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23 February 2016 @ 11:59 pm
you look all day, oh, you can't sleep on time  
time to write words around me in a circle. time to circle myself with words. time to embody the process of memory in this deeply flawed process. time to map out my intangibles. scan the intangible tissue. maybe we’ll find something. maybe. do we want to find something? do we want, at least, to know whatever the hell it is that’s going on? maybe we do. or i don’t know. damn that subtext! what’s going on down there? i don’t know what this thing is or why i keep doing it, but i do it nonetheless.

at least, i hope to.

that swarming, shivering nausea of wanting to create something but no spark. no concept, low or high or sober. worse still, no investment. nothing that draws me in. nothing that energizes me in the creative process. just: i should want to do this. i should feel energized by some aspect of this process. why don’t i want to do what i want to do? it’s tiresome. what’s more: it hurts. it feels like another way i’ve failed myself, my loved ones, my audience (which might only be four people on livejournal but that’s a lot better than i was doing before i was on livejournal, do not doubt), the ghost of my friend, the ghosts of several friendships, the ghost of my little gray cat. the world at large. and god, i’m so sick of feeling like this. why can’t i stop feeling like this?

i want to take pleasure in a craft again. i want to write something that stirs my passion, that makes me feel like there is a reason i, specifically, have taken up the call to write: i want to feel mystery and magic in making art, drawing together elements, invoking that power i only understand in using it creatively: i know it cannot be all there is to the creative process: refinement, editing toward (if not into) perfection, scrutiny and

all of that shit i think i’m so good at. but what good is editing when i’m starved for a spark?



okay, not “anything.” i’ve gotten quite a few unnerving glimpses into that gift horse’s infected-to-the-point-of-abscess mouth. but: there really is a wide range of plausible options before you get to camp anything. i hope.

what it was like to write those novels before i was even out of braces. up so late with the last pages, sky gone navy in the front room couch, shivering, my small body rattled with its first experience of genuine creative power. my first fix: baby’s first addiction. was i self medicating with fiction? i guess i was: it’s served that purpose for me, though it’s a lot more complicated than that. so i run the numbers: maybe a project. probably a project. something large. something larger than me. that’ll put things in perspective. right? right?!

just: what’s a project? haven’t things gotten a little too post-modern for projects? isn’t it more: work this fragment, bait that red herring, lead that white elephant out of the storage locker for a good strut around the study. because all these beautiful little pieces, they ought to assemble somehow. just keep retrying the orientation, press it in a little bit harder, maybe use the hammer, sometimes something will snap into place, sometimes you’ll find a good fit: but where does it end up? instead of four tiny word-bobbles, i’ve got two tiny word-bobbles and a third, slightly larger, slightly less manageable, bobble of words.

or 900+ megabytes of television show dialog and directives that just sit there, gradually becoming dated. i need something. i need something. i’ve got things but they might not be the right things. i’ve got things but who even knows what they are? i’ve got things: who am i to receive such things with other than unambiguous gratitude, what am i selfish? what am i stupid? what am i some kind of middle-life vortex of insatiable hungers directed at nothing in particular?

except, wrong: there is a particular. of sorts. of a fashion. i mean, not really, but then again, isn't there always? and sometimes i think i must rid myself of the mechanisms around it before it eats me alive. but i’m stupid, or self-destructive, and both, so i continue: to wallow hopelessly in that which is surely killing me. for the record, i feel that there has been far too much unintended rhyming in this non-metered text.

so: i could make it a game.

manifest younger self. arrange a little playdate. play some good music, set candles to “teenager,” write love letters to goddesses with whom i should never presume to be so familiar. play dress up: with my clothes! with ben’s clothes! except not ben's work clothes! with that one sparkly scarf i ended up by accident whoops sorry sarah! anoint myself with consecrated oils. map out the heavens on the inside cover of my favorite kierkegaard book. drink pink sparkle tea. only ever wear blue on tuesday. mark out a fairy circle with acorns and starfish, stick peacock feathers in my hair, march around with a drum and a mirror. kiss the limitless! do naughty things with the limitless! i won’t write. i won’t feel very good about the whole affair in a few hours time, either. but i could make it a game.

fill a glass-jar with single-word chits. develop a(nother) universal power deck. devise a way to reliably ink out one hundred word pieces longhand and glue trigger words in the upper margins. keep a sentence-a-day journal. a journal of objects. a journal of anxieties. a journal of bumps and feels. just keep messing around with define. start a journal in which i only write sideways. a haiku a day! a question a day! i should definitely be doing at least one once-a-day thing. what happens is i get a lot of interesting but unnecessary detritus about winter, because the thing-a-day practices might make it as far as the second week of march, if i am disciplined. oh, mercy. lordy do.

uncarved block:
the brook, the wind,
the fresh burnt field.

rain on my windshield
heavy cloud sky
moving east

and then at the same time, it’s not as dire as all that.

it never is.

might that be the problem?

music: takami - 雪の境閾
translucentflowerfalls on February 25th, 2016 12:32 am (UTC)
commenting because I checked livejournal as a way of avoiding working on writing a novel that I have talked myself into writing and out of writing and have generally spent so much more time talking to myself about it than actually composing it.

also, now that I've gotten serious about it I have people coming out of the woodwork telling me about this or that they've heard about writing, about how you have to do it every day! you have push through! amazing insights, like I had no idea about such ideas before. "You should read this book I heard an interview about it on NPR." Or I could, just, you know, write, or not write, or talk myself into and out of writing, or read livejournal. I could do that.

(also: cheers to the five of us still on LJ!)
selva oscura: commodified selfanonymousblack on February 26th, 2016 01:06 am (UTC)
i don't know. i embarked upon a novel in 1996, embarked upon the same novel in 2001, barked about the whole thing a bunch and now there are some files somewhere on my computer with some incredibly hot forbidden sex (okay, my unshocking confession: i know exactly where every last incredibly hot forbidden sex scene i have ever written is and if you could wear the megabytes off a word document just by looking at it too frequently there would not be much of any of them left) but not a lot of enthusiasm for the actual narrative, which did that thing that my writing does where some of it became very extremely uncomfortably prophetic and by that i mean not so much the parts with the incredibly hot forbidden sex. more the parts where there's sadness and conflict and death. SOLUTION: i am now writing a mss (can't so much call it a novel) that is nothing! but! incredibly hot forbidden sex! we must embrace what gifts the graces give us, correct?

anyway, that's my solution as well as my counter to those Very Responsible Daily Writing Enthusiasts Who May Or May Not Actually Be Writing Anywhere Near As Much As I Do Anyway (because even if I'm not plugging it into some kind of regimented routine or consolidating novel deal, I SURE DO WRITE A HELL OF AN AWFUL LOT EVERY SINGLE DAY): write incredibly hot forbidden sex scenes each and every day. three pages every morning. do not let that pen stop moving. if you know what i mean.
translucentflowerfalls on February 26th, 2016 08:37 am (UTC)
I do know what you mean (I think, I mean, maybe, I generally get things a bit wrong, what with distance between us being both of the physical and personality spectrum sort), and thank you, because I took time today after reading this to write what I wanted to instead of what I was "supposed" to, which is a weird construct when it is a project I gave myself in the first place? It is an interesting thing to work out, how to make this thing I love to do a part of life in a consistent, constructive, enjoyable way. that isn't just scribbles in the margins and shoved in a drawer and forgotten, but also doesn't feel like a class project with a deadline and requiring a bibliography properly formatted. that in between place? maybe with more sex. probably with a lot more. just hinting at a lesbian relationship in my story, more innuendo than anything, was terrifying for me to write, and incredibly freeing. like, ah-ha! I did that, and the world didn't crash down! maybe I could do that again? maybe in a different story! what if? maybe!

also, back to the gulfs of difference in personality spectrum between us... I have never stuck with an idea for a book past the first chapter. I would like to write a book. and I want to print it up and put it on a shelf and be able to tell myself I wrote a book, because it's a life goal I made for myself when I was 14 or so and had just finished some terrible fantasy novel, and was like, shit, I can do this, I want to do this. I can write a terrible fantasy novel. I feel like I can't move forward until I do. I wrote a play and choreographed a few dances and now I want to do this. I also want to have an art show, like I'm thinking in a coffee shop. I want to have enough art pieces to show in one place and have someone like them enough to put them up on their walls with price tags attached. that's also a life goal. I aim low, I guess? I aim at having lots of little experiences, dipping my toes into different waters. It's really hard for me to stick with one thing very long, and I recognize that that makes it hard to get very good at any of those things.

haha I just went back and read your comment, and I think I missed maybe some innuendo there? god, I'm bad at understanding Judy, but heavens, I do like to try.
selva oscura: [tarkovskiy] glassanonymousblack on February 26th, 2016 07:38 pm (UTC)
yeah, i was making a masturbation joke there at the end. but you took it and went somewhere real with it, so thank you.

there's so much to experience in life and the creative process really should be more like a "put on that costume, learn a few steps of this dance, kneed up some new incense, try a different meditation technique, see if it lights you on fire and go with it from there" thing than a "committing to your graduate thesis while in the third grade" deal. so, fuck, yes. write single chapters of books that only have single chapters. there are a lot of those floating around in the ethers. have a coffee shop art show. write one-act plays, dance behind a waterfall for two friends and your kid. if you never dip your toes in, you aren't going to find the waters that are right for you.

even within writing, there are so many directions you could take. i wrote novels, three of them, before the 11th grade. i finished some crappy teen romance from troll books and thought, hell, i could do better than that, and wrote the first section of my first book over the course of the next week. the next one was my freshman year and very loudly sublimated my being assaulted a year earlier. by sophomore year i'd come to see it as a tradition, what book will i be writing this year, right? so that was the longest one, a supernatural romance. i needed something deeper than that, by the end, i needed a style of writing outside my current vocabulary, and the next project i got overwhelmed me - i started writing it over that summer, got a lot of cool scenes, but never anything that stuck together or built up on itself. since, everything has been more fragmented. much more skilled, but fragmented. sort of my kore-getting-dragged-into-the-underworld deal with writing. it was a trip, i long for the security i felt in that process when i was fifteen, but it's not how i work anymore.

judithanese is definitely an acquired skill. i tried offering a class once but not nearly enough people registered. the course description may have escaped them. :-(

Edited at 2016-02-26 07:43 pm (UTC)
translucentflowerfalls on February 29th, 2016 10:02 pm (UTC)
"if you never dip your toes in, you aren't going to find the waters that are right for you." <<<<<

I think this is the number one thing I'm working on teaching my daughter and teaching myself it as well through that and trying to lead my example. And something I really really valued the various aunties in my life who encouraged me to try new things, let me use the nice watercolor set and sit next to her on the lawn, to try a new style of debate, to be whoever I was in the moment because they didn't see me as one consistent person but all these new little girls they would meet on visits, so different year to year. It's harder as mom, and it was really really hard for my mom, in particular, who saw me as this little wayward will-o-wisp of a thing that wouldn't stay still and focused and needed her to keep me on track. whether or not that track was the right one for me. It took me until this year to learn to stop sharing my ideas and plans with her, which is about 16 years longer than I wish I had taken but at least I have learned! it physically pains her to hear me coming up with next and newest when I haven't finished the other and she truly doesn't understand why I don't write another play.

it's also a lot of energy lately spent re-training myself to not see it is as "failure" but as "practice" and "experimenting."

but... I never dated guy longer than three months consecutively until I met my now-husband, going on 8 years. I tried every from of dance I could until I started hula and now it's 9 years of that, every week, still going strong. so that's my goal for this year with my creative work, try to find something that sticks, at least a style of working, a time of working, a way of working and experimenting, a commitment to maybe not being committed to one thing but to making lots of things. exploring. but having some sense of an outline, a confine, a method a bit to the madness.

honestly, now that I think about it, I want what I had on LJ in college. I felt committed to this place and trying out styles of photo editing and writing and opening it up to critique, seeing what inspired feeling and response (even negative meant it hit a nerve at least!) I tried instagram lately and have pretty much abandoned it because it's so visual focused. wordpress is an echoing chamber of marketing schemes, it seems. maybe it's time to be more personal? keep it stored in word and in a box under my drawing table. make because of a commitment to myself. but... you know how that goes. we make to share with the world.

speaking of which, you care to share any of that explicit writing? is that weird to ask? Is reading that part of the course work in judithanese? ;)
selva oscura: [rollins] iron roseanonymousblack on February 29th, 2016 10:59 pm (UTC)
i've been working "crafting a daily practice" by t. thorn coyle (who is rapidly becoming my favorite author in the realm of spiritual practice). it's an eight week program around actually working the work on a daily basis. i mean, my eyes crossed when i saw that the first week involved six days of morning pages, but i got through them, without falling into any of my old traps i remember talking about with you a couple years back - i actually got something out of it, too, aside from several pages of extremely workable content. what i got was: this does not need to be the apocalypse. this doesn't even need to be a significant part of my day. i can do this and finish it and use what's usable and appreciate the rest of it as an evolving process. part of that is because coyle sets you up with some handy initial meditations (and i know my own limitations, so i make allowances for occasionally needing to pause the pen if i smell the shrieking drama banshees closing in - which i didn't! for more than a week! it was pretty fucking cool.)

lemme see what i can pull together for you.

(Anonymous) on February 25th, 2016 03:36 am (UTC)
"it never is " is right but at the time it sure feels like it.
I made the mistake of coming late and reading from the past to the current and one thing I can say is you got a lot of nerve writing that beautiful little pastoral that I'm still weepy eyed over and then claiming you can't write.
I see part of the problem with your mention of Soren. Reading that in the height of winter is like wolfing jalapenos with a bleeding ulcer.
I like this. I like not knowing whether you are serious or playing a well structured satirical trick. Either way it works.
And just for the record. I am not on LJ so you're down to three.
selva oscura: [magritte] searchinganonymousblack on February 25th, 2016 05:43 am (UTC)
i can write! i know that i can write. i can write real good. and my partner was a grammar tutor in college, so nobody even knows that i barely understand how grammar works. ;-)

there's doing the good writing vs. taking pleasure in being able to do that. and the thing is, that SHOULD NOT be a VS. thing, that should be a "feeding into itself" thing. like it has been in the past, like it needs to be again. otherwise, it's going to go like the drawing did, when i was a teenager: i had some chops, i won things, got into some art schools i couldn't afford.... and spiraled into a slow meltdown that left me completely burned out on drawing halfway into my first year of college.

it does not matter how good i am at it, if it becomes a chore, if i start to hate doing it, my days with any craft are numbered. drawing crashed and burned because of stress and bad social connections, but mostly an undiagnosed depressive episode that i managed to pull out of - with my life, at least? so losing drawing to that seemed like a lesser evil, but i'm seeing, only now! twenty-two years later! that it is the STUPID MECHANISMS i surround the craft with that need to go, not the craft itself. hence my focus this year, arguably my imbolc pledge, involves investing myself in the process again. having some fun. whooo, right? i'll let you know how that goes.

we watched tig notaro's new hbo special a few weeks back and i realized that what i really like about her (besides this episode of this american life airing, i shit you not, the day of my cancer diagnosis) is how she performs thought experiments on her audience - well structured satirical tricks would also be a fine description. she'll walk you through your thought process in incredibly insightful ways. ben confesses that she reminds him of me a lot. so maybe i could be tig notaro when i grow up. something to work for, anyway.

thank you for the reading advice. think i'll stick with anastasia books for now.

Edited at 2016-02-25 04:52 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on February 25th, 2016 11:23 pm (UTC)
First a word about any advice from me - ignore it, run from it, flush it, but under no circumstances take it seriously.
Was not familiar with Tig Notaro . Listened to the clip. That is one bold risk taker. The only other human that comes to mind is Andy Kaufman. I need to get out more.
I have full confidence in your path and I like the notion of fun as a bonus.

Spring is near, a good chance to sweep those pesky mechanisms out and as long as you have your cleaning clothes on you can see if there is a baseboard under that grime at my place.