Writer… sound artist… these are the labels in which I present myself to the world. Really though, I am just a factory scrub, and it still shows in my writing… even if I’m not blatantly writing about life on the factory floor anymore. My paragraphs are made up of cogs and gears, infused with the sound of machines, alive with wires, industrial landscapes and tired bones of man racing both the time clock and the reaper.
There is good reason for this as most of my words are born here in this factory where I am typing at this very moment. In this place I am fortunate enough to not be on the factory floor but rather all alone in a quality lab. The work flow ebbs and flows and in between if I’m lucky enough, magic will come. In general, my writing comes to me in short bursts, bits and phrases, and pieces of dialogue. They are fragments written on stolen time. It’s not ideal, but I have operated in the gray area between misery and the muse for so long I’m not sure if I could do it another way.
I also work a twelve hour swing shift, so my writing day follows accordingly. However night or day makes little difference, the routine is the same. In between samples arriving in my lab and the bad, black coffee, I sit down at my computer sporadically to type out fragments. If I’m not writing, I’ll cut-up, manipulate, experiment with text. If I’m not experimenting, I’m editing. If I’m not editing, (and not going through a prolonged period of apathy and self-doubt) I’m submitting… or promoting, networking, or anything else dubbed “writerly”… and even on those crazy, hectic nights where the work load just won’t relent, I find my head is still in the clouds. I am always thinking about writing or some sound project, at the very least. It’s not the writing day one dreams of, but by far the most realistic as most every artist I know is working class. It’s chaotic, and while some days can be prolific, a lot of times they are not.
The days off are slightly more structured, but just as busy as my work days. I usually sleep in until 11am or so. I crawl out of bed and have a big breakfast, followed by a cup of strong, black coffee while I check social media. Afterwards, I will have a quick workout followed by lunch. Then I will answer emails, and waste more time on Twitter. The afternoon is filled with errands and much needed time with the family. Being a night owl, it’s only when darkness falls that it feels right to retreat to my office. With the little bit of the day I get to devote entirely to creative endeavors it is usually a question of working with words or working with sound, as my office is also my studio. If I choose words, I will put on some sort of soundscape or jazz… music is very important. If I’m not working on straight writing, I find this is the best time to sort out, sculpt, experiment, and make sense out of text I’ve written during the work week.
The writing day is nothing like I thought it would be when I was a child dreaming of being a writer… enter the noir imagery of the near alcoholic writer, cigarette dangling from his lips, slamming the keys for hours on end. Even if I am lucky enough to ever quit my job or retire before I die, it’s hard to imagine doing it any other way… down here, in this dirty factory with the weight of the world on my back… it’s that sense of urgency… that feeling that there is something more, that drives me to create.
Wayne Mason is a writer and sound artist from Central Florida whose poetry and prose has appeared in numerous magazines both in print and online. He is the author of several chapbooks of poetry, as well as the online book I Ching Jukebox, a cut-up narrative centered on themes of singularity and industrial landscapes. He has also been included in several anthologies, the most recent being Cut Up! An anthology inspired by the cut-up method of William S Burroughs & Brion Gysin (2014, Oneiros Books). His newest chapbook Subliminal Syntax is available now from Analog Submission Press.