“I wish you peace in the new year,” the Facebook message read.
I wrote back: “I don’t want peace. Peace is bland and gray. Peace makes me restless and constipated. I need friction, feuds, caustic cattiness, tantrums, hissy fits, turmoil and conflict. I crave dysfunction.”
I want 2010 to make last year seem like a love-in on a Putnam County hillside.
Peace is calming. Calm breeds contentment, which leads to self-satisfaction, which melds right into mediocrity. The reason there are so many bad movies is the plethora of happy people in the industry: People with loving spouses, children and pets, people who travel the world, make lots of money, get invites to the best parties, and procure coveted panoramic views of lakes, as well as prestigious tables at exclusive eating establishments. None of them except Nicolas Cage are flirting with madness.
In this mode, I have already mapped out who I’m feuding with in 2010. I’ll come up with reasons later. Don’t bother checking your email or looking in your mailbox. You’ll discover through word of mouth that you’re on my poop list. And you’d better be prepared to do battle.
Because we are adept with words and basically vicious, writers create the fiercest feuds. We can attack in face-to-face debates, electronically, by letter, postcard, Twitter, essays, rants, monologues, poems and speeches. Even our spitballs contain nasty words. Plus we gossip incessantly, always effective in structuring vindictiveness.
By mid-January I expect waves of rancor to wash away all the good will of a new year. Friction stimulates me; I brood, wallow in paranoia, stew in rage. I’m working on a list of insults I’ve been under-using in past years. Rapscallion, wench, tart, blowhard, spawn of Satan, bat scum, rancid troglodyte, drooling ogre have been penciled in. Strike first and draw blood – that’s my strategy. By February, I should be immersed in conflict, catapulting me into a fever dream of creativity.
Within that mindset I can finally begin work on my masterpiece – an illustrated children’s book about kidnapped kittens and the rogue squirrel who rescues them. – Joe Del Priore


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group