Detonation #2 – The Six Lives Theory

Navigating Life in a Literary Minefield

Warning: Explicit language and mature themes. If you’re offended by such things, you might want to venture elsewhere.

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There’s a terrible word echoing across the thankfully not endless blacktop of life. If you slow down and poke your head out the window, you’ll hear it, day in and day out. You might even hear yourself scream it, whether consciously or unconsciously. It’s insidious. Always out there, easy to snatch from the wind and repeat without conscious thought.

Busy.

It’s the go to for thousands of authors and poets on this rotting planet, toiling away in their pit stop cafes and roadhouse lairs and squalid pits. And you know exactly what I mean. It doesn’t matter what situation you’re in, when someone, typically not desiring an actual answer roars by and asks you how you’re doing, you inevitably mumble “Good, just goddamned busy.”

Bullshit. (A word not used nearly enough in our humble opinion!)

Busy. Yeah, what else is new, everyone is fucking busy. At this stage in our evolution, it’s the norm. The word means nothing.

It’s not that we don’t get it. Everyone has a lot going on, we know that, and making the time to write can often be difficult, if not seemingly impossible, but it’s not because you’re busy.

It’s because you’re a shitty driver with no self-control, and you don’t make it a priority.

But, if you’re reading this, you’re either looking for cheap entertainment, or you desire our simple brand of… enlightenment, so hang on tight baby, we have both. 

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Here’s the true’ism we’re going to force down your miserable throat, one we’re calling The Six Lives Theory, which is sort of self-descriptive, semi-deep, and bloody obvious.

In a nutshell?

Everyone has six lives. Well, maybe not everyone. It would, in hindsight, be better to call it the Many Lives Theory or the More Than Two Lives but Less Than Eight Lives Theory, but six lives has a certain je ne sais quoito it, so we’re going with it.

So, six lives, let’s examine this for a moment though a totally fictional author named Noggy Splitfoot. Noggy is a ‘busy’ fellow, though if you ask him how he’s doing he’ll probably just shrug and go back chugging from his brown paper bag and scrawling words on the side of the cardboard box he’s living in behind his small yet opulent mansion. You see, Noggy, for all his business, haspriorities, and writing is way up there, probably close to the top. If Noggy had to make a list, it would look something like this:

Life 1: Family and/or Friends and/or Pets

Life 2: Work

Life 3: Ultra-Running

Life 4: Publishing

Life 5: Dirty Deeds Done In the Dark.

Life 6: Writing

Six separate highways that may or may not intersect with each other, roads that need to be driven day in and day out. The first couple are, of course, mandatory unless you don’t actually happen to have family, friends, pets, or work—in which case, fuck, how could you possibly be complaining about being busy, you’ve won the bloody lottery mate—but in all likelihood you’re shackled to that 2001 Pontiac Aztek you know will eventually crash and burn, leaving you a smoldering blackened marshmellow praying for a death prolonged by unaffordable health care. 

Then there are your hobbies. The sports of all sorts. Reading trash because you don’t know quality literature if it bashed your face in. Overpriced video games. Netflix and Chill with discount hookers. Travel to exotic destinations like haunted gopher hole museums and Bigfoot hunting grounds. Posting fake news and feral cat pictures on FB and Twitter. We could go on and on (and we could, trust us, we soooo could).

Publishing we just tossed in there because… well, let’s just say if anything is a time and money sinkhole, that’d be it. But everyone has one of those, a life that consumes, like a black hole, everything that comes in contact with it. Sure, it brings joy—in theory at least—but it sucks, both literally and figuratively.

Noggy’s fifth life? Let’s just say if we told you the details we’d have to kill you, and nobody will know the absolute truth until he’s dead, missing-presumed dead, and/or the sun goes cold. Intrigued? You should be. A secret life. A… sinister sounding secret life. Everyone worth more than a wooden nickel has one of these puppies whether it involves collecting vintage porn from a creepy old bastard named Lazlo, going to late night strip karaoke, or cuddling chickens in an intimate, yet shocking manner. Stuff you’d never cop to, yet there you are.

And that brings us to writing. Noggy, bless his cursed and twisted soul, needs to find time to write. Needs to make it a priority. And, even with all those lives crowding him, sideswiping him, pushing his kitted out futuristic, yet oddly retro camper van, onto the shoulder so he plows through all manner of road kill and unfortunate cyclists, he needs to put his foot on the gas and stay on course. Not in the fast lane maybe (except to pass, he’s not a savage. Usually.), but in one of the lanes that doesn’t make it too easy to take an off ramp to the Olive Garden.

So how? How can you get any goddamn work done when you have to deal with the endless stop and go? Great question.

Two words.

Zipper Merge.

You’re welcome. Look it up, learn how it works. Don’t fuck it up and you’ll be ahead of the game in no time, nudging your way to the front of the line, weaselling your way in between every other car clogging your six lane life.

Get up an hour early and write before work. Run at lunch so you free up that hour to write in the evening. Take the bus so you can write on your commute. Wedge yourself into those cracks, take advantage of every opening. Sure, you gotta be aggressive. Fearless. Willing to endure the seething hate from all the clueless drivers who never read the classic Advances in Queueing: Theory, Methods, and Open Problems by Jewgeni H. Dshalalow and, you know, actually get it. But trust us, it works and your life will never be the same again.