Monday, October 21, 2013

Unable to write

It thought I had it. I thought I was going to be a writer for good. It was January and I had this motivation like I never had for anything before. I treated writing like it was my job: woke up in the morning and just went (and I went pretty hard). I was banging out two thousand words a day, six days a week, for almost three months. I knew where it was all going, I just had to fill in the gaps but really the gaps just filled themselves. I can hardly remember it now, the whole time is sort of a blank, punctuated by a few memories of writing. It just seemed normal to do what I was doing. Maybe it was those years of pent up energy, those years of hyper logical thinking that school forced out of me. That spot the school forced me into where creativity was a foreign and untouchable entity. Not to rag on school, that was just where I was at. So maybe then that was the initial torrent of pent up ideas, like the wave that pours from a backed up drain, a wall of water which had built up from years of a slow trickle. But after the first wave? The trickle continues as before, a drip every few seconds but nothing as massive as the initial torrent. Is that where I am at?
Since I submitted Basic Analysis to presses two weeks ago writing has been such a struggle. I've been trying a lot of different things but it is just not coming. I can hardly write this.

Normally this might not be a problem. If I had a job, or was volunteering, or was smuggling drugs over the border from Myanmar to China I would have somewhere for my mind to go, some amount of experience gained, some money to show. But I don't: I set myself up in this place (not physical place but 'situation') where I am fully 'dedicating' myself to writing, so if I am not able to write I am doing NOTHING. This keeps popping into my head the phrase "i am a nonentity" like I am not interacting with the world at all. Even when I was just sitting here and writing five hours a day and still not interacting with the world I felt like I was interacting with the world. I guess to state this another way: my physical solitude is not an issue/not that bad/a good thing if i have the feeling that there is no existential/intellectual/creative solitude. I think the worst part of this all is that I may have to get a job soon which in it self is not so bad, the bad part will be 'finding out what job i can/should/would be able to do. All my lab ties are cut off, so this area where I have all this specialized knowledge is essentially out of the question. I could get some service job or seasonal work but that is perhaps the most horrifying thing (but really I would do it, it is more that I don't want to go out and find the job but if it came to me I work go every day and work hard and eat it up for 3-5 months then get that crushing ennui and get distracted all the time and either quit or get fired or hopefully (hopefully) have the job end and get laid off et c.) Really I just sort of wish someone would just provide me with a job, like in the old days, where you would always just do whatever your family had done since the Ganga had receded, the job your last name specified you do.

That was the reason working on Basic Analysis was so good (well one reason): I knew exactly where it had to be and I knew I had to do it then. It was sort of like I was being told what to do, or where it had to go, and I was just following instructions. Things just fell into place and I barely had to think about how or where each point was going to line up. Granted the writing isn't great but the process was a wave that swept me up. This was the best part. I would just start writing, not know where I was going, and then boom there I was 1000 or 2000 words later and the novel was slightly larger, and breathing a bit more.

I lay in bed for 2 hours this morning. Something I never do unless I am with my girlfriend. I kept telling myself I had to get out of bed and start writing but nothing happened. I just lay there for two hours. Usually it will be 7:05 and I will say "Get out of bed, you need to get writing" and I get just the right amount of anxiety and there it is, but this time I kept telling myself I had to get up and... nothing. Every fifteen minutes for two hours. It was terrible. I'd just think 'what am I even going to write?' and then I'd think 'nothing' and I'd just nod off again for a minute. It makes me think back to the last time I had nothing 'official' to do and I would just sleep in till 11 every day. That was the worst winter of my life.

And maybe the wort part of this is that I'm just complaining right now but not doing anything to solve the problem. Like I could be writing a story right now but I just don't know how to write a story. It just feels like that. I just have never written a story before and all the stories I have written are not mine, like I can't edit them.

I'm reading 'A Naked Singularity' right now. De La Pava is a pretty interesting writer. The novel keeps falling from side to side, from the poles of really smart, good post-modern writing to a pretty cheesy crime thriller. His writing style can get really awkward with these poorly constructed sentences and mass-market (that's how I think of it, all snappy, like reading the script from gilmore girls where it seems like the writer is making everyone try to sound smart, except - at least in my experience - the smartest people don't generally have some snappy comeback to everything, in fact they generally speak slowly or not at all) It's like high-genre but if the 'high' and the 'genre' were separate parts of the book. Or like as if it was the same story but every other page was written 'high' and the rest was written in standard genre 'genre'. Anyways one of the good things about not being able to write is that I have been reading a lot, like I started 'ANS' on friday or thursday and I'm already on page 450 which is pretty quick for me. Apparently his second novel was not that successful, though it would be interesting to see. Honestly I thought naked singularity was going to be more difficult, but most parts are pretty straightforward (either that or I am just missing all the difficult parts).

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