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.
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.”