The Non-Writing Yurt


It’s clear to me now- I’m no writer. The sitting still! The sustained effort! Not my strong suits.

I’m in Shaboo’s writing yurt. The gracious and generous Shaboo has let me stay here for two months to write my fictional memoir. It’s stalled out and all I do now is drink and walk in the woods.

Yes, I’m drinking. Alone. Yes, I’ve talked to Carl and Lila after my most recent assholery. They’re housesitting for me. Together. “Seriously,” you ask? Yes, it’s true. My on again/off again soul mate and my longtime college bud- my two best friends in the world- are shacking up in my house on my farm. The best part? It’s a little fuzzy, but I think it was my idea! That’s how I am when I drink. I create the conditions necessary for self-pity so I can justify my own destruction. Alcoholism 101.

Shaboo has cranked out some good stuff in this writing yurt in the Berkshires. There’s a little shower and privy outside with plumbing, the only nod to comfort or civilization. No electricity. No wifi. He writes longhand then revises as he types into a computer back in town. That fucker published two novels like that! One was about below-decks love and murder on a whaling vessel. The other was about fascist sleeper cells in the US waiting for a charismatic bamboozler to appear, get elected president and make America white again. Very sinister stuff. Shaboo, successful novelist, is the same guy who wandered campus catatonic on acid half the time, looking hard at things, staring at trees, people, rocks, then wandering off to look some more. I took acid with him once and I was like, “Let’s go holy shit to the cemetery and read the gravestones whoaaaa”. And he just looked at me then wandered off.

I’m not doing so good here in the yurt. Peanut butter, crackers and Blue Label Smirnoff is my main fare. After I won the lottery, this was my fear: grinding to a halt, fog rolling in, a destructive inertia like a resigned wildebeest stuck in the mud.

The news from the outside world can’t be good. Here are some of the words and phrases I glimpsed on newspapers the last time I went to town: Death Toll, Rampage, Police Anguish, Coup Attempt, Supreme Court, #deflategate. I tried not to look any deeper. Clearly the world is going mad. It begs the question: Why even try?

“Why even try,” I asked Shaboo the other day when he came to check on me (check on the yurt).

“You have to cooperate in your fate,” he said. “Otherwise, the symptoms appear.”

“What symptoms?”

“Drinking, chronic masturbation, eating like shit, palpitations, Shadenfreude…”

“Shay done who?”

“That’s German for taking pleasure in the failure of others.”

“That’s a symptom? I thought that’s just the way of life.”

“Not everyone feels that way.”

It looks like I got me some symptoms. The diagnosis?

“You have soul sickness. You need to care for your soul,” Shaboo said and glanced around the yurt. “Maybe a trip away…”

“Out west! Back to Colorado!”

“That sounds abrupt but good,” he said.  “Maybe you can rediscover yourself.  Or even find that old love of yours.”  He pulled an empty vodka bottle from between the sofa cushions. “I can drive you to the airport right now, pardner.”

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