The Dodgers have some pitching but mid-way into 2008 the manager and the coaches and the media are still wondering when the wonder kids will wake up and start realizing they’re playing for Joe Torre and not Grady Little or Jim Tracy. Torre. Guy hangs rings in his closet. Torre, the guy caught Bob Gibson, for God’s sake. Torre, manager of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and (gasp!) Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. Listen to the man.
Bowa talks about professionals being consistent. “That’s what the big leagues is all about. Have a game plan, execute, consistency, work ethic, not getting distracted. Guys who do that are the guys who succeed. Guys who don’t do that have one good game and three bad games.” Perfect. So I’m writing. Day by day.
I ran into a woman I’d worked with in the cable television business the other day at the supermarket. She shouted my name! She was a real cutie, always flirting with me and wearing low cut shirts. Man, oh man. She was stacking magazines on the racks and we caught up. I told her I was done with the corporate world. Writing, going to minor league baseball games to work for a few bucks, find a way to squeak by until the 401K money kicks in. Lay low, maybe get a book signed, published, that’s the plan, I said.
In the corporate world you get paid just to show up. Results oriented pay usually comes as bonuses, but you get paid. Sometimes some pretty damn good money. I see the names of some of my old colleagues now on Facebook but I really don’t want them around any more. I know who I need to know, who I want to know. Lots of people I never really wanted to but had to. Done with that.
Thumbed through a dozen Bukowski books last night and bought one book of poetry. His picture in the back of one of the books showed him standing in the betting room at the race track penciling in long shots on the Racing Form, alone with his horses and the windows. He drank a lot, I know, and his poetry makes no excuses. Somewhere I see he said he didn’t do much if any editing, just wrote and crossed out lines and sent them to magazines and publishers.
What kind of day-to-day technique did these guys use? Bukowski, Hemingway, Henry Miller? And these guys didn’t have computers. Long hand, Steinbeck and his long legal pads and his pencils. Every Day. ‘Journal of A Novel’, his letters to his publisher each day, his daily warm-up writing, he called it, the summoning of his powers, the stretch of creative muscle, admitting the tough going.
But how many days, how many hours did I waste in the morning in corporate conference calls, waiting for some email to tell me where to dial in, what to think about, what the topic was, listening to managers and the fearful chiming in, the hastened cries of ‘I’m here!’ coming from some cat on the freeway speeding from El Segundo to Chino with a cell phone. Mornings staring at the computer screen, waiting for my turn.
I told Grace, the woman at the market with the magazines, when she said she’d put on weight, that you’re the kind of girl who could put on a lot of weight and still be sexy and I don’t think she even heard that or she didn’t want to respond.
‘You look great!’ she told me. Yeah, I got a good hair stylist, I said. She gave me one of those side hugs, where you grab a shoulder and meet elbow to neck, something like that. Can I publish a story in one of those magazines, I’m thinking? Can I get a book on the rack somewhere, with my name on it? That’s what I want.
Little bit everyday. Have a game plan, execute, make adjustments, work ethic, don’t get distracted. I could see Bowa standing in front of me at nine o’clock in the morning. Yelling, his neck straining. Time is not infinite.