At the end of my monthlong residency at the Vermont Studio Center back in 2009, the writer Bernadette Esposito and I shared a farewell embrace. Then she pulled away and, regarding me with a gravity in her eyes that I had never before seen during that entire stay, she advised me: “Don’t burn out too soon.”
I think about that from time to time. I’ve taken it personally, close to my heart, as I do with even the littlest things; and I’ve also considered it with a grain of salt, wondering if, after all, it was not a comment reserved exclusively for me but something that she said to everyone at the end of the residency. Have a nice summer, except that this was in the winter.
As I head off to work in the next few minutes, I am launching a stretch of days in which something is scheduled in my calendar for each day. Whether it is an event, a task, or time spent with other people, my calendar has exploded for the next two weeks. This is a blessing and a curse; a blessing because I get to be deeply involved in the world, and a curse for someone who is a natural loner. Every free moment I get to myself will be reserved exclusively, even aggressively, for myself. This may sometimes mean that, if I’m with other people, I may become sullen and deeply introspective. And in the rare hours when I have nothing officially scheduled, I may retreat to a corner or whatever empty space is handy, book in tow. (I always have a book with me. Whenever I go to The Ballpark, the ushers who check my bag consistently tease me about going in with a book. It has happened all the time, for every game, and I’ve been to lots. “No reading in the ballpark,” they joke to me, and the thing is, the joke never gets old. That is how much I love the ushers, The Ballpark, the game.)
I’m 29 years old, an age that has simultaneously left me feeling left behind, feeling accomplished, old, and young. In fact, there are times when I feel like I am too young to feel burned out. The cliche “old soul” has sometimes been applied to me, to which I counter, silently, that one is only as old as one feels. Whatever the case, Linc, I’m both excited and overwhelmed by the next two weeks. To balance this duality, I ground myself with happy memories — the World Series, for example. October has always been my favorite month, with its falling temperatures and autumnal shades, but the World Series made that time so much better. I also have music. Singing to one’s self, the ability to recall some prior ditty, is a quality and skill we all possess, but I cling to the notion that it is an exclusive trait that I inherited from Pop. My childhood was filled with renditions of Nat King Cole, Elvis, even The Carpenters, and the memory in my head is of Pop singing or humming while doing dishes. A good song will keep me grounded when I feel overwhelmed; so will imagining that I am again seven years old, wandering into the kitchen as Pop stands at the sink and then spots me, the song fading, and asks, “Did you eat already, anak?”
In these next two weeks, if I’m singing to myself, it ain’t because I’m breaking, though rarely have I ever felt whole, even when my calendar is full.
“I never wanted to know jack shit about business. I’m a fat, masturbating stoner. That’s why I got into the movie business. I thought that was where fat, masturbating stoners went. And if somebody had told me at the beginning of my career, you’re going to have to learn so much about business, finance, amortization, all that shit, monetization, I would have been like, ‘Fuck it. I’m just going to stay home and masturbate. That’s too much work, man.’ It took seven years for Clerks, a movie that cost $27,575, to go into profit. Ladies and gentlemen, I came here seventeen years ago [with Clerks]. All I wanted to do was sell my movie. And I can’t think of anything fucking worse, seventeen years later, than selling my movie to people who just don’t fucking get it.” (He also called the people who make movie trailers “lying fucking whores,” which was pretty awesome.)”
Check it out. He had me at “fat, masturbating stoner”. I said to myself, “Is this gonna be a Kevin Smith quote?”
Yesterday I was walking around the downtown mall with Selina, and she was giving me a hard time about liking going to the mall so much. You know, when I heard that you were mentioned by GQ, I didn’t actually think you were also going to be on the cover. But there are you are, not merely as one of the top 25 coolest athletes of all-time, but also as a cover guy. You are already a star, but now you’re officially a superstar. I wonder to myself, did this superstar ever just like hanging out at the mall when he was a kid? Thinking this to myself makes me also think of a picture of you that I once found online. I think you were in college, at some Halloween party, and you had an afro. I found this back in 2009, the first summer I became a Giants fan, and I was curious about this guy, Tim Lincecum. Who is he? What’s his story? Why is his last name so weird to pronounce?
By that point, I’d already had a crush on you. It was bound to happen. Any baseball fan with eyes — well, any straight woman or gay guy, I guess — is bound to develop a crush on one of the players on a baseball team. But out of all the guys on the Giants, I don’t know why my eyes chose you. That’s one of the things I’ve been trying to figure out all this time, besides all the cultural bullshit that I market to agents. Which I don’t do anymore, by the way. Baseball 2.0 is a tough sell, and I tried to sell it in 2009 and part of 2010, thinking that a gay newbie to baseball would make an interesting story for someone to buy. It wasn’t. It’s okay, though. As a blog, my chats with you are now 29 followers shy of 100. It’s not as popular as all the other Tumblogs, which I can understand, because having conversations with an imaginary boyfriend isn’t really everyone’s bowl of Domino’s pasta. But I’m kind of impressed that the blog has as many followers as it does. At least people appreciate a free story. Thanks for helping me tell it, Linc.