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03 August 2016 @ 05:58 pm
she says bring it on down. bring on the wave.  
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so this was july: zoetic’s 31/31 challenge, from which i emerge with a guaranteed spot in the project anthology and 30K words targeted toward a book-like project. because i could not just say “huzzah, i’m going to write a book!” because that’s gone so well the other times that i’ve tried it (please note: it did not go well any of the times that i tried it). no, i am much too willfully pomo genx obtuse for that. i worship anne carson as deity, you know. though there’s also a degree of: if i sneak around the word book, if i set out to instead fill in the negative space around a book instead of arrogantly shooting off with the intention of writing a book, i might be able to trick myself into writing something that other people would consider to be a book. so: this.


then there’s this. you hear about this?




ellicott city is gone. i mean, i know there is still a place on the map that is named ellicott city, and there are people who live there and work there and own property there. and it’s an incredibly wealthy little district, so i can’t imagine the restoration efforts will be anything short of top notch. but it is not going to be the same place i’ve been going for the last ten years. i can’t process it yet. damn.

and i had tentative plans to talk to their CVB for my october piece.

yeah.

i was in ritual during that storm, which was a new and strange experience: working magic with a large group including several people i don’t or only just barely know during a significant weather occurrence of the type known to make me a little crackly with psychic energy under normal circumstances. i called air: i used a pilot pen. i uncapped the pen and wrote my invocation into the air as i spoke. lightening punctuated every phrase it needed to punctuate. thunder echoed every dread-edged premonition. i know i’m not in a good place to assess my gut feelings about Where Things Are Currently Headed In Our World, but my guts have been giving me trouble for a few weeks, now. i'm starting to think it's a microcosm talking to the macrocosm kind of thing.

then ritual ended and the main road in to our venue had flooded out: but i didn’t call water, so i didn’t feel too responsible. still sat on I-83 a half mile from our exit for an hour and a half, but one ellicott city youtube piece shut my complaining mouth up pretty damn quick. two people died in that flood. one of them was a thirty-eight year old man. ben's thirty-eight. there would've been more fatalities if civilians hadn't been forming human chains out into the roaring waters to pull people out of their vehicles.

dear paul: it's been a year.
 
 
 
[redacted]: Readingelsewhereangel on August 4th, 2016 12:42 pm (UTC)
That's exciting! And I have lots of questions, but for the moment imma start with the essentially off topic one --- where should I start with Anne Carson?
selva oscuraanonymousblack on August 4th, 2016 05:49 pm (UTC)
part of me almost wants to tell you: go to the bookstore, find her stuff on the shelf, close your eyes and make a wish before grabbing the first one that finds your fingers because that's the one you need, but i seem to remember that her stuff was in four or five different places at borders and i had to special order a few of her titles (one of my managers was in love with autobiography of red, also, so i might not have gotten a proper sense of how much she's generally stocked at bookstores.)

plainwater is my all around favorite. it was my 2009 epiphany of "HOLY SHIT THIS MIGHT MEAN SOME OF WHAT I'VE BEEN WRITING LATELY MIGHT BE CONSIDERED POTABLE BY MORE THAN JUST ME." it contains "short talks," which is arguably one of the most influential texts i've read since discovering ondaatje in the late nineties.

decreation feels like a sister to plainwater. they're both collections of smaller works.

nox is an experimental text carson wrote as a funerary tribute to her brother. it's printed on one long sheet of paper that's been folded into a book shaped box. the nature of the book demands that reading it is treated as a ritual. i think every time i've read it has been in one sitting. by candlelight, of course.
[redacted]elsewhereangel on August 4th, 2016 06:29 pm (UTC)
I have added Plainwater to my queue! I figure my problem will just be the incredibly pedestrian nature of my writing.

Also, the bookstores here are kind of terrible.
selva oscuraanonymousblack on August 4th, 2016 06:37 pm (UTC)
yeah, and what's more, the bookstores (which the internet said were COMING BACK because BOOK SALES HAVE BEEN HIGHER THAN EVER IN 2016) haven't exactly recovered as much as the industry is saying it has after the late aughts/early teens closed so many doors. oh, bookstores.
[redacted]elsewhereangel on August 4th, 2016 02:29 pm (UTC)
Could you tell me more about the 31/31 challenge? Caution: I may re-use it to get myself going.

selva oscura: [mom] boys and girlsanonymousblack on August 4th, 2016 06:09 pm (UTC)
it's a little like nanowrimo, except not. thank goodness. the idea was to produce something creative every day in the month of july, no requirement for genera. one person was planning on doing a month's worth of erasure pieces, someone else turned in a week's worth of quilts. a lot of us were contributing fragments of larger pieces each day, though i also sneaked in an android poem, a 100 word piece, and two lyric essays, one of which was about the two years i worked as an art model. if you were able to get something in at least 20 out of the 31 days, you secured a spot in the upcoming write like you're alive anthology.

if they do this next year, would you like me to recruit you?
[redacted]elsewhereangel on August 4th, 2016 06:32 pm (UTC)
Maybe? I feel like I'd fuck it up. I honestly don't think I have any creativity left, but I've been compelled lately to write anyway (see terrible but surprisingly revealing paper journal). I'm hoping it turns out to be like a well -- it's lovely if you find a stream, but sometimes it takes digging to hit water.

Can we revisit this discussion (repeatedly, probably)?
selva oscuraanonymousblack on August 4th, 2016 06:41 pm (UTC)
YES

you have NO IDEA how resonant this comment is.
selva oscura: ((something))anonymousblack on August 5th, 2016 04:16 am (UTC)
i've been thinking about this tonight, and one of the things i discovered was that i needed to write out some of the stuff i had stewing inside of me that i'd long ago written off as escapism, because that was the action i needed to take to start biting through the creative block i've been struggling with to varying degrees since i moved to baltimore. i'd written off so many ideas because i saw writing it down as escapism, which is like, resistance 101 shit. "no i should not write that because it's stupid, it's self-soothing dribble, i'm self-medicating with prose."

thing is? yeah, okay, so i done some hefty "self-medicating" with prose. if i sent you a piece that was based on a fantasy and another piece that was me working out a messed up nightmare i couldn't shake for several days... you would be able to tell the difference. my father would initiate paperwork to have me institutionalized. it would be an overreaction, probably. but that's what i needed to prove to myself by pretty much strong-arming myself into writing out some of that "immature escapism" i've been so afraid of just typing out: none of it was escapism. all of it simply went back to the very emotional issues i blocked myself up with by refusing to face. so of course i convinced myself that writing any of it out was a bad idea.

the scariest fucking part of it? i didn't want to look at any of it so i equated the misery of my creative block with adulthood. it ain't so. believe it or not.

two years ago it was mostly me and a paper journal, spinning my wheels. it's been a slow improvement, and there have been setbacks, but i've finally seen the other side of this damn block. it's possible. i wish i could help you more than this endless bunch of words, but that's what i finally figured out: it is possible to surmount even a seven-year or longer creative block. it might just be that you have to do exactly the thing you don't ever want to do in order to get there. but, as it turns out? it wasn't as bad as i thought, once i'd done it a couple times.

♥ !!!!!!
translucentflowerfalls on August 4th, 2016 09:04 pm (UTC)
oh man this has been my goal this year (with my life, really), to just do something creative (movement, art, photography, or writing) every dang day. but access each day with heaping doses of compassion because some days: just, no. nothing left. and move on to the next day.

I guess I'm hoping it will be like morning pages, but with more cross-pollination and flexibility so I actually stick with it.
selva oscura: [rs] brideanonymousblack on August 4th, 2016 10:38 pm (UTC)
i will definitely tap both of you if they do it again next year! unfortunately, i didn't understand until we were a week into july that it had been open to people besides previous zoetic contributors or i would've posted an invitation to a screened group of writerly types on facebook, at least. i suspect if i'd brought a friend on board with me i might have done a little better with morale, especially those last couple weeks.

k, did you see the fragment from the eurydice/orpheus book i posted on fb on 7/20? if you're currently avoiding fb don't worry, i might repost it here.