writing slowly…

I’m only 50 words into today’s writing, and it’s plodding. I had half-seriously wanted to finish today. At least the melodies of Her Space Holliday are spilling their magnificence into my eardrums.

I am all choked up just now thinking about how subjective satisfaction is. My life is far from satisfying to me, yet I am privileged in so many ways. I think it’s somehow better to stay dissatisfied, in general. At least it helps with productivity… or does it? I have no idea if it’s my lack of satisfaction that truly inspires my writing.

I can’t think straight right now. I was going to maybe leave Iowa today, and drive home tonight, but now we’ve decided it’ll be better to leave early tomorrow. It was mostly my thinking about car-productivity that did it. If we drive in the daytime, there will be sunlight, and we’ll all be able to read and do other things in the car. I need to start a new book. I brought about five of them with to Iowa, but I’ve hardly had time to write, much less read.

I gave my aunt and uncle from Chicago a copy of Photocopies and Staples. I need to remember to put that online one of these days. Or anyway I mean to.

an agate spine

smooth stones lie under her skin
curving up the middle of her back
a serpentine shape, reptillian curve
closer to one shoulder blade than the other

a wicked sicle shape across her back
full of both harvesting and death
the metaphors of her spine send slithering shivers
clear into my own agate spindle

we are sepparated by hundreds of miles
away with family, I contemplate the supple
softnesses of her back’s skin, her spine’s cradle
the weary muscles where I long to give attention

it is a clear morning ambush, her snake
waiting for me in the grasses of memory
between those ripened blades, a softly
winding riverbed, lined with agate stones

on track like a tic-tac

Two thousand words per day. That’s what I’ve got left on my novel. I can do it, I know I can. I had my doubts until yesterday. But now I know I can do 5K in a day, I’m hoping to do it again, and finish up a bit early. I’ll be driving six hours per day both tomorrow and Sunday, so it’d be nice to finish early.

I even spent about half an hour yesterday (the same day I did 5K!) to write an outline for the next few sections. I don’t quite think they’ll bring me to 50K, but it’ll be close. There is a big climax in there, but I’m not sure it’s “the climax”, if you know what I mean. I explained this to Nate this afternoon, and he said “oh great, it’s going to be one of those novels where I’m thinking they don’t have anything left to wrap up, but there’s still 50 pages left.” I don�t think it’s going to be quite that drastic (you’ll know there’s still some shit left to happen yet), but I do hope things calm down a bit after I get through this part. Actually, what am I saying?!? This is action and adventure, baby. Things are gonna stay NOT-CALM right up to the end. (No, I don’t know what I’m talking about either. Excuse me please, I’m tired.)

Vacation time always flies by, of course. I’ve barely felt like I have time to write in the novel, and yet I’m supposed to be taking things easy right now.

I saw a sneak preview of The Last Samurai tonight, and it was FUCKING AWESOME. I know it doesn’t come out for a week or so, but when it does, your ass better be in the theater. I found myself comparing it to crouching tiger hidden dragon afterward–I thought it was THAT good. (no flying kicks or anything though… this one went in more for the realism.) The comparison is purely emotional though… the movies really had nothing more to do with each other than kick-ass fight scenes, and intense drama.

In the car ride home, I wanted to think a lot about the notion of honor, and especially as it applies to my life. (I didn’t really have time though, so here’s some thinking-in-blog.) I strive for complete honesty (knowing that I fail in certain aspects of my life–notably my work environment, where honesty is not a very respected commodity), and I think it is as much for honor as it is for anything else that I insist on my honesty. It is for my honor, I should say.

But I went to dictionary.com just now, and I realize that the word itself is as much fractured as the concept I am trying to describe. The American Heritage dictionary definitions don’t even mention self-respect. In the definitions it gives that are closest to what I’m talking about, honor is dependent on someone else! Webster’s seems to have it closer to the way I’m thinking about it–an internal notion of rightness that is dependent on notions of self-respect and self worth. Your honor is the value you place on your own life and your own opinions and actions.

How does this antiquated concept fit in with the notion of the postmodern self that I hold in such high regard? If your values and opinions are constantly fluid, how can you find honor in there too? I think post-modernity (as it applies to notions of self) assumes a subjective “correctness” in any given situation… and the notion of honor assumes an absolute correctness. Or maybe not… maybe it is only absolute as far as the individual is concerned. Yes, that is better… As long as I do what I assume to be the correct thing in any given situation, my honor is retained.

I was just trying to figure out what word means a word with multiple definitions. I know there is a word out there that means this… the only way I could think to look for it was google. Then I thought, I’m sure I could just search the definitions on dictionary.com… but no! You can’t even search definitions (as far as I can tell) at all!

untitled from Paul Celan

“O little root of a dream” –Paul Celan

its cellar is this thought
gold apple twilight
we are a basement in depravity
debasement in a praying city

morning is the freshest time
plum sticking fingers to lips
to thoughts too new
streaming from unconsciousness

a small man stands on shoulders
forked tongue, halo, acrobat,
mind fresh cement, mind fresh cemented
this line permanently etched

O poem I contemplate thee
fingers crossed behind prickly head
legs crossed, brows v-furrowed
slight frown set seriously

dream flower petal
‘loves me not’ as velvet
prophecy from a little death
feet clutching tightly to the earth

fear and loathing in la novela

I am deadly serious about the novel thing. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do with my life. Unfortunately, this novel sucks total ass. I’ve just got to finish it, and I can move on to something more interesting. I could try desperately to make this interesting, but so far, no ideas have come to mind. Actually, writing this, something has surfaced… an idea I hadn’t thought of, but seems so obvious that I’m sure all of my readers would have expected it to go this way in the first place.

Weird how there are just SO many possibilities with a novel in terms of plot… I seem to always be reading predictable ones, and I wonder if their authors felt the same way I do now, like they just discovered this plot, even though when I read their work it seems trite and ill conceived.

That’s part of the problem, of course. There are too many possibilities. These last few days, every time I sit down in front of the keyboard, I get stuck thinking about whether the direction I’m taking the characters will further my plot. I sit there for literally hours just thinking about this. What’s the best story? What’s the best story I can squeeze out of this so-far meaningless heap of words? I have to let go. I knew this, and know it, but it’s much harder than actually doing it. It’s hard to write without consequences.

I know that if I write a bunch of BS, I’m NOT going to want to go back and edit it later. I also know that if I write a bunch of BS, but it at least ties itself up into a story I can be semi-proud of, even if I’m not proud of the words themselves, I’ll be much more likely to go back to it. It’s these two know ledges, juxtaposed, that are keeping me from writing. I have to put them both behind me. I may write BS, but who cares??? This thing is just for me, much like this blog being just for me, and my poetry being just for me.

One of the other NaNo-ers I met at the “gathering” last Saturday (hard to believe it’s been a week) was talking about how she felt modern poetry was just masturbation. I agree completely. Poetry is for the poet first, and reader second… it’s the style and beauty that have opportunity to come out of that masturbation that are enjoyable by readers. And, by and large, let’s face it, most readers of poetry are poets. The market is just that slim.

Anyway, I have to think less, write more. I keep saying it, but today I’m going to try really hard and just do it. Damnit, I wanted to be to 35K today. That’s a long way off.

mid-week frustrations

Last night’s writing didn’t go so well. I guess I was “distracted” by laura when I got home, and then I HAD to pay bills, (seriously) so by the time I was “free” for the evening, it was already after 11:00.

Three days in a row I’ve tried to finish the previous day’s writing in the morning when I get up. This morning was the worst. Not only was my brain as foggy as it is most mornings, but words seemed foggier still. Yesterday’s word count was only 1249 total. I think I had 800 last night, and that means I did about 450 in a half-hour this morning. That’s still pretty good, but maybe I had more than that from yesterday, I’m not sure.

I guess it’s not the worst day’s total I’ve had. (I put up a link to a list with each day’s total from the novel page itself.)

My plot is not really working itself out as I’d hoped. I wrote in a “bad guy”, but now suddenly “the corporation” is becoming the bad guy. So where does that leave my other bad guy? It’s like one plot line wants to be this huge society-wide conflict, while another plot line wants to just be some kind of murder mystery set in outer space. I know it’s early yet, I’ve still got about twenty-one thousand words to go, but I have to try and tie them all up together somehow. *sigh*

mindblurbian memory

quick trip on the zip ship
deep brain sunken treasure troves
old school, hard knocks style.
Marianna trenches of memory drudged
I’m a sea-farer, lost in ripples,
believe it or not.
surfs up, on a crystal-tip,
sea legs used to wooden planks
full up to “here” of fish tanks
swimming with skanks
washed up on an over-active imagination-bank
re-living my mistakes,
four paces to the west or east?
re-living my “dem’s ‘da breaks”
a case of the lonely shakes, beats,
running my fingers like mud rakes
through the forehead coral reef.

think less, write more.

Last night I failed to make nanowrimo a priority. I started writing around 10, or even 10:30, and at midnight, I still only had 700 words or so. I was then in and out of consciousness in my papasan chair until about 5am. This isn’t the first time this has happened!

Fortunately, I woke up this morning, groggy, but full of words, and I quickly brought that 700 to 1900 in less than a half hour!!! How I performed this feat while still blurry-eyed and half in the clutches of my sleep-deprivation, I do not know. But perhaps what I need is more of that. Less thinking, and more writing while sleepy, drunk, or otherwise out of my head. On this subject, I found this article quite topical this morning. (And absolutely fucking hilarious.) I’m raising my glass to Modern Drunkard Magazine.

weekend stories

This weekend was incredible. Just after my last update, I started reading the NaNoWriMo forums, and discovered that many fellow nano-ers were meeting in a coffee shop at that very moment. (2pn on sat afternoon). It was to celebrate the halfway mark. I was surprised at how few of the people there (including myself) were not yet at the halfway point. I could taste it though–21,000 words as of that afternoon. I’m going to have to pick up the pace in order to finish on time.

I was also surprised at how many nano-ers were festies. With one exception, everyone I talked for any length of time to at this thing was renaissance festival employee, or had been in recent history.

In the reading department, I heard back from DrFrag, and he won’t let me read any more of his novel than he’s already posted online. Oh well. This weekend I also began re-reading Vurt, by Jeff Noon, which I’ve always considered one of my favorite novels. I’m not finding it as instantly successful as I did the first time I’d read it, but the prose is beautiful, and it is still remarkable for many, many reasons.

Sometime last week I started getting The Writer’s Alminac in my email inbox. In general, I think he picks some awesome poetry. And the factual information is quite interesting as well. Anyway, I found out today that they’re published on the weekends too! (Which means that I had three poems to read this morning.) There was also this quote from writer Chinua Achebe in his book Anthills of the Savannah (1987).

. . . [It is] the story that
can continue beyond the war and the
warrior. It is the story that outlives the
sound of war-drums and the exploits of
brave fighters. . . . The story is our escort;
without it, we are blind. Does the blind
man own his escort? No, neither do we
the story; rather it is the story that
owns us and directs us.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking a lot about story lately, and this struck me as quite interesting. I’m at the point in my novel where I have to decide if there are going to be warriors… or if it’s more of a detective type thriller. I can’t quite decide. The scope of the novel will depend on my decision.

One more thing about this last weekend: Last night, Laura, Nate, Jason and I went to this art show/gallery that my brother was in. He had a wall of his stencil/collage art hanging. It was in a tattoo shop, and they had a DJ. It was pretty awesome if you ask me, and I ran into a bunch of old mutual friends. I bid on two of his pieces, and am not quite sure when I’ll know if I won them.