I’m recovering from a thing, and I’m fine but I haven’t been feeling great and certainly not in the mood to write. Turning off. Shutting down. Sleep mode. A Netflix dating show. An actual James Joyce book that I’m dipping into for whatever reason. My Belasco book came in the mail. Also this movie, one of the best I’ve seen in a while:
Getting it all laid out, scene by scene, chapter by chapter; with notes on what I want to change. But maybe I will separate the notes and concentrate on scenes – do the notecard thing, rearrange, juxtapose…
All in good time. Right now I’m so enjoying the view from up here and steadily keeping on – paragraph by paragraph, reporting what is there, considering it, moving on to the next scene. It’s a long-ish thing, maybe 100k words. I like starting out with a lot then reducing, but the catch-22 is the state I was in the last few months, where I wanted to work on it but was overwhelmed by the sheer mess. Now I got a broom in one hand, a dustpan in the other, and a snack cake in my mouth.
The painting is by Drub. I’d never seen this side of his art until tonight but I really love it. Check out more of Drub’s art and buy it while you’re at it – or some of his cute merch.
Damn it feels good! I’m just going through my first draft, chopping what I want/don’t want out of it, arranging it into sort-of chapters. At the same time I’m keeping a running list of all scenes/chapters and noting what I want to change – what needs to be added, what needs to be deleted, what needs to be rewritten extensively. I’m not even halfway through but I’m starting to see it for what it is, and I’m excited about it again. After I organize it all the next step will be going through, chapter-by-chapter, and rewriting. I can’t wait.
The post I wrote yesterday helped me. Honestly: I’m sick of this novel. I’ve been thinking about it for almost two years now. I need to get it out of my head, and the way to do that is to make it readable to other people so I can say: here, I created this thing, I don’t know if it’s any good or not but it’s what I can do and now it’s done.
All of this is complicated by the fact that I’ve had to replace the space bar on my (aging) laptop twice now and it’s starting to get mushy again. It’s fine. I’ll figure it out. The big picture: read it all over again, map it out, plot a course inward. Outlines, character arcs. But don’t get too far up my own ass. Just have it make sense.
Woke up on my day off and headed to the coffee shop to write. Did my journaling thing – three pages – but knew (manifested?) even before I opened my laptop that it was going to be a struggle. I started to write new stuff, and I was bored. And haven’t I written enough of it? Isn’t the ending written, or at least some form of it? Where does perfectionism end and procrastination begin? What the fuck have I even written?
I went back into it- reading parts of my manuscript, trying to make sense of it all. I got lost. I got annoyed. The coffee shop was as busy as it’s ever been. Everyone was looking for a table and I was in the back so they kept poking their heads around and looking at me and I wasn’t writing anything and didn’t know what to write and arrrgh, just give up, do it later, do it when you’re in a better headspace, go home and do it, do it tomorrow…
Laundry. Articles about Kim Kardashian and Anna Wintour. Wanting to throw my phone down the stairs – wait, last night I dreamt that the screen was cracked. And finally, this, which honestly feels great. And for the record, I wrote a couple times this week but didn’t blog about it.
I know in my heart that I really do need to start revising the first draft of the novel but I’m just so fucking daunted.
Pep talk: you just need a less messy version of the first draft. Even just take chunks of the original draft and rearrange them into something new, then worry about rewriting it and making it all flow. Think about pacing for now…
Counter pep-talk: You don’t have a concrete ending. Just keep writing it and see what happens.
Tossed and turned. Managed to journal throughout my work day, which was a nice diversion.
Is it reasonable to think the internet will be gentrified? Whole sections of it excluded from search engines or made unnavigable due to corporate oversight? I was doing some housekeeping on this blog (already the term sounds anachronistic) and found myself checking in on some of my favorite artists and writers. The gif above is by the one and only Belasco – check him out and buy his books; I did!
Uh, can I think of something to say about every single day that I put down five hundred words? I’m dubious but persistent. Today I doubled back into the novel a bit and added a scene that probably needs to be there. I wonder if the time lapse between when I wrote the first part of the novel and now is to my detriment? It definitely contributes to the feeling that I have a pile of words that it’s going to take the mental equivalent of a high-rise crane to erect into a novel. This is a false feeling. It’s more like a luscious chicken and I need to pick it clean. Wait, so I end up with bones?
OH JESUS I CAN’T EVEN COME UP WITH A SUITABLE SIMILE WHAT KIND OF WRITER AM I
Anyway, dig the terrible video above – an apparently hot new track from the 90s-era act Information Society. I saw it first when I was working at a gay bar this fall as part of an ever-changing slew of videos that we showed on the monitors whether anyone was paying attention or not. The videos were all “mixed” which is to say the beginnings were spliced into the videos that came before them. And most of them were these obscure club tracks which made me wonder: Where did they come from? Who picked them? The Information Society one (and the one below, from K-SYRAN, which I actually love) stood out to me for its sheer low-budget weirdness. Then just this past Saturday I saw it again on the monitor at the gym and I thought: is this song actually popular? Or is it just popular in some alternate euro-club-music reality? Who knows.
Again. Here’s the deal with the end of the incest novel: I’ve written it a number of times at this point. I wonder if I’m spinning my wheels, delaying concrete decisions. The end is messy, for sure. I know what I want the last lines to be, but not the last scene, necessarily. I worry that I tried to do too much in the last third of it, that it all piles up. That I’m forgetting some of the earlier plot lines and winding up in a place too far removed from where I started. How do you do this, novelists? How do you keep it all in your damn head? It’s too much.
I continue to wake up with a headache and feeling less than great. Work stresses me out, more often than not I feel a little wrecked by Thursday morning. So I never quite got around to working on the novel this morning but I might get to it later in the day. I want to keep plugging away at it in first-draft mode, to keep adding new scenes, because I can always whittle them down. That’s my modus operandi right now – spew it out all out, as much as I can, then tighten it. The tightening I’m worried about, but once I get into it it’s my favorite part. But the damn forest and the fucking trees…it’s hard not to feel like I’m lost in the wilderness.
I wrote yesterday. But I didn’t blog. I didn’t write today…well, I journaled, and I keep saying I shouldn’t discount my journaling as writing but honestly it just feels like shitting to me – I sit down and it comes out (some days more easily than others). I don’t agonize over it. But I don’t get the same joy that comes from when I write fiction, the joy of making stuff up. Journaling is more about recording, for me. I have stacks of journals. I have this idea that, before I die, I’ll travel around the country and just start leaving volumes of my journals in various thrift stores. I mean, what else am I going to do with them? I like the idea of someone finding them, this little slice of my life, then maybe searching out others. But, on the other hand, fuck legacy. Let it all burn. Dust to dust.
…wherever and whenever I can. Meaning: I woke up, my bed felt way too comfortable and the dreams were swimming through my head. So I didn’t get up to write, I just enjoyed the sweet heaviness of my somnambulant body for a while then went straight to my job. Work work work. But driving home from work I got excited to write, so I hopped to it at my desk and got a few hundred words in here and there in between doing a load of laundry and heating up dinner and cutting my hair. And wouldn’t you know, it was a fun and productive little sesh. But I probably would have skipped it if this blog wasn’t keeping me honest.