Some Unstructured Thoughts on the Act of Writing Frantically

The feeling of failure, the will to quit, that shit doesn’t come from the act of writing.

The will to quit comes from the lack of basic need, food, shelter, rest…comes from the social need of “success” that is measured by the number of sales.

But none of that takes into account the notion of a successful writing session. My writing process comes in very intense outbursts of frantic writing. They come as single hours of insane typing where the entirety of the world doesn’t exist anymore. My favorite moments happen when I can’t even keep up with the words in my head. My hands can’t type fast enough, sometimes I even beat Word to it’s speed. The letters appear half a second after I typed them and a full second after they came up in my mind.

The best moments happen when I go blind on the screen and the words just come out. It’s an absolute mess to clean up but I did learn to maximize those creative outbursts in time. Making sense of the emotion, you can do that later when you mind is no longer on fire.

It’s very hard to fall into that one moment of absolute genius or madness. I think music and art is a better place for that mind frame than writing but it’s not impossible. If happens, every now and then, I manage to fall into that insane grove that only people like Trent Reznor seem to find all the time and the words come out. Weird shit comes out, very good shit comes out.

The problem with it is that more often than not, it can’t stand on its own. It’s just a piece of something that could be and nothing more. It’s a few pages at a time. I can go insane, frantic even, and shell out 1200 words in twenty minutes, that has happened. But those words won’t make any sense to anyone, maybe not even myself.

Because the mind frame I was in when I was writing so frantically only existed in that very singular moment. They can only be a collection of momentary lapses of reason.

I mean. You play a riff or you play an entire song… it may last 3 minutes. If you’re Neurosis, it will last 8 or 10 or maybe more, sometimes. That song has a few parts, 3, sometimes 4, rarely 5 or more. They repeat themselves and add on to each other and I love music. Music is absolutely necessary to the “emotion” of writing. But the writing itself doesn’t really work as répétitions of 3 or 4 or maybe 5 parts…

An album is twelve songs, an art expo is a handful of artworks and each and every one of them is perfectly valid, but a novel is a marathon, not sprint.

A novel means locking down all the feelings, the need to rest and the will to stop. A novel means writing when your body is ready to quit. It means to keep going, one line at a time, the way you count your meters at the end of a long race you’re just fucking done with.

It’s not about losing your mind onstage and feeling the single riff through your fingers like the world depended on it. Writing is a slow game and it’s strange to think of it that way, but it’s true.

It’s very, very hard to make something out of a hundred little moments of madness. Poetry works like that, songs work like that. You can put all the insanity of the universe in a few short pages, sometimes a few short words. I still think some of my best work comes in those short bursts, but the need to write novels is still there.

So you take those moments of absolute genius and you make a story out of it. I mean, A novel is 70 000 words, 80 000 words, 90 000 words. It’s ridiculous to write a novel, what an insane enterprise. Why do that at all?

I just need to do it. After all this time, the need is still there. I fucking hate it sometimes, but it’s still there.

And of course you could say “you just need to add up all those moments of pure genius/insanity. JUST those moment,” and that would make a standalone novel or story or anything else. That would be a beautiful thing and I think I’ll get there one day. I hope I make it there one day. It’s the kind of thing that can keep me up at night. CAN I WRITE A BOOK LIKE THAT?

So far I only think Burroughs has managed to do it with Naked Lunch and he probably lost his mind right there and then.

It’s getting harder for me not to go there though. I’ll admit to that. This kind of FRANTIC writing is kind of calling me. It’s a bit obsessive when I think about it. The simple act of writing is not enough anymore. I’ve filled pages and novels and it’s all fun and good, but the need to create something more than myself is still there.

I was good at hard realism and I’m still good at hard realism. But I still have this need to break all the rules again. I haven’t done that in so long, I think I’m ready for it.

I don’t know if it’ll be successful. I don’t really know at all.

Feels like this one’s out of my hands for once.

“We’ll see in a year,” I keep telling myself. “We’ll see in a year.”

Ian.

 

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Five of Bukowski’s Life Lessons I’ve Grown Old Enough to Confirm.

  1. If you got a job where you can write on the job, keep the job.
  2. If you got a woman who don’t drink the rent money, keep that woman.
  3. Most people will do nothing but chew up your time. Only keep around those who are worth it.
  4. Someone, somewhere, will be jealous of your “success” even if you only made ten bucks so far with a book.
  5. Pure, unaltered creativity is a rare thing, but there are legions of posers out there who are very talented at making people believe otherwise.

Music to Write to: My Summer 2014 Playlist

I’m in-between projects right now so I have time on my hands and not much to think about.

The first draft for “Grand Trunk and Shearer” is simmering for a week or two before I get into the re-writes.

I also have a short story in the works that’s almost done and that’s pretty much it.

As I am standing in the eye of the storm, getting ready for the next wave of self-and-not-so-self-inflicted deadlines, I needed to take a minute to recharge my creative juices.

And when I need that, I usually turn to music so I wanted to share with you my recent playlist. Of course, most of these are really old now, but good music ages well.

These songs are textured, atmospheric or have a very steady beat which has proven to get me writing faster. Depending on what mood the scene I’m working on requires, I just put one of these in loop and my brain gets to work like a steady locomotive on a railroad track.

In no particular order

National Anthem – Radiohead

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLQ9S5D_mxw

Mexican Grand Prix – Mogwai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jv64uhCIrU

Right Where it Belongs – Nine Inch Nails
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jAyfGzSaz0

Snow Angels – Mike Patton (this was cut out of The Place Beyond the Pines soundtrack and someone made a 10 minute loop out of it and put it on youtube. I find it amazing!!!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew0TZk0DVks

The Blood of Thine Enemies – Jacob Bannon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVeP4ACC2Qc

Truth – Bossk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi0jtNVs5w8

Aftermath – Tricky
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWNOzFnYCI4

Coma Black – Marylin Manson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDO2TrYdM70

This City – Plaid (Tekkonkinkreet Soundtrack)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmat3qAJ6Bk

Blue – Sage Francis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LVMSDPNObE

That’s all for now.

Take care,

Ian

Finding Your Own Way is Apparently a Never Ending Process.

Finding Your Own Way is Apparently a Never Ending Process

So I’m at home, alone, listening to the same song again and again on repeat.

If you have to know, it’s Birds in Row’s “Pilori” and these kids, ten years young than me, from France, are kicking my creative ass to the ground.

I feel like I’ve been working hard for years but I feel that I not only need to work harder, I am destined to fight more and more social pressures as times goes on.

Last year I self-published two novels and wrote one more that I am now trying to get an agent for and/or a publishing house for. I also received my diploma from Concordia University which by all means is no small year. Still I’m pissed at myself. I’m pissed because I’m 30 and I feel all sorts of social pressures and expectations are getting the better of me. Let me say this right away, if you’re 20 and you’re in a band or you’re an artist, people will not look down on you because they expect you to be done with that shit by the time you’re 30. They expect you to get back in line, get a steady job (if those exist anymore) and “realize” that your years in an aggressive band was nothing but late-teenage-rebellion.

But when you reach 30, “you better get your shit straight!” I mean, it doesn’t matter that my wife is working on some major TV sets, making fair money doing something she loves. It doesn’t matter that I can put out two novels a year and still manage to write songs, blogs and raise a daughter. The moment I get out of my circle of creative friends, people look at my like a freak just like the jocks did back in high school. Now back in high school we’d get together and play music to escape that shit, but as you’re growing up and the bills stack up, you’re force to AT LEAST get out and work which means you need to look just good enough to get a job that, if you’re lucky, won’t completely drain you emotionally.

And I have found bad jobs and now have what I consider an OK job, but it’s neither creative or interesting. And I feel like I’ve been both scared and selling myself short. I feel like I haven’t had my knuckles and hands tattooed because in the back of my head, there’s this fucked up idea that I’ll need to get in line some day, that someone will give me a better job for a better pay or some shit. And that’s not me. That was never who I wanted to be. I have spent my life being happy to piss off all sorts of authority figures. I love to get conservatives angry. I love to call bullshit when I see it. Why would I change now?

I have worked very bad jobs with truly, truly poor people. I have escaped from poverty and often feelt ashamed because of it. The truth is I was a middle-class kid who fell off the wagon, tried to get back onto it and, thanks to my family, I am not in poverty anymore. Why should I feel guilty about that? Why should I feel bad about my situation because others have not escaped it? Am I a sellout for not wanting to help anymore? I know I shouldn’t feel these things, but I do, so I guess that leaves me fucked.

When I was a teenager, I was pissed because everybody around me were trying to get me to live the way they wanted. Like everyone else, it started with the parents and the school (we never went to church) and then, even in the punk scene or in student unions, you were expected to take part in no small amount of drinking and drug use (or even abuse) and being Straight Edge, I didn’t want anything to do with that. I was even deemed to “conservative” by certain members of student unions because of my position on drugs. I never wanted to be just another middle-class suburban kid who took drugs on a weekly basis because I could afford it. I fucking know where drugs come from, who deals them, what they do to your body and you mind. I never wanted anything to do with that. Then some Christians tried to link sober living with some Godly experience. And I hate God(s) just as much as I hate drugs (they are arguably the same anyways). I work with christians, muslims and (going to Concordia) I have met plenty of Jewish people I have become friends or colleagues with. I still don’t believe in God, yet somehow, I feel that I’ve toned down my beliefs as a true Atheist in order to preserve some sense of “globalized good behavior” where you shouldn’t make no waves to upset anyone.

It’s like everything’s supposed to be equal and everybody’s happy and we should all just “live and let live kumbaya” like dancing fucking hippies. I don’t shove my Atheist beliefs in everyone’s face anymore, yet every FUCKING week, I get some religious group (whether they be Christian, Krishna or Muslim) trying to fucking convert me. Would it be seen as “religious oppression” if I openly told them to shut the fuck up and read a science book for a change? I mean, be religious and I guess you’re the slave to some God that doesn’t exist. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to know about it and I sure as shit ain’t gonna respect it.

I don’t see why I should hold back anymore. Why should I hold back on anything? My art, writing and music aren’t getting better because of it. Why can’t I get my hands tattooed because some hypothetical job may or may not hire me? Some fucking office ain’t gonna hire me. They probably won’t let me see HR or anything. They don’t want a free spirit anyways and I know I can’t shut the fuck up about how things ought to run.  Why wouldn’t I get “Born Free” tattooed on my knuckles? So I would not upset some corporate client who’d be too stupid or self-centered to realize the deep philosophical meaning behind two simple words? Fuck!

So what’s the point now?

Fuck The World!

If I have to stand alone, I’ll do it. I’ll stand against all the idiots, the conservatives and the drones, or even some of the leftist, who in some eternal quest for equality, have forgotten that we are also all unique in nature.

I won’t fucking feel guilty anymore because I want to be daring and creative. I refuse to feel guilty because I’m not fucking poor anymore or that I can manage to finish a novel while others can’t seem to get one started. I won’t feel bad or useless because I’d rather be playing music. I won’t sell myself short anymore, not like that. I wasn’t down with this shit in high school, I’m not gonna start now when I’m fucking thirty.

I was once told that I had to find my own way, and I fell in love with art in many of its forms. If I have to renew my vows every once in a while, then let this post be one of these moments.

Take care,

Ian