Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A knowing nose

I guess it would be difficult to say that I'm back on track with a late blog. But in my country, yesterday was a holiday? Yeah... that seems like a weak excuse to me, too, especially since I didn't really do anything yesterday afternoon. Although, I did edit the three chapters written during the weekend and felt really good about them. Saturday and Sunday had the same kind of rhythm as yesterday and I deliberately took my time because I had it to take. I think strong finishes to novels are just as important as strong starts (not for getting published, but for the sake of the story being thoroughly good). So, while I can look forward to just two more weeks of writing, I'm going to press myself to take it slow, and make these first drafts read like seconds, or even thirds.

I had other reasons to feel good, too. A friend from years back whom I studied at a writing conference with got in touch with me (she was actually the only person whose contact information I went away with; if anything I've said makes me seem bad at networking now, you ought to have seen me several years ago). She had asked about including me in a journal she was doing a year or two ago, and that was the topic of conversation again. I can't remember what happened to the previous efforts, but sometimes life can knock us flat on our back, and for some of us that is a galvanizing experience. I responded to her staunch motivation with my own and sent her some things for consideration. We talked about the intervening years and where we were. I thanked her for thinking of me and she said "no, it was my pleasure. I knew you had things to say when we met, I just wasn't ready to hear all of them," which was really touching on account of her being a genius (you know the kind of person you delight in the respect of, and you try your hardest not to say anything stupid around them for fear of losing it). So that was that. It felt good to tell her about my work up on Fictionaut and how much I had gotten done since we'd last talked. I even forgot to mention the stuff I did for Bleacher Report.

Another comment I received was something to the effect of "you're always creating. It's like a faucet you can't turn off," which came after I told a friend about the latest story idea. This was the second person I'd told about the blended science fiction fantasy concept I had going (whoever is reading this would be the third). It brings to mind a conversation about convention I had with another friend. He had studied film, and mentioned to me that certain types of movies have things they're supposed to do. I, of course, had little to no idea of what he was talking about (I just figured a movie's only jobs were to be compelling and captivating), but it did make me wonder if I'm violating convention the way I write about the things I write about, and whether or not that's a productive habit. I got a similar comment from yet another friend about what I've decided to do with my twitter account, which is to say poetry. This friend seemed to imply that I had chosen my forum poorly. It seemed to me that that's what made it appropriate. The through line of all these comments seems to be that I'm some kind of crazy. Of course, my own comments about my friends might also imply that I have a lot of them. Sometimes, what one says isn't nearly as important as how one says it.

So that was this weekend. I'm happy with it, and appreciative for the extra day off. I'm looking forward to Fall vacation, which is to say the span of time between these books I'm writing and the next I will write. I actually want to take a break, and not just because I know the next project would suffer if I started it immediately. I wonder about the components of creative execution. One needs a faucet, a font of energy to be sure, but wouldn't one also need some agency to direct that flow, too, and a willing one at that? Not unlike the trunk of an elephant: motivated, it could spray all sorts of things in a variety of patterns, but fettered, it would just drip wastefully about the wise feet. 

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