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The Past | The Previous

Ten Things I Have Done That You Haven't.

1.

Joined the Russian Space Program at twenty to become a cosmonaut. It wasn't such a bad idea, but I did have to spend six months in space with a crazy Russian who was searching for God's backbone from space. "It's the spine of the world," he would mutter in Russian. "God has curled into a fetal position and I wish to see that bastard's face."

He was an angry, angry man. I spent most of my time floating in the dark, listening to music, and wondering why I couldn't see the Great Wall of China.

2.

Set an entire field on fire just to alleviate my boredom.

3.

Was accused of plagiarism at the age of 14 under the reasoning that, "You're not smart enough to have written this." They never did end up believing me, either.

You never see my story made into a movie of the week.

4.

Told a documentary crew covering the 2000 New Years Eve that I was here because I wanted the World to End. Anything else, I said, would be an anti-climax.

5.

When returning to Earth from six months in space, I told the Russians that I'd had enough. They wanted to send me back up, but I told them it was a one trip deal. "I found the Monkey," I said, sitting in their tiny, white washed, spartan office. "I won't have anything to do with that shit. Seriously. We're done." They didn't take it well and I ended up having to leave Russia in not very legal ways, which meant I spent six weeks being the roadie for an anarchist punk band under the name Gregor.

The fact that I couldn't play any instruments didn't bother them at all.

6.

On a writing panel, I told a room full of people that editors who reject your work are to be referred to as "Crack Addicts" just to keep everything in perspective.

7.

Walked down the streets of Sydney with Jesus.

8.

Been told, repeatedly, that I'm a no bullshit, brutally honest kind of guy.

9.

Admitted to lying on this list. Though, perhaps, not as much as you would think. Or maybe more. The Monkey is jabbering at me in Russian, again, and complaining about the intelligent animals they've sent into space to replace the empty meat sacks of men that orbit there.

You've seen those men around.

10.

Was married, briefly, in Iceland to a anarchist punk princess. I suppose we still are married, but Gregor is long dead, and there's no way to prove that he didn't die in the tragic boating accident.

Comments

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bodhichitta0
Feb. 21st, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC)
And how exactly do you know that I haven't done any of the things you've listed here? Just making a lot of assumptions, aren't we?
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:04 am (UTC)
well, i didn't see you at cosmonaut training. maybe you were there, granted, but i didn't see you. no i didn't. and my monkey says he didn't see you.
bodhichitta0
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
I will give you a hint--it wasn't the cosmonaut thing.

And tell your monkey I haven't trusted him in a LONG time.
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:10 am (UTC)
my monkey says he wouldn't trust a pyromaniac like you if you were the last pyromaniac on earth.

which is odd, really, since he's taken up smoking.
bodhichitta0
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
I know what he's smoking and he best not come to the U.S. and smoke it. Monkey or no, he'd be headed to the pokey.

And wrong again, not the pyro thing. (Though I did have a family member set fire to something once. But that's an entirely different story.)
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:17 am (UTC)
my monkey says that he hates being called a dope fiend. he's a connesieur, don't you know?

if it was the plagiarism thing, you're in good company, apparently. if it's called editors crack addicts... well, it's just the right thing to do ;)
bodhichitta0
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:19 am (UTC)
And he wins a brownie AND roses! Referred to agents and editors as "high on crack". In a room full of them. I'd had four glasses of wine and I assume you were sober. But still. Close enough! :-)
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
yeah, i was on a panel at a writers festival. i think i must've called them crack addicts about ten or twelve times, just for kicks.

the funny thing is, after the panel, this sweet little old lady went up to deb ((deborahb) she was on the panel with me) and said, 'that was so helpful. next time i get rejection, i'm going to call them crack addicts.' or something like that. she tells the story well.
bodhichitta0
Feb. 22nd, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
That's really funny. I think only a writer who has been rejected can truly appreciate that story.
ex_benpayne119
Feb. 21st, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
I was accused of plagiarism in grade eight because I handed in an assignment that was so much better than my earlier work... in reality, the reason for this was that this was the first assignment that had been creative writing and not some boring-arse comprehension test etc... and so i actually put some effort in... to my teacher, this obviously indicated that my parents had helped me... (Lesson #1: Don't challenge peoples' stereotype of you...)

benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:09 am (UTC)
yeah, mine was creative writing, too.

it's funny. i hear stories about how people did something, and teachers were suddenly 'awakened' to their ability, or some such thing. you never hear the stories about how your english teacher sat you down and said, 'look, obviously you copied this from a book. which one?' and when you don't fess up, you spend two weeks, moving from meeting to meeting with the head of the english department, the vice principal, and more with your english teacher.

in the end, i don't reckon they believed it, but it's hard to argue with someone as stubborn as me.
ashamel
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
I was asked to sign a form declaring that a poem I wrote was my own work, because they figured it was too good. That must have been year 7 or 8.
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
i'm starting to think i should start a collection of 'i was accused of plagiarism because i wrote something good' stories.
shadowsandice
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
I bet after six months in space that monkey looked reaaaal good.
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:54 am (UTC)
he's all skin and bones and pulp science fiction quotes. six months isn't enough to make me come round to that.
studebakerhawk
Feb. 22nd, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
Monkeys know more than they let on.

Ben, go to fat-cat.uk.org, head to the demo section and download the mp3s by 'The Oedipus Sisters' and 'Saya / Takashi Ueno / Koji Shibuya / John'. Right up your alley, especially the second track from the latter. All recorded by this great Japanese group in winter in Tokyo in the city, a bit like 'Flames but delicate and touching at the same time. I'll probably order their album. :D
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 06:06 am (UTC)
cool. i'll check it tonight.
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 10:18 am (UTC)
hey, that link right? it's not working for me.
benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 10:24 am (UTC)
that's what i like to see. links for dummies :)
mariness
Feb. 22nd, 2005 02:22 pm (UTC)
The anarchist punk princess has been e-mailing me, off and on. Apparently you haven't paid her alimony. On the other hand, she's shacking up with three hot young chicks who were recently featured in some of the Internet's more popular websites and talking about setting up a webcam operation, so I'm guessing money's not really a concern for her right now.

benpeek
Feb. 22nd, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
no, it never was.

at least, that's what i hear. never knew her myself. ahem. poor gregor. dead in the ocean. eaten by fish. possibly dolphins.
mariness
Feb. 23rd, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
Those anarchist punk princesses are all about the sex, aren't they?

I heard that Gregor was trying to eat tuna when dolphins attacked him, but you know, that might just be rumour, and lord knows I never repeat rumours.

Well, almost never.

benpeek
Feb. 23rd, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
i think he was trying to eat dolphins. wanted to see what the fuss was all about ;)
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