Off The Track
So, I wrote a novel about commercial fishing off the coast of Oregon, which was another one of those highly researched books on my part. I had a commercial fishing license for three seasons. And I’d been — I’d lost money the first season, and broke even in the second, and made a little money in the third, that kind of thing. But I ended up out off to something we call the rock pile, and spending nights out there. We’d go out for — I say ‘we’, I had a partner. And then I did it on my own after the partner sold me the boat. But I’d go out there, and spend nights out trying to avoid the shipping lines, and that kind of thing.
I don’t know what happened to the book. I went into a slide, and what I did was to lose the book, I lost the manuscript. I was moving about, and I was not paying too much attention to my life. My marriage was going, and a few other things were happening all at once. It always seemed so unnecessary. That’s the word I love necessary, never stop, unnecessary, ceaseless. And my attitude was why me? Why did all this shit hit the fan right at the same time?1
I was in very much of a survival mood. And I started jettisoning things. I went for the principle that I wanted to have just a go pack more or less, something you could pick up on the way out the door, and a survival pack mentality. And the novel just disappeared during that. I thought I came across it. About two, three years ago, I came across a manuscript, and I thought Jesus Christ, that’s it. And it turned out it was my PhD dissertation. And I thought aha, fuck, not that again. And then I had to laugh, you discover your Phud, your PhD, and you say, “Ah, fuck, how did I ever get into that?”
And I thought to myself well, you got off the track. You never want — you want to be very careful when you go into the academy. It’s a garden of earthly delights, I’ll tell you. You can really get off the track. But they take care of their own.