Thursday, November 19, 2015

Just something to read

I have surpassed the 25k mark for my novel. I have never written this much in my life. I'm so chuffed at the word count that I'm not even especially concerned with the fact that I am going to have to basically rewrite the whole first draft! Well not rewrite it but....there is a lot of editing that will need to be done. Still, I see the ending in my head so clearly and I've never seen that before. Plus, I am making myself laugh, cry and develop back problems in the process. It is all about the process anyway, right?

At work today I helped an elderly Haitian man who is a regular at this library. He's a retired academic and speaks about five languages, all heavily French accented and he is the sweetest man ever. Today after I looked up a bunch of Umberto Eco titles for him (normally I just answer questions about why the scanner doesn't read the library card number) he handed me an envelope and said "This is a gift for you, my friend. Just something to read." I was surprised but I always welcome gifts involving reading so I thanked him and he left.

My curiosity would not allow me to wait until closing time to look into the envelope and it turns out he had copied an article about the Citadelle La Ferrier, a former fortress, now "tourist attraction" in Haiti. The article was from the Journal of American Architects in 1928 and described the storied history of the Citadelle and was utterly fascinating. I'd say I could make it a destination to visit but honestly, am I going to be able to visit Haiti, ever? On his way out he told me to save my money so I could visit one day. Also, I'm a little bit in love with the Haitian professor, as I call him in my head. Then again, I fall a little bit in love with anyone who gives me things to read, watch, listen to and learn. I've decided I want to be the type of person, when I'm old and lonely, that gives people things to read. No one will read them, of course, but I'll do it anyway.

And now, just like Mary in Beford Falls, during her unfortunate, miserable, grey, depressed spell as a librarian without George Bailey's emo angst in her life, I have to close up the liiiiibrary!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Planetarium Pangs

My surroundings are relatively quiet, that level of quiet that I can manage. Total silence is totally unnerving to me. I have to have some beacon, however faint, that someone else exists somewhere. I wish I could devote the entire morning to writing but in about two hours, everyone is coming in here to take the world up a few decibels. My first instinct on entering work today to the news that nearly everyone was at a meeting and that I'd have most of the space to myself was not to run around in my underwear screaming (though I've had that inclination more than once since starting here) but rather to sit quietly at the computer and write. I think, just like a runny, smelly Roquefort, I've aged.

I've been writing my book and so far have been pretty consistent with my word counts. I'm at about 13,000 words so far and my novel is all over the freaking place but I'm getting the story down. It is way harder than writing has ever been for me. I would much rather work for several weeks on a poem, or a few hours on a blog post than try to take a big story and pare it down and transform all the pieces into a whole.

In that spirit, I need to take a trip to the planetarium soon. I find myself wanting to look up at the night sky and actually see something other than the glare of buildings. I like that you can walk in there and there's the universe, explained, whittled down and categorized, displayed in models and maps and illustrations. I also love that I am free to contemplate endless darkness and undying light for a few hours and then step outside and do something utterly mundane, like eat an apple. The universe is terrifying; the universe with a ceiling is slightly better. Don't get me wrong, I tend to get nihilistic after visits to the planetarium. Something about contemplating that timeline that is displayed in every single planetarium in the world that draws the scale of the known universe from the big bang to the puny amount of time that all of humanity has existed demands that one lie down for a spell. Still, it does a mind some good to tap into the void every once in awhile.

So who's meeting me there?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Just F*cking Write.

The methods by which I procrastinate and find distraction truly astonish me. If I had my druthers (or if I could finally figure out exactly what druthers ARE) I would be able to remove this sense of urgency I have to do, make, show, absorb and go, go, go. A life without urgency...I have absolutely no idea what that would be like. I firmly believe that in those moments when I'm not doing anything in particular, my brain has decided to shift into self preservation mode. Because if I'm not distracting myself with diversions carnal and spiritual (but mostly carnal), I'm thinking about doing it or planning what my next one will be. This is really just no way to live, despite the fact that most people live this way.

 Right now I'm faced with one hour to further along my book, something I began last week and made significant progress on. And instead of doing that, I've been distracting myself with utter nonsense. This is likely because I know precisely how I want my story to begin and end. The plot is complete. It is the unfurling of that plot, the placement of my anecdotal storytelling into some coherent format that would make someone other than me and like three other people read it and enjoy it. It is extremely difficult for me to turn off my internal editor and just do what I'm bidden to do: just fucking write. Just. Fucking. Write.

I sincerely need someone in this room with me to tell me to stop doing anything but write. Stop shopping online, stop fantasizing about that cute guy, stop investigating random factoids like Buster Keaton's filmography (for like, 30 minutes), stop making lists of adult education courses I'm definitely going to take this winter, just stop. Just fucking write.

And I just don't think this blog entry counts. Or does it? I heard if you spend a lot of time writing about the inability to write, a tree falls in a forest and someone hears it. Or an angel gets his wings. Or the call is coming from inside the house. Or something I don't know. I just know that one particular thing doesn't happen: your novel doesn't get written.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Run from Rabbit

Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1)Rabbit, Run by John Updike
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first foray into anything Updike and I've got to say, while I truly appreciate his way with prose ( a lot of the passages in here border on poetry, usually when describing something as seemingly mundane as a trip to the corner store), I actively hated the main character, Harry Angstrom by the end of this book. He reminded me very much of someone I know and maybe the whole abandoning your family because you're all jacked up about the meaningless of your small town drudgery doesn't really gel well with my personal sensibility (the abandonment part, not the drudgery...THAT I get) but I kind of wanted to take old Rabbit by the lapels and shake him.

I just don't know if I can continue on with the sequels of this. I'd rather watch Mad Men for this kind of energy.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Year of Firsts

I do not even remotely have an answer for why Faith Hill's "Breathe" is in my head, on repeat like a contemporary country miniature pitchfork stabbing into my brain over and over again.

But it is.

In other news, work has been....nevermind. Lemme esplain. No, no too long. Lemme sup up: work has been just like having Faith Hill's "Breathe" stuck in your head with no explanation or relief. But no matter. Soon it will be Friday and then Halloween and I will be free to roam the streets of the city of my dreams, dressed like a damn fool, sneaking tiny pieces of candy bar and having a cocktail while dancing. I'm so glad I'm still so immature.

In a way I am glad I made the pretense of blogging every day this past month. Though I failed (mostly), I did get a lot of blogging done. This will be different from the month of November, a month wherein I will force myself to be absent from social media as well as my real life social life. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time and have every intention of giving it my all. This year so far has been a year of firsts for me and why not finish my first novel before we close up for 2015? Give me one good reason!

I have let the modern world and all of its infinite distractions into my brain so easily. I can't remember when it happened but it did; I'm just like everyone else now and I think it is causing me to get depressed. So this social media diet will be an interesting experiment for me. I anticipate it will give me focus and will cause my brain to seek entertainment elsewhere, a place far away from Buzzfeed and political philosophies gleaned from memes. We'll see won't we?

In the interim, it'd be nice to hear from you. Really, it would. So why not leave a comment? Here or on FB. C'moooooon.

Ok, I'm going to go speak to a medical doctor now about removing the part of my brain that can still hear Faith Hill. Bye!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Blame Updike for the Ennui

Today my star is blinking sporadically, like a dying light bulb on and off and over again. It was on at full capacity supernova last night when, after dreaming a strange and strangely disheartening dream (I dreamed of being bored, can you freaking believe that? What a waste of unconsciousness! I'm reading Updike and my instinct is to blame him for this.)  And I opened my eyes to face the darkness of my cluttered bedroom and couldn't shut them again. My brain burst with all those late night musings that present themselves like jagged pieces of a broken mirror. You know the kind? The kind in which you can still see parts of your reflection but all of it looks distorted?

Hence, my slow and methodical fading away today. I swished some iced coffee around in my mouth as I rode the subway to work, hoping to clear away the bitter taste of my version of the dark night of the soul. How stupid mine have become!

There is really no difference between my thoughts in the newborn light of early morning in bed and my thoughts in the false fluorescence of daytime, apart from what I'm wearing. Well that plus the notion that everything is a just a bit wrong. Maybe not everything but just everything I've ever done, said, written or worn. And by just a bit wrong I just mean than anything that comes from my very essence, from that place that sits right at the base of my soul and identity is useless and worthless. I awkwardly jab at the notion, that maybe I share a bit too much of myself on here and on social media.

I feel connected to you in this way but I'm not sure there really is a bridge there. I feel like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade when he's in the Temple of the Sun, standing on the edge of a cliff and not seeing a bridge there but stepping down anyway, believing he could reach the other side even though he couldn't see how. He can see it after he's already on it, after he's thrown some dirt all over it. I sometimes don't know if anyone is on the other side. And my 80s childbrain will draw parallels to Indiana Jones, as it does.

I don't really know you. Or I only know some of you. Or I've created the thing that I want you to be in my mind and assume that's how you are but I don't really know. Do you?

See? Same thoughts of a day of a night of a neurotic person. No difference whatsoever.

I spent the weekend in a house by a lake. It belongs to some friends who were kind enough to let me and my sister head up there. Originally it was going to be a whole gang of us but life is a tumble dryer sometimes and so it was just me and my sis. It was a blustery, gray weekend but the trees were still in mostly autumn splendor and though it poured down rain, being there was a recharging. I've been unable to finish the story I'm working on and, though I still didn't finish it, I made some real progress. If you make progress in a story in a house by the woods, does it make a sound?

As you can see, BEDO chugs on but the tracks are missing some rails. I've ostensibly just "blogged" by telling you that I had insomnia, drank coffee and that I have writer's block. ARE YOU NOT AMUSED?!

Spoiler alert.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Word of the Day Thoughts



Definition 1

: fully or abundantly provided or filled

a : abundantly fed
b : fat, stout

: complete

Right now I'm mad that replete cannot be a verb, but its far inferior cousins deplete and complete can be.

Today I have eaten only almonds and donuts; I am replete with emptiness.

Replete with a cadre of oversize strollers and siblings to fill them, this neighborhood will change the shape of the city.

Tinder is replete with sky diving, rock climbing, guitar playing beardos and my thumb hurts.

The cruelest trick of our collective brain is to convince that our lives will end in repletion.

Facebook brims with clever curation and my shortfall is replete.

My memory, replete and drunk, says our kiss was really big. Reality, replete and sober, sticks out his tongue and then his foot.

I stumble forward into the rest of my evening, replete and frustrated.