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.”
I rarely blog about things I’d like to get (I mean, material things) but it’s the new years,I took time to look at what I got this year and it’s pretty good (True Detective, Stray Dogs, Summer Wars, Helix, Dark Angel, Ergo Proxy)
so here’s what I hope to add to my collection in 2015 :
Evangelion 2.22 and 3.33
Aeon Flux (the original anime)
Complete my Battlestar Gallactica collection
Spin City Season 4
Maybe I’ll afford myself 2 or 3 “random” criterion collection movies this year.
Also REALLY looking forward to NewsRoom season 3.
More of the following : Murakami, Bukowski, Brian Wood… I discovered John McFetridge this year, probably will get more of his work too.
Rarer items :
Maybe a rare print from Becky Cloonan
A painting by Jacob Bannon
“White Trash” By Chris Makos
Some old Bjork, Supermachiner, Bossk, Mogwai, lots of ambient, less heavy (or heavier in a more creative way) kind of music, if you know bands like that, send them my way…
that’s pretty much it.
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
Mexican Grand Prix – Mogwai
Right Where it Belongs – Nine Inch Nails
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!!!)
The Blood of Thine Enemies – Jacob Bannon
Truth – Bossk
Aftermath – Tricky
Coma Black – Marylin Manson
This City – Plaid (Tekkonkinkreet Soundtrack)
Blue – Sage Francis
That’s all for now.
I haven’t simply blogged lately so this one’s as much for me as for the rest of you.
I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am, where I’ve been and “how far” I’ve made it in life. I’m 30 now and I don’t want to buy seasons tickets, fancy beer or a larger-than-large television to define my existence.
So I’ve been thinking and googling past heroes of mine to see what they were up to. Some are still active, some are not… most of them have done great deeds regardless of what they’re still doing now.
These five guys have been the core influence in my life, the biggest influence on my ideals of morality and intellect and here they are:
I’ve discovered Good Riddance by randomly buying punk albums when I was a teenager and boy did I land on something good.
Russ was a positive influence in my life, through his lyrics and how ‘nice’ he was on stage or in interviews. He’s the reason I turned vegetarian in the first place with the song “waste”.
2- Greg Graffin
The (often overly) intellectual lyrics of Bad Religion have been a basis for most of my work in political science when I was in College. Greg Graffin proved to me that you can be smart and be punk. I discovered them with “Stranger than fiction” and well, I’ve decided to post that song as well here.
3- Toby Morse
I had a lowpoint in my life, I think I was seventeen at the time. I was depressed and often thought about suicide. One day my dad just gave me twenty bucks and said “go have fun or something, alright.” I took that twenty and headed to the used CD store I liked best. I rea rummaging through the punk section and there were two albums I wanted. The first one was Millencolin’s For Monkeys and the second one was H2O’s FTTW. Although I picked the Millencolin album and it had a huge, positive impact on me, a week later or so, I went and picked up the H2o album and I was hooked ever since.
I picked “Helpless not hopeless” for you to listen to.
I discovered Snapcase with “Designs for automotion” – I quickly discovered “progression through unlearning’ as well and that’s pretty much what I did. I spent the next 18 months questioning everything I was doing or everything I believed in in order to re-validate or invalidate what it meant to me, why I was doing it or not. It was a hard time in my live, but it was incredibly liberating. I also credit Taberski for inspiring me to live more fully.
Here’s Energy Dome
5- Ian Mackaye
So, most of those guys I like were Straight Edge and I didn’t even know what straight edge was back then. There was no such thing as wikipedia and only some obscures websites were talking about Straight Edge or so. I ordered the Minor Threat complete discography and read the lyrics. They also had this VHS documentary at one music store I liked and I picked it up (Yes, I said pre-wikipedia and VHS in one sentence) I have to admit that I’m not a fan of the music (even Fugazi – I’m sorry Ian) even if I really appreciate the man for his spirits, attitude, intellect and overall life.
Here’s “Minor threat”
thanks for reading