Hello? Yes, mother? What’s that? You’re worried about me? Okay, me too. But…I’m worried about you too. I get that you’re into this knowing life thing, growing babies, losing your figure and all that, but that doesn’t mean…That’s what I’m saying. There’s dark matter and things like that. No, you don’t know about that. You don’t.
I know it’s not fair. You taught me about life not being fair, remember? But all this goddess stuff, I mean, it’s like father being strong and smart. He gave up on that a long time ago. Anyway, yes, my point! Watch out for Hubris, okay? And always being in control. It’s a bad look. Just saying. Love you too, Ma.
Cases of beer and champagne made the halls narrow, the wives arriving in anticipation of a cup win, one commenting that there was no way the captain would sing Karaoke at the Equivocator’s house. And no one would ever visit the Finn’s place except the Finns. I realized that the black-suited reporters were all old-time Republicans and ducked outside.
Pen and ink sketch, Goya
The space was open at the center with winding corridors and passageways off to the side. I found a bathroom under the stairs with a view of the valley, but it was packed, some of them my former students. I pleaded for them to leave, but it was a big joke and they took pictures of me as I crapped in my hands.
I’ve read a number of books by writers about writing, and two things have stuck with me over the years. Ian Fleming attested to writing five pages every day before noon so that he could spend the rest of the day swimming and drinking. (I substitute swimming with hiking.)
And Ernest Hemingway was clear in his autobiography, A Moveable Feast, to not drain the brain so that he always had something to start with the next day. In other words, if you go too far one day, you might not get anywhere after that.
Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, considered to be his greatest work, offers poignant and magnificent prose: She might have seen what had bowed her head so profoundly – the thought of the world’s concern at her situation – was founded on an illusion. She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself. To all humankind besides, Tess was only a passing thought. Even to friends she was no more than a frequently passing thought. If she made herself miserable the livelong day, it was only this much to them – “Ah, she makes herself unhappy.”
And yet the story is plodding, indeed even interminably slow. The internal struggles of Tess, which many consider to be a strength of the book, is really more of an impediment for today’s reader. I would even venture to say that the antiquated vocabulary such as “swarthy” and “maladroit” create barriers as well. This isn’t to say the reading isn’t enjoyable just that he does require a substantial effort. Maybe he needs some memes.
There is nothing like shutting up about the writing process – whatever that is – and writing instead, clattering away on who’s knows what but what seems to work right now.
There are pauses between the bursts, leaving me staring dumbly, hands dangling apelike, not thinking about writing but trying to remember the next bit and chase after that before it goes. Yeah, back to that.
After weeks of vacillating, I have finally decided on my course. I will start The Vanishing Pill. As my most generous writer friend Jennie suggested, I should just “dive into the new one”. As simple as that.
I wrote the opening on my phone: They were all beautiful people, blond and young. More than that, there was the spectacular view of the icebergs across the ocean, the cool blue late evening sky of a night that would never come. It was some idyll of a place, except that the voices were too loud, and they were speaking Danish.
The question now is which of the threads to follow, not thinking of hooks and plot points, but getting into the bog and finding the runes. It’s a messy inexact thing, to be sure. Excuses abound. But I’ll stay at it. For now.
I had a dream about a broken-down electric dog, its wiring hanging out, paneling split open, trying to climb out of a muddy hole, pawing and digging and getting nowhere. I didn’t like it.
As much as I might tend to deflect and joke about my current malaise, it’s what depression might be, realizing how pointless everything is. It’s a dark fucking cloud, not knowing what to do, which direction to turn, to carry on or not, giving up and admitting the failure. Drinking to that. It isn’t a good feeling. It’s shit.
And then it’s not. It’s something else. The light. A sound. A thought. Something to do. Not phone games or social media, but the work, things that need to be done. First things first: stuff the wiring back in and get up out of the muck.