Monday, June 23, 2008

Frank's Wild Years

Frank settled down in the Valley
and he hung his wild years on a nail that he drove through his wife's forehead
He sold used office furniture out there on San Fernando Road
and assumed a 30,000 dollar loan at fifteen and a quarter percent
put a down payment on a little two bedroom place

His wife was a spent piece of used jet trash
Made good Bloody Mary's
Kept her mouth shut most of the time
Had a little Chihuahua named Carlos
that had some kind of skin disease
and was totally blind

They had a thoroughly modern kitchen
Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit
Frank drove a little sedan
They were so happy

One night Frank was on his way home from work
He stopped at the liquor store
Picked up a couple of Mickey's Big Mouths
Drank 'em in the car, and with a Shell station
he got a gallon of gas in a can
Drove home, doused everything in the house
Torched it
Parked across the street laughing
Watching it burn
All Halloween orange and chimney red
Then Frank put on a top forty station
Got on the Hollywood Freeway
and headed North


Never could stand that dog

As a young man, I yearned to write something half as wildly brilliant as that.

After several years, however, I realised I didn’t have the talent and settled down to writing media releases that harm few.

I am indeed lucky I never attended any of the “creating writing” courses that have spread like Patterson’s Curse in recent years across Victoria, convincing the gullible that despite their withering lack of talent all they need to do is “find their inner voice”.

Bollocks.

Writing is a skill, like plumbing or taxidermy. With enough training, you can acquire the basics but without talent, you’ll never advance beyond that level.

At least talentless taxidermists have the good grace not to display their wares in public in displays of “performance taxidermy”.

17 comments:

Perseus said...

It's Tom's best album.

Here's how the RMIT Creative Writing Graduates would have done it:

frank settled down in the valley
the valley
frank's valley
The frank valley
Hegemony
he hung his wild years on
rickety hegemony
like a stapler in the ether
across my tangled forest mind
the terrible valley

A+!

They'd get an Associate Diploma then when they hit 35 they'd finally get a job at Connex.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

It's a toss-up between that and Rain Dogs.

The RMIT Creative Writing course is evil and must be stopped.

Boogeyman said...

Fess up, Perseus. That was your honours thesis, right?

WitchOne said...

My grandfather says the same thing, he wrote press releases for Holt and his boys. He joined the SEC and worked directly for the Secretary, writing the releases that kept him out of the shit too.

If writing was a talent, you'd think I'd have inherited a small part of that talent wouldn't you?

Hence we now have proof that writing is a skill.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

My granddad was a carpenter and I can't hammer a nail in straight.

Make you think.

Or not.

As the case may be.

Boogeyman said...

My granddad was a carpenter and I can't hammer a nail in straight.

Beer must come in mighty handy round Lenin House when shelves need to be put up, then.

wari lasi said...

I've said much the same since the advent of "desktop publishing". People had the technology to produce their own artwork but if you're not a naturally creative person you produce crap.

No amount of technical expertise can substitute for creative genius. One is an acquired skill, the other is a gift.

And congratulations on your belated gift Witchone.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

By a happy coincidence, the head of RMIT'S creative writing course is talking to 774's Jon Faine about something called "web blogs".

I really must see if my old ABC security pass is working so I can pop down and kill them.

Perseus said...

Fess up, Perseus. That was your honours thesis, right?

But I wrote it in duck's blood!

Actually, I did Economics at Uni. My failed thesis solved Argentina's stagflation problem but I couldn't prove my theories mathematically so I dropped out of the course.

Pft. Maths.

The best skill in life is not writing, it is marrying someone with lots and lots of money. That's my advice for the Witchlet.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

My failed thesis solved Argentina's stagflation problem

You should have presented this through the medium of modern dance, Perseus.

Boogeyman said...

Actually, I did Economics at Uni.

Ahhhh. That explains the drugs and sex in graveyards.

Perseus said...

You're possibly right there Boogey. I went into Uni fairly straight. But after three years of Macroeconomic theory (not to mention the Arts students throwing eggs at us as we came out of lectures because we supported rape in war or something) I went a whole other way.

Shame, really. I would've been better off as a high-end financier because they get the really good drugs.

Boogeyman said...

It's an age-old conundrum that faces any young man contemplating a career, Perseus.

How to take a high-paying financier job with fast cars and copious cash, without alienating the artsy goth chicks you are trying to hit on.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

any young man contemplating a career

I got into journalism in the old-fashioned way.

Failing in everything else and knowing somebody who worked in a newsroom.

homesick said...

10. Pick a cat up and turn it around so it's facing the opposite way. The look of baffled fury on their furry faces is priceless.

I got ours stoned does that count?

She lived for 14 years Boogey.. not bad for a passive smoker eh!

Boogeyman said...

Which thread are you in, Homesick?

I know Frank was a bastard to his wife and dog, but I can't believe even he'd be cruel enough to pick up a cat and turn it around to face the opposite direction - that beggars belief.

And everyone gets their pets stoned at some point.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

When I used to visit an old mate of mine, he'd be running around stoned, his mum would be running around stoned and his dog would be running around stoned.

Strange family.