Friday, March 1, 2013

Brought to you by the suffix -ous

The author, Alix Kates Shulman, was (like 43% of the people
who have ever done anything noteworthy ever ... OK I exaggerate)
from the Heights (in her case Shaker, not Cleveland,
but I will lump them for the 43% figure). 

And now it's March? That seems preposterous. I desire in March to become again more daily with the blarg.

Daily, I have found, is good -- with so many things. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure that out. I've been very rebelliously opposed for most of my life to too much form and order -- don't fence me in -- and certainly to doing things just because people say they are the thing to do. Writing every day is one of those things you are told to do, and maybe because my circumstances made that difficult for me, I really resisted the wisdom in it. (Circumstances internal as much as external ... fear is a circumstance. Fear of what? At first I wrote "fear of being who you want to be," but that is too simplistic.) Also though, just the implication that there is something wrong with you, that you are failing if you don't follow this rule.

Walter Mosley (if you haven't read him, you should. He's good, and we both have associations with Goddard and City College) was the first person who started to make it make sense to me. He was talking specifically about writing a novel and the fact the a novel is too big for anyone to hold in the their head all at once, so a novelist needs to write every day not because it is valorous but because it keeps the whole of the novel accessible to her. (I feel like I might have already blarged about this. Hobbyhorse warning.)

Preposterous and valorous are both excellent words. What -ous words do you like?

And since the reanimation of this blarg, I have been very careful to distinguish what I do here from the Writing I am trying to do elsewhere. The blarg is not really Writing, to me, because it's purpose is so different. And because the time I spend here should not be in competition with the time I spend there. This should serve that ultimately, or it should serve me, which will serve that. I fear I am explaining this poorly. I am not denigrating the blarg. I like this. It is shiny. And it is of course writing, it is just not writing (there italics don't look as imposing and ponderous as the capital W), the maddening process of trying to build on paper a thing made of words, a unique object, all full of internal logic and realized aesthetic impulse and thingness, that can go out into the world and live a life of its own, make friends and enemies, take lovers, wander and arrive.

But when I think about writing every day, I mean both of these activities - this extemporaneous, observational, meditational, greedy for the shiny, partially therapeutic, even for me somewhat spiritual, semi-exhibitionist thing I do here and that other thing, I do over there -- the deliberate and involved object building that goes on, one tiny molecule at a time some days, when I am writing.

So, to put it simply, I find that writing every day (or most days) is good for me. And my March is about recommitting to that, as best I can, in my given circumstances. Good night.

Reading: I'm very book fickle lately. Started reading Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, a feminist fiction classic from the early 70s, which sat on my mother's bookshelf my whole childhood and I always wondered about. I like the voice a lot, and I am struck by what a different time it was written in. We have forgotten how fast women's expectations for their lives and their place in the world have changed. The work of feminism is not finished yet, but it has certainly had a radical effect on our culture. No wonder the right wing is so angry.

Writing: Yes! And ha-ha! I had the weird experiences of returning the ToT (Tome of Tomorrow, if you don't know what I mean) after a week or more off, and finding that I had already written the scene I intended to work on! Really. Well, half the scene. But there it was all lined up in sentences and telling my story. I don't quite remember writing it even. Reading it was a bit vertiginous.

Dinner: Low key Friday night with friends we haven't seen for a while. Jane made pizzas. I brought a salad and the makings of my drink of the moment, the tequila sunrise. We went through kind of a lot tequila. but there were 6 adults drinking it.

Soundtrack: Hmm. Not sure.

Random thing: I have images floating around in my head of the Atlanta Public Library c. 1988. Not sure what has dislodged them. Speaking of books sitting on bookshelves, there are at least three books I bought at a sale at the Atlanta Public Library that sit on my shelves unread to this day. They have survived various purges because whatever it was that first attracted me to them is still active, but the time has not yet been right to read them. One is a juicy looking historical fiction about 19th century Russie, called something like Snows of December, but a search on the title doesn't yield anything (I'll have to go to the stacks and get back to you on this). I was on a real Russian kick in 1988, and this looked like frothy fun after all that Solzhenitsyn I had been somewhat pretentiously consuming..

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