Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Il Penseroso

Order surrenders to chaos. Yesterday I called a woman who I hadn't tried to contact in three weeks. I hadn't tried because none of my earlier correspondences had been replied to, and in this era of meta-communication, that non-communication communication generally means in our society either a) there's been a tragedy, and the person just needs some time or b) They're just not that into you, but they'd rather not let you know directly. I really thought that I had gotten it, too, had internalized that They wrote a book about it, after all.

After dinner with a friend, I told him "I think if I let myself believe that's how people are, a part of me is going to die," like the guy who says he doesn't believe in gravity: clearly it is a fundamental constant, he simply has chosen his battle poorly. Or maybe it's something else. After all, I'm similarly rejected in that manner all the time. Submissions sent off with SASEs find themselves trapped in limbo forever. There never has come that fateful day that one or more of them have come sliding into my mailbox, each of them with separate epics to tell.

So today's battle is with the impossible. As ammunition, I can say that also on yesterday each of the three novels I'm working on simultaneously have hit 20 chapters. I set a pace and have stuck with it for some 10-13 weeks now. Another novel which I'm trying to edit no less than five chapters a week also is on pace, with the sixteenth edit having gone through also on yesterday. And in the midst of all of this, I have a few more story ideas that I just recently got the hankering to work on. So if the improbable or ill-advise can be accomplished, then...

It's a bit of a paradox that I am told frequently, and can admit, that my tone most often resembles the pessimistic and foreboding. My brow furrows a lot. Between Milton's companion poems, I'm definitely the melancholy one, is what I'm saying. Yet, I work from the bright bleakness cresting my horizon until it sets again and on comes gloomy night. I work, and I work because if I let myself believe that all of this was for nothing, then the rest of me would die. They say as one gets closer and closer to the ten thousandth hour, that it becomes more and more difficult to stop doing a thing and turn one's energies to something else.

I carry around a stack of folded papers that fits neatly in my back pocket. Scribbled down I have ever-lengthening lists of things I have to write about, in what order, what to include, and what details should be described in distracted, swirling lines. Most of them have numbers, which I also scratch out and then above that mark through I increase the former numeral by one. And sometimes, I forgetfully leave these slips of paper around places I go. Then I wonder what others glean from my madding tantrums in ink. Like the guy who leaves behind a confusing suicide note: he wants to be reprized, remembered even, but not for being weak, but for being clever.

1 comment:

  1. Reading the last part of this post, I had a bizarre meta-moment where it sounded to me like you were a character possibly in one of your own fictions.

    The tormented writer wages a constant battle to replenish the scraps of himself that leak out everywhere he goes.

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