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The Notebook

NOTEBOOK words to live by


(From the early days of madness.  A time known on the interwebz as “It’s Always Friday”.  This was my one-hundredth post in that place, shared with readers as “Friday Turns 100”.  I guess some things really DON’T change)

I keep a notebook.

No, not a Mac Book, a notebook. The kind you write in. The paper kind. And a pen. I’ve also been told I’m an old soul… fossil old.

Let me explain… no, there is too much… let me sum up.

Okay, whenever I get a random thought in my head… something that, for the merest moment of time, I like the sound of as it floats between my ears, I write it down. In the same notebook I use for work. Sideways, in the left-hand margin… so I won’t forget where I put it. Sometimes, these random thoughts end up in a story. Most times, they end up forgotten… tossed in a drawer, or worse yet (the horror…) under the bed (another column for another time). And sometimes, like bullets from a 9 mil in a drive-by, they get used all at once. And if you think you know me… and you will think you do, the longer you read me… then you know that these are (some) of my words to live by.

“I have no desire to be friends with my past.”

While, for many, the past can be looked back on fondly… first bike, first kiss, first car… for me, my past is looked back on for some other firsts… first stolen bike, first punch in the face, first death of a loved one. And while I would not trade any of the lessons learned from it, my past and I are not now, nor will we ever be, on good terms with each other. Every now and then, we pass each other on the street… and nod. And that’s enough. Because with every passing nod, another page in the notebook is filled.

“Talent doesn’t pay the bills, working does.”

Obviously not an original thought, but since when did a teacher like the past ever claim to be 100 percent original all the time? Still, this one is for the times (many) when the thought of sitting on my bony ass waiting for something better to come along became more than just a thought… and it took some kind of tragedy to shake me enough to start something, or stop something, that shoved a wrench into the gears of my creative machine. Hell, I hate working three jobs. But it beats starving. Yeah, and I’ll sleep when I’m published.

“Sometimes drunks tell the best version of the truth.”

So, after you finish reading this, have a few cold ones, read it again, and leave a comment… preferably on my blog, to reduce the chance of having me ask the publishers to take it down. When you do comment, please let me know exactly how many shots, pops, or rips you’ve had, so that I can rate your truthfulness by the volume of your consumption.

And remember, there are no wrong answers.

“Intimacy isn’t given… it’s earned.”

And people wonder why I don’t make many friends.

In a previous article, I covered the three kinds of “friendlies” every writer ought to know. This is the other side… the dark side… of that. For lack of a better term, they are, “the un-friendlies”. Part Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, part Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy, “un-friendlies” are those Twitter followers or Facebook friends you wish you’d never clicked “okay” for. Sure you could block them, or just try to ignore them, but sooner or later they will always come back… with a bunny. As I enter into this phase of my writing life, I will try to remember to be polite to everyone, and always, always keep my head on a swivel… so it doesn’t end up somewhere else.

And finally…

“Handshakes are for people who can’t afford lawyers.”

This should be self-explanatory. It’s the California version of, “get it in writing”. California has always lead the way in defining how to put a price tag on friendship (community property, “palimony”), and on the number of lawyers per capita in the United States. I have one friend who is an attorney, and while I did not run number 5 by him before I submitted this column to the editor (something to do with “billable hours”… I really didn’t understand it all), I do know that he would have to agree with me on this one. Off the record.

Bonus thought…

I will conclude this first official effort by explaining that this article is my 100th published article for In saying that, I want everyone who just made the effort to follow this one all the way to its conclusion to know that it is my wish that we all, as writers… as readers… get what we wish for ourselves in this creative venture comes true even wilder and better than we ever could have imagined. But be careful what you wish for, because…

“If wishes were Unicorns, they’d shit rainbows.”

Copyright © 2011, 2015 Bill Friday

White Paint


“I’m a stop singing this song because I’m high…

                                                (Raise the ceiling baby)

I’m singing this whole thing wrong because I’m high…

                                                (Bring it back)

And if I don’t sell one copy I’ll know why…

                                                (Why man?  Yeah!)

‘Cause I’m high…

‘Cause I’m high…

‘Cause I’m high.”


“Because I Got High”

                Music and Lyrics by Joseph A. Foreman

                (aka “Afroman”)


“Because a writer writes.”

I wrote that in the liner of a leather-bound journal, that I gave as a gift once.  A birthday gift… to a guy I worked with, who called himself a writer.  He used to make me read his stuff.  Written long-hand, in a two inch, three-ring notebook on wide-ruled, 8 ½ by 11 paper.

His stuff sucked.

At the time, I didn’t know if what I wrote in that journal was for his encouragement, or just a thinly veiled attempt at harsh sarcasm.  It’s been years now, and I still don’t know which it was… and that isn’t even the point.  The point I’m making is that this fuzzy, gray-white cloud of a memory most likely only popped into my head right now because of what I, a writer, just did for a fucking paycheck.

Yeah, it’s funny what a few well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals can do to rip a dead memory from the hard ground of a guy’s head like a cosmic backhoe, under a paint-stained bandanna, just the other side of the blood-brain barrier.

I started working semi-permanent, part-time jobs so I could spend the bulk of my thoughts (at least that’s what I told myself at the time) on what I told anyone who would listen was my next career…


Now, when I’m honest (or drunk), I tell the world (or those in it who still listen) that I’m, “a guy who works two part-time jobs… and blogs”.

Sort of.

And like the song clue at the top tells you (if this was a movie, it would have been playing in the background on a car radio), last week’s Libertarian drug flashback went and turned itself into its own bullshit crisis of conscience-slash-artistic epiphany… all in the hour it took to paint a mildew stained, six-by-thirty, cinder block and drywall storage unit, deep inside an unventilated apartment garage.

God, how toxic primer can make you think, while it kills the handful of brain cells you have left.

In the week since what I now refer to as “The Afroman Epiphany” forced me to re-evaluate the choices I’ve made for becoming a handsomely-paid writer, it wasn’t till Day 6 that it came to me.  Nobody who wants to get paid for thinking up cool new ways to use the same old words already used (but better) by other (dead) writers, should ever have to work in a Huffer’s Paradise of well-mixed, federally regulated, industrial chemicals… no matter how pretty they make a cinder block and drywall storage unit… not even if your name is Charles Fucking Bukowski.

And no amount of white paint on a dirty old bandanna should ever be enough to cover up the memories that remain for why a writer writes.

Copyright © 2013 Bill Friday*

Previous Copyrights © 2011, 2012 Bill Friday

*Originally published as “White Paint Chronicles #0001 on the blog It’s Always Friday (2011), and the website Expats Post (2012)

All rights reserved by the author.

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