The ice sheets roiled up, the glaciers and jagged mountains blinding in the distant midday sun, all of it intermittently obscured by the wild tossed seas as we descended the immense trough and then rode back up, the terrifying magnificence there again.
I had come out to this vastness because I had failed at life. I was unable to moderate. Or so she said. It was immoderate of me to reply to a “friendly reminder” from work with a “go fuck yourself”, immoderate to have another when I had so far to drive, and most definitely immoderate to call her a bitch – worse actually – when she told me about her friend who had never thanked her for the thank-you card. “Never replied,” were the exact words, but there’s no point in going over that again.
I was adrift now, alone with my failures and losses, just as I had predicted too many times in my head. The rocks and ice were my only buddies now. I couldn’t even get a signal to watch the game..
My first blog post, 1,790 days ago, was on Christian Marclay’s The Clock.I have posted 999 times since, each somehow related to “my writing process”. Notes on The Bachelorand Hurricane Sandydrew the most traffic. Details of my actual process attracted the least. What’s next?Another 1,000, I guess.
On first glance, Ilulissat, Greenland and New York City seem worlds apart.I have come to learn, upon further examination, that the assumption is inaccurate.
One commonality is that both places offer non-stop action. New York has 24 hours of lights and hype.Ilulissat has 24-hours light and calving ice. Taxis dominate each locale.As do throngs of tourists. One thing I will have to admit is that the graffiti in Ilulissat can be more direct.
Writing retreats, like writing conferences, are con jobs. If you want to write, then you should write. And here’s how you can retreat yourself:
a. Find an isolated place – hopefully a key setting in your book – and go there. b. Give yourself time, more than you think you might need, at least 10 days.
c. Arrive and unwind. Don’t worry about writing on the first day. d. Create a routine on your first full day – and allow yourself to break it.
e. Never get too down (or up) on your work. Just keep writing. A few words is enough.
f. Be active. You have to get out and circulate your fluids.g. Entertain yourself. Good books are the best, films too. (Just remember that connections – phones, internet, TV – are absolutely vorboten.)
It is all very well while there are those who remember and mourn the dead, but soon they too pass away; the descendants only know of him by hearsay, so they are hardly likely to grieve over his death. Finally, all ceremonies for him cease; no one any longer knows who he was or even his name, and only the grasses of each passing spring grow there to move the sensitive to pity; at length even the graveyard pine that sobbed in stormy winds is cut for firewood before its thousand years are up, the ancient mound is leveled by the plough, and the place becomes a field. The last trace of the grave itself has finally disappeared. It is sad to think of.
(From Kenko’s A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Tree)
Fitz is a go-to character in Anori:“To my mind, the philosopher types all died in the Renaissance and that.”
It seemed obvious that he would be a player in a prime scene in the book, something that’s got everything – sex, police chases as well as furious angst. However I realized that Uncle Ralph is the one who belongs in the scene; he’s family and makes Dee understand what she will be leaving.
And so, as much as I love the witticisms of Fitz, I had to expunge him from the great chase scene in New York.
He was transported to Greenland instead, where he will watch the ice melt and wax melancholic about the great ships launching into space. “Good seein’ ’em go. Now we can have a bit of the peace and quiet.”
No travel bags, no shopping malls, no candy canes, no Santa ClausNo traffic jams, no ice and storm, far in the house the fire is warm
Oh, I can’t see the day when we’ll die but I don’t care to think of silenceFor now I hear you laughing, the greatest joy is like the sunriseI’ll come to you, I’ll sing to you like it’s Christmas in the room
I’ll dance with you, I’ll laugh with you like it’s Christmas in the room.
A certain malaise descends on me at this time of year. It is not so much the growing dark – although I am sure that plays a part – so much as the descent into the ‘holiday’ season, a time of year synonymous not for giving and family but for greed and accumulation. Human nature does not have a positive connotation for a reason; it just isn’t good. We take and hoard until we can almost forget what we really are, even if is for just the briefest of moments. We say things and make promises, actually believing some of the profundities we claim…. but there is nothing of substance, just the shell of something half-built, the world always the same as before. The slogans and liquor wear off and we are as we started, creatures who want more.
Aeschylus, Shakespeare and Saramago have had a few things to write about this, but in the end they’re just words, like these, read and discarded on the road to the next thing, the next electronic gadget.
And so, yeah, I can feel a little low – as Black Friday et. al. approach – and dream about the darkness in Greenland, being alone with the aurora borealis and nobody else.