Thursday, March 04, 2010

Jacob And The Angel



Been writing a lot lately which makes the rest of life fall away in certain regards. David Foster Wallace wrote an excellent essay on this problem -- "The Nature of the Fun." When you are in the finishing stages of a project, you tend to let go of the reins of control. Dishes don't get done, clothes tend to be, well, butt ugly (note Michael Douglas' writing outfit in Wonderboys), phone calls are unreturned. After the whole catastrophe is put to bed (as much as anything can be put to bed as far as writing is concerned), you spend your time trying to make Humpty Dumpty fit back together again.

I'm not a natural writer. Like most people, I face all the usual resistances. Resistance is a tricky little demon that reappears in different forms all the time. Mine usually takes the form of this particular incantation -- you'll write better when . . . fill in the blank. When you've worked out, when you're not so tired, when you have everything in order, when you have flossed your teeth. I hate this motherfucking demon because it's so insidious, it sounds so reasonable. The way to work around it for me is to demand a certain page count. Weirdly, after I do my pages, those pressing demon demands don't seem at all attractive. I don't have any energy for them at all, really. The demon, defeated on a basic level for the day says, Well, since you're too tired to do anything else, you might as well write. At least you're sitting. Damn, that demon is clever! The next day is all about the same half-nelson. You wrestle with the angel and if you're as smart as Jacob, you demand something from that angel, a mark that says what you did and that it wasn't in vain.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach." — Mother Angelica

Cocktail Hour
Drinking documentary suggestion: Small Town, Gay Bar

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Thanks to all for being so patient while I pull myself out of torpor and respond to all emails, requests, etc. in the next two days. Also, I shall be wearing the new ring -- camera should be fixed in a couple of days.

35 comments:

Rob said...

wow, i just finished up writing up on angels.

Dave said...

Michelle:

Comment Moderation is for pussies!

Thanks fo taking it off.

Anonymous said...

I love the half-nelson position!--Comma Suitya

Anonymous said...

Suits me just fine!--F. Scott Fitzgerand

Anonymous said...

Ditto!--Edmund Wilson

Anonymous said...

Call off the evil monkies! You bloody MF!!!--M. B-M

Anonymous said...

A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again.--David Foster Wallace

Anonymous said...

What?--Richard Nixon

Anonymous said...

What's my line!--R.N.

Anonymous said...

Mothergooser!--One toke over

Anonymous said...

White line feevah!--Mr. Breckinridge

Anonymous said...

LINE DRIVE HOME RUN!!!!--MGD

Anonymous said...

I am a camera.--C. Isherwood

Anonymous said...

I don't care if you're a camera. I just don't think you should be bringing a white bear in here and sitting him on the bar.--Woody

Anonymous said...

Well! If that's the way it is, we're leaving.-- C.I.

Anonymous said...

Slow night.--Woody

Anonymous said...

Anybody seen Michelle lately?--Woody

Anonymous said...

Out of town.--Sean Gonnery

Anonymous said...

Hey, Sean, did she really graduate from St. Olaf's college?--Woody

Anonymous said...

No, she's an autodidact.--Gonnery

Anonymous said...

What's an autodildo?--Woody

Anonymous said...

It'll do as much as you want.--Gonnery

Anonymous said...

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking!--Bunny Easter

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bunny, mind if I sit here?--Don Key

Anonymous said...

We're closing early tonight, Bunny.--Woody

Anonymous said...

Got a light for me, Woody?--Bunny

Anonymous said...

Anything you want, honey Bunny.--Woody

Anonymous said...

Parking lot.--Bunny

Anonymous said...

We're closed, folks.--Woody

the walking man said...

Me thinks the lady is not complaining of the writing as much as she is the editing. If that be the case then I am right on board with her.

Anonymous said...

Oh! My elbow's broken!--The Caine Mutiny

Charles Gramlich said...

I used to get the demon drunk and he'd leave me alone. But turns out he has a higher tolerance than I do and his liver is harder to damage.

Anonymous said...

Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico!--Johnny Horton

Lana Gramlich said...

On the plus side, at least you probably know when you're finished with a book or story. Not so with painting, sometimes & if one's not careful, you can really totally ruin what was a nice piece of work. I've learned that...the hard way. <:(

Anonymous said...

Experience is the best teacher.--Anonymous