Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 61

Thursday Ritual of writing is always the same.  At 2:30 I start a movie.  Usually something difficult, from the Criterion Collection most of the time.  At 3:30 or so I stop it, unfinished.  At that point I sit on the couch for an hour thinking about whatever at that time I deem the largest unresolved problem in the play.  Eventually I start to get ideas.  Then I go to my study where I sit in a DIFFERENT CHAIR and think for another few hours.  At some point I feed the Binks, then close my study door so he won't come in for attention.  At 6:30, give or take, I eat 1/3 a chicken breast and some almonds.  If my ideas have lead me towards dialogue I will have started typing at that point.  If they're just going to backstory and meta-structure type stuff, I write them down in various organizational documents.  At 7 pm I open a Diet Coke.  I sip it slowly over the next two hours.  I make myself keep working until my brain is totally fried.  When that happens, I emerge from the office, microwave some leftovers, and watch Thursday Night TV (saving my favorite show, Parks and Rec, for last).  Sometimes this emergence happens at 8:15 (when things didn't go well), sometimes at 9:45 (when things went very well).  Never before 8.  The longer after eight it takes for me to emerge, the better it went.  Tonight I think I emerged at 8:30.  Not great, but okay.  I'm left with the ending to solve.  Just that!  Not a very important matter, the ending.

Actually it's somewhat true.  Many many great novels/poems unfinished.  Of course, the same is not true of plays.

Anyway, Thursday Ritual is key.  It's the intense, power-through, let all things alone and just THINK discipline thing of it.  No matter how badly I'm thinking or how miserable I am, I just sit there.  And sit and sit and sit.  It is much much harder than it sounds.  I just did it, and I'm done with the TV, and the one beer I get with it as reward (well, two tonight) and the excessive Kettle Chips that I also sometimes allow myself, as additional reward.  Now I'm reading a little before bed.  I'm counting this as tomorrow's post because it is tomorrow here.

Oh, I forgot to add.  Usually at about 11, when my wife goes to bed, I finish the movie I started that afternoon.  Sometimes, though--and this rarely happens--I find it too boring or uninspiring to force myself to go back to.  Such was the case with today's movie, one of Renoir's very last films, The River.  Its story was actually not horrible, but I couldn't get past its extreme datedness.  Plus the actors were just horrible.  It was adapted from a novel, also, which would have been fine if the novel hadn't aged so badly.  The movie featured narration taken directly from the novel, which did not help the overall...gestalt.  Or whatever.

Took the Binks to the vet today.  He has to get shots updated before he can be allowed to interview at the new would-be boarders.  At night told not to move certain cups from drying rack.  Cups must be in certain places?  First I'd learned of that.

I only drink Diet Coke--or any caffeine--later than 2 pm on Thursdays (well, if I have 'work hard all day and night' sessions on days other than Thursday I have one then, too, of course).  Part of me thinks I get so much done on Thursdays because of said Diet Coke.  Mostly though, it's about accumulation.  The map of intellectual progress--the graph--is not y=x.  It's y=a^x.  Every additional hour, the results get bigger and bigger.  They grow exponentially.  Obviously, since that's an exponential equation.

Except tonight some jackass from AT&T came to the door to harass my wife about getting some service he wouldn't explain.  The door right next to my study, I heard it all and had to come out.  My wife is far too polite to people who come to the door.  I immediately tell all of them to go away.  Really.  I assume that nothing important to me--no information I need to have--will ever come via a person at my front door.  The very fact that they ARE a person at my front door means, by definition, they are pointless and unnecessary.  My many brilliant ideas exploded by his droning incessant voice, I scowled and interrupted frequently. After being mean to him for a while I finally realized that his initial claim--he would switch us over to free fiber optic whatever just like they were doing everywhere else in the neighborhood!--was, of course, hooey.  What he actually wanted was for me to switch our Time Warner Cable Bundle to AT&T.  In a sense, he was telling the truth, I guess.  He didn't want us to pay him to switch us over--but he did want us to pay him, for the service.   Filled with rage, I told him to go away (even though the price he quoted me was cheaper.)  I don't like Time Warner at all, but at this point, I'm so angry--still--that I feel like calling AT&T and canceling my cell phone service, just to vent.  This, I know, would do exactly nothing.

"You're a young guy, I know I don't have to explain what fiber-optics are to you."  This is something he said to me!!!

If only I'd thought in advance to have some sort of large cat sleeping in a tree branch in our front yard.  That would have cut his meanderings short--being confronted with an angry puma.   Or even a moderately displeased one.  It still wouldn't be good.


JMW said...

I'm so glad that after Day 60 you didn't decide to take a break. This was a great post. "I assume that nothing important to me--no information I need to have--will ever come via a person at my front door." Amazing.

ANCIANT said...

Thanks, JMW. I liked this post too. I was still enraged when I wrote it, slightly. I think that helped.

Cartooniste said...

I also enjoyed this post. Your writing routine is much more glamorous than mine.

I think I could up the glamor quotient if I would change out of pajamas before starting work for the day. Perhaps that will be my springtime resolution.

ANCIANT said...

I wear pajama pants 90% of my waking life.