Friday, April 23, 2010

Giddy Friday

Today's Mood: Hmm, exhausted by giddy that it is Friday = slaphappy? Today's Music: Random Shuffle. Today's Writing: IFFY (of course--still working on the 2 pages for today--can I count the blog as well?) Today's Quote:
"What's the most positive thing you could tell writers today?" "That it really matters that they write." --from the May/June 2010 Writer's Digest interview with Anne Lamott.
It's Friday! I can't believe I made it! This week I swore I was going to do a better job at getting up on time so my writing didn't get cut short. The alarm would ring and I'd hit the snooze, still more asleep than awake. 9 minutes later. The damn alarm. Again. This time I'd scrub my eyes, groan, even thrash about and change position. Five more minutes, I'd promise, I'll get up in five. more. minutes.

I did manage to drag my sorry, tired body out of bed 15 minutes earlier than last week. 15 minutes. That's all I could manage. Then the one day the cat had thrown up during the night (can't believe I didn't hear that!), so there went my hard-won 15 minutes, cleaning up cat puke.

It was great to come home on Thursday and read the interview with Anne Lamott. To be told--by a great writer at that--that it mattered if I wrote. Made my day. Made me re-commit to writing every day. I mean, writing 2 pages a day, not just tapping out two sentences only to delete one if not both of them.

And I can't believe how true it is that when I make the time--the story is there. The characters show up. I took my shower last night, so busy thinking about the scene I had been working on just prior, that I all of a sudden realized I didn't know if I had shampooed, conditioned, or both. Then another idea occurred to me (about the beginning of the story). I got out, grabbed a towel and went to jot it all down in my journal before I forgot.

This week I realized I cannot do my best at everything at the same time. This therapy moment might have come about when my youngest daughter asked me, "If you could pick another job, what would it be?" Me: a writer. Oldest daughter: You already are that--it's your second-hand job. (isn't there a passage in the Bible about not letting the one hand know what the other is doing?)

So okay, I give. Uncle. I cannot do my best as a librarian, a mom, a writer, a wife, an exerciser (not sure that's even a word, but I certainly don't qualify for exercise guru or exercise nut), a housekeeper, and a cook. In fact, I'm pretty sure I only have the energy to do my best at one thing at a time. Don't know if I should assign days--oops, sorry honey, today's my day to do my best as a writer, not as a wife--or maybe just settle for doing everything okay.

Good thing Anne Lamott urges me to write those shitty first drafts. Now that is something I can do.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Writing pure

Today's Mood: contemplative. Today's Music: IFFY playlist. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:
"Writers need to be like Zen students. We require Still Pond. That is, psychic space in which nothing else is happening. If you're a frantic scheduler, it's likely you're carrying around the Burden of Being Everything to Everyone." -Heather Sellers, Chapter after Chapter.
I've been reading poetry lately in an effort to prime my writing pump. (Which must be working to some degree because I am writing--of course, that could also be due to having writing group (which means I have to have something to share) or Spring Break)

I came across Billy Collin's poem, Purity. At first, I liked it because it was funny. Funny to me anyway. It starts off talking about his favorite time to write--"in the late afternoon, weekdays, particularly Wednesdays."

Then the poet goes on to detail exactly how he goes about writing. Always interested in hearing about someones writing process, I read the poem very seriously.

Get a fresh pot of tea--Hey, I do that!
Take off clothes--okay, that's a little weird. Cold, too. But whatever works.
Remove flesh and hang it over a chair--Oh, so, this is metaphorical. He probably doesn't really take off his clothes, either.
"Finally I remove each of my organs and arrange them on a small table near the window."--I like how he doesn't want "their ancient rhythms" interfering with his writing.
So he's now ready to begin, nothing but a skeleton at a typewriter--whew, what's the pub. date on this? 1991. Okay, yeah. Bet he uses a computer now.

And then comes the stanza that cracks me up:
I should mention that sometimes I leave my penis on.
I find it difficult to ignore the temptation.
Then I am a skeleton with a penis at a typewriter.
Okay, that picture in my head is so funny I have to go down and share it with my husband. He thinks it's kind of weird. Mildly amusing, but weird.

Collins goes on to explain how he writes "extraordinary love poems, most of them exploiting the connection between sex and death."

I think about that for awhile. Sex and death. The primitive drive for life, or continuance of life, and the unavoidable journey toward death.

The poem continues, and the poet talks about how he eventually removes his penis too. "Now I write only about death, most classical of themes in language light as the air between my ribs."

It doesn't come to me until later that Collins is talking about the process writers undergo of getting outside of themselves, their own preconceived ideas, thoughts, experiences. And maybe, truly the hardest part is getting outside of our perception as males or females. I suppose I see things in a certain way because I am female--and often I am unaware of how that influences what I perceive.

Do you think it is important to try to step outside ourselves as we write? To take off our clothes, hang up our flesh, remove our organs--maybe even our sex organs? Is this even possible?