Thursday, February 28, 2013

28 February 2013

          Had a rambling one-sided conversation with a writer friend today which consisted primarily of me dumping my anxieties and fears on her. She gave good advice the whole time, parried me finally by directing me to McSweeny's collection of recollections of DFW after his death. It shut me up. Had never read it before. Amazing how something can at once motivate so strongly and destroy one's ambitions, reading about this man who is towering, genius, bewlidering and yet so mundane. All these people who experienced him. It's similar to reading the gospels in a way, all these view points with their intersection points and yet each touches on different aspects of the same legendary person, which contradict and argue and glorify and bring to base. Wrote 1500 words so far today , feeling a little uninspired but working through it (or at least trying to...) She also pointed my to a transcription of a Zadie Smith talk, some 9 points of writing a novel which did that magical thing for me: gave something I thought I knew (such ignorance in thinking this) a greater depth. Smith talks about this point where the novel consumes you, becomes your world, a point where you can write down vast amounts of the novel and not even notice it. Have not found this point yet but I'm hoping it comes, it sounds pretty fucking rad.
       Difficult to work in the house, roommate working on a loud project just next door and the place so small that the noise permeates. Also temporal difficulties: just arrived back from Madison yesterday (schedule was ruined there, time zones and snow and a different bed) and girlfriend arrives tomorrow which will throw a loop into things. Signed up for duotrope in hopes that it will help me find journals to potentially submit things too. Have never understood lit journals, very few are attractive to me, all others seem affected or uninteresting or generic is that makes sense. Not sure who subscribes to the small ones (or the big ones for that matter) how they stay afloat, if anyone actually reads them. They seem more like tokens (oh so-and-so has been published in fishguts review and snarge and blark) but no one actually read these things, enjoys these things. Just like they are these blind boxes which act as a social ladder or career booster, a place to work but not actually gain anything of substance.
            I have decided I want my writing to focus on the question of "what is the best way to live, to spend our time". Even though I don't necessarily want to work in science again I'd like to apply the frame work of scientific work to writing. Like this: a scientist starts with a question, looks at all the past literature, research and work on the question that he or she may find then adds their own little piece to the puzzle. It is placing one's self in a continuum, becoming part of something greater in this sense that attracts me. I like this especially because, even if what you do it not ground breaking, world changing et c. you may influence others in the future, your little key or bit or jump can build someone else's research or work or whatever and they can point to you and say 'yeah, they helped me' I want to gather around me a group of writers whom I admire, who I can take little bits here and there that I find pleasing and effective and transcendent and combine them in new and interesting and genuine ways to create something even greater. To exploit the synergy. I don't think, by any means, that I would be the first person to do this (of course every one does this in their own way) but I want to admit it, revel in it, focus on it and work on the strengths of this particular process.

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