on the periphery; always holding the rail and ready to jump. I had to nearly die to confront living, causing me to embrace a new philosophy: believe your life.
I have always been a writer, but my epiphany arrived late. It was suppressed, delayed, for what purpose not mine to know. A lifetime of creativity sublimated is released, yours to suffer if you dare. Following is a brief excerpt from my novel. It is from the mind of one of the chief protagonists of the story, Swede Larsson:
Swede took another hit as it was passed back to him. “Well, Grand Rapids originally, but I been all over.” After he said this he thought about it. Home. That was a long way from here. In miles and in time. The last time he had been home was about ten years ago. Not his home town, but home. As both a place and an idea it was alien to him now.
Swede was still a young man, though older than his current company. Just a few short months shy of his 26th birthday. No one would ever guess; he didn’t look a day older than 20, as if there was that much of a difference. Ten years of shit jobs, irregular gigs, bouncing from place to place. He’d been to California twice. Up the coast to Seattle. Chicago. Actually had a fairly steady gig there for a while until their lead guitarist croaked it on a heroin overdose. Played a lot in Detroit, but nothing steady. He had always ended up back in Michigan, but when he left this time he was resolved to never going back there.
He knew he was a good, no, not good, a great drummer. But somehow it never quite came together. Besides washing dishes or cutting grass, though, he really didn’t know how to do anything else. Never really wanted to do anything else. Whatever day job he had ever had when someone asked him what he did the answer sprang to his lips quite naturally: I am a drummer.
It’s me. It’s my moment. I am a writer. No more convoluted explanations. It’s what I do, it’s who I am. It’s the answer without qualification.
Gazette and Pencilneck give it another go. Or not…
It had been some time since she had seen him in person. She had, of course, maintained an interest in his activities. Though he had gone relatively quiet for a time, there remained an ample collection of press conference and hearing appearances from which to observe. In recent months these had increased markedly in volume, again piquing her interest in the man who had so eagerly indulged her penetration fantasies. He still looked mostly the same, though there was something different. He still presented a comical stick figure profile with those buggy eyes and bad haircut, yet there seemed to be a new confidence in him. It was almost as if he had actually grown a spine.
Though he had still called upon her periodically, the intimacy they had once shared was absent. For a brief time she had actually considered that dear Pencilneck had grown a set and gone the way of MGTOW. "Nah! Too beta for that!", she had checked herself. Being the same self-centered bitch as ever she returned to form, assuring herself that the Pencilneck's renewed frequency in the spotlight could only be a signal that he would soon return to grovel for her help. And it was indeed true; he clearly had waded out into waters well over his head. It was only a matter of time before he came crawling back. Like all the rest of her desperate suitors. They always did.
After viewing his pathetic performance on Sunday 13 October she found herself in a quandary. This latest intrigue he had launched largely on his own. He certainly had not consulted her expertise in these matters. The entire escapade was amateurish from it's inception. Even the most absolutely moronic soul in DC could see this. If only he had asked for her help before, but now? She dreaded the call. Not because of what she knew she must say, rather because of her immensely conflicted feelings.
She was at once drawn to him and repulsed by him. Drawn to his vulnerability. Vulnerability has been Gazette's lifeblood throughout her long and storied career. These are the souls she has preyed upon and made her own for an age. She runs the cool kids club. This vulnerability, however, was born of the man's own arrogance and stupidity. It was a sign of weakness and he wore it well. He now reeked of desperation and failure, two qualities which Gazette had long striven to distance herself from. She found an uncommon need to chastise herself, contrary as it is to her vain nature.
Though the Pencilneck could mouth all the correct platitudes by rote, he really never belonged in their club. He wasn't as smart, he wasn't really good looking at all. Not even interesting looking (which usually will suffice for entry). And most of all…..well, no matter how much lipstick you put on the pig, he just isn't cool enough to be in the club. Cool enough is that certain je ne sais quoi that only Gazette and those of her innermost circle may define. You know. The sort of things beyond mere plebeian comprehension. She could see where it might be said that she was to blame for this: it was her fault for introducing him into the cool kids club. From this he had formed the delusion that he was capable of pulling this off on his own. It was almost sweet in a way. It was like he was trying to show off for her. Oh, would that it should not turn so tragic!
The reality of it was that he was now toxic. He might remain a source for some juicy leaks, but that would have to stay behind the curtain. He would, at least for a time, remain a tool. Just as he had always been. He came at a time when she was at her low ebb, giving up that booty to manifest her rage at being rejected. Used him up like a tampon.
Studying that video carefully Gazette noted one detail that allowed her a moment of relief for the poor sap. In addition to an apparent spinal implant it became evident that Pencilneck had undergone some work of a cosmetic nature. That previously missed, subtle change in his appearance was about his mouth. A lip job, one supposes to say. It seems he's had them molded in a perpetually pursed shape and….if one looks very carefully it will be noted that the inside of the lips have been tattooed with the caption: Caution- large brown logs entering and exiting roadway at this point. He may be nothing but a tool, but there is something to be said for him embracing it.