Blog #1,000

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 Bachelor and Hurricane Sandy drew the most traffic. Details of my actual process attracted the least. What’s next?Another 1,000, I guess.

The Sister Cities of Ilulissat and New York

On first glance, Ilulissat, Greenland and New York City seem worlds apart. IMG_5007Manhattan skyline (6)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.Columbus 011Ilulissat has 24-hours light and calving ice. IMG_4980Taxis dominate each locale.20150722_072427Cab TwoAs do throngs of tourists. IMAG352720150712_163552One thing I will have to admit is that the graffiti in Ilulissat can be more direct. 20150715_211435

Do-It-Yourself Writer’s Retreat

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. 20150712_183507b. 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. 20150712_214902d. 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.20150716_174440g. Entertain yourself. Good books are the best, films too. (Just remember that connections – phones, internet, TV – are absolutely vorboten.)

h. Plan the next one.IMG_5064

Ice Friday: Kenko

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. 20150714_155446Finally, 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. 20150714_155441It is sad to think of.

(From Kenko’s A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Tree)

Transplanting Characters in “Anori”

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. bugsHowever 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. b57d5767-8ffc-4950-a52d-7e5eda760aec-620x372“Good seein’ ’em go. Now we can have a bit of the peace and quiet.”

 

Christmas in the Room*

No travel bags, no shopping malls, no candy canes, no Santa ClausIMG_3333No traffic jams, no ice and storm, far in the house the fire is warm

20140112_135444

Oh, I can’t see the day when we’ll die but I don’t care to think of silenceIMAG2066For now I hear you laughing, the greatest joy is like the sunrise20141222_155453I’ll come to you, I’ll sing to you like it’s Christmas in the room

IMAG2060I’ll dance with you, I’ll laugh with you like it’s Christmas in the room.

(Christmas in the Room, Sufjan Stevens)

My Holiday Malaise

A certain malaise descends on me at this time of year. 20140917_183324It 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. 20141122_154013Human 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. 20140922_161653We 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. 20140921_125707The 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.

Solar-bikini-powered ipod

Solar-bikini-powered ipod

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.greenland northern lights