Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 27

Wife has had a long and brutal work week.  Now that it's over, and Saturday's here, she's going to unwind.  Right now she's sitting on the couch watching Law and Order SVU, a show centering around rape, murder, and abduction.  Where is the relaxation factor?   I guess it has to do in part with the characters of the detectives.  And then, on a larger level, justice is usually done.  Order is maintained.  That's profoundly comforting, to watch the bad guys repeatedly caught through the dogged and intelligent detective work of the police.  We all want to believe that that is the world we live in.

The end of the 30 days is approaching and I am considering whether to keep going or to stop.  Posting every day has a lot of rewards (for me, don't know about the readers).  What is hard about writing is writing badly.  (This is not my idea; I got it from Dean Young).  If every time we sat down we produced A-level prose, came up with wondrous ideas, understood our characters deeply, there'd be nothing unpleasant about it.  Most of the time this doesn't happen.  You produce dross.  It's junk, and you know it's junk as you write it, but you have to keep going because that's the only way to get beyond the junk, to hope to turn it into not-junk.  (THAT is the hardest part about writing.  Faith.  Faith that you'll get from junk to not-junk.)

The thing this journal project seems to have done is to given me more of a sense of permission to write junk.  I deliberately write these quickly; I don't edit and I don't revise.  I'm not working towards producing high level prose, or even interesting prose.  I'm just trying to get in the habit of giving myself permission to think in words.  The fact that this is a semi-public setting is relevant only in that it forces me to keep doing it; it holds me to my promise (writing in a private journal is something that's too easy to stop doing).  Because it is being read by others, I omit certain aspects of my life (my frequent sex trips to Thailand, the cocaine binges, the illicit llamass) but otherwise, it's just what it's in my head.

And I think that--though I can't be sure--overall it's been useful.  The last month of 'real' writing, on my play, seems to have been going slightly better than normal.  I can't be sure if that is because of this daily journal routine, but it might be.  (I also have a self-imposed deadline for a draft of the play, of April 15th.  If I don't get it done by then I have to give my wife a shopping spree of stuff I can't use.  Not that that's such an onerous punishment, but still.  That's money I could spend on llamas!)  And given that, I think it's something I should continue.

Though I am kind of running out of things to say.  Well, I guess I can just go back to talking about movies. (Dazed and Confused was on TV last night.  What a masterpiece!)

* * *

Something not as satisfying about reading a book of short stories, as opposed to a novel.  It's so abrupt; you start, you stop, that's it.  You don't sink into a world.  And the Wolfe and Ballard stories are even more abrupt than the usual naturalistic fiction you read in magazines.  Maybe I'll get some novels to go with them.  No, no.  Can't buy more books.  I have too much unfinished already.

Basketball today!  And takeout.  Semi-relaxation.  Though I'm working till 4, I vow.


Barbara Carlson said...

Before I read your post today, have you seen this about Wei Wei (detained, prevented from leaving Beijing):

Barbara Carlson said...

1) The music in these cop shows is brilliant. Unnoticed, It lulls you into a sense of wrapped-around security.

2) If you don't like the process of making art, its obsession will elude you. Hitting the write note, phrase or image has its rewards, but not knowing quite how to do something is where the zen moments arrive (and we forget our selves, the nuisances of daily life...)

3) I hope you do keep writing; if it is more for yourself & a few friends, would you rather I shut up?

ANCIANT said...

No, I'm always very happy to see comments. I guess that is a paradox, since I did say it was for me mostly. But it's comforting and intriguing at the same time to find out how other people react, what they think about, what you're thinking.

And you're right about the process. It's only that so much of the process is, as Bowie says, "waiting for the gift of sound and vision." With an emphasis on the waiting. And being poked, really, during that waiting.

I'll look at the WeiWei thing now.