Thursday, October 19, 2017

Some thoughts

Read this article by Eileen Myles the other day and resonated with it, the second half anyways. This idea of not reading what you are expected to be reading and how writers need/should be given lots of time to just think about whatever and write about whatever. Fucking paradise. Also she talked about Bernhard which ignited this interest in him again. Need to get 'Gargoyles' and 'The Lime Works'.

This recognition is dawning more and more: that you only write well when you stop worrying about writing well, that you only do good work when you stop worrying about doing good work et c. et c. Not, that is, that it is sufficient to stop worrying to be productive, but it is necessary. Works that are concerned with their own quality just stick out like a wound.

Read a short story by Jhumpa Lahiri for this class I am going to be taking. It was in the Scripber anthology of contemporary short fiction and it was easily one of the most boring stories I've ever come across. 'A Temporary Matter' or 'A Temporary Affair'. The story comes off like writing that is attempting to be literary writing, like a simulacrum of a New Yorker story, like something a neural network trained on the New Yorker would spit out. Utterly soulless, like a shell of a story with nothing within. It should be interesting to see what other have to say about it, certainly a number of them will like it a lot.

Too, there was this sort of fear of writing here for a while, since no one reads this. But then, it isn't for others, this isn't for anyone else. This is just a place that my thoughts can go and sit for a long time and then be brought back up in the future. Its useful.

Have been finding interesting thoughts that do not get written down and then are forgotten. Need to just write them down, not that they are actually interesting, but the more that are written down the greater the chance that one of them will catch, that they will be returned to in the future. Its all just a lottery, its all just a game. Everything is just a game.

Ishiguro gets the nobel and Saunders gets the booker. Sort of not surprised by either but glad about Ishiguro. 'The Unconsoled' was so strange and challenging. Not that it matters. Saunders is the sort of writer that seems required right now, which leads to a sort of resistance. Read that he was a geotechnical engineer before becoming a writer which is interesting/heartening.

The old saying which is always lodged in my mind 'stupid people talk about other people, mediocre people talk about events and smart people talk about ideas' and the worst talk only of themselves. So, in an ignorant attempt to increase intelligence (through following the correllation the other way) all writing should be scrubbed on any personal identifiers. There we go. That makes sense.

One thing that frustrates is literary studies. This idea that writers have this grand plan laid out, that everything is meticulously ordered and filled with intention. Perhaps in some cases but really? How can you buy this? It posits that writers are these superhuman geniuses. But no, surely most of them are just doing it and just doing it for fun. Otherwise, why write?

Some time would be wonderful. Just a week to let it all go, to reconnoiter, to forget things. Then two months or so to work ever day. To just shut up and write and read and really delve into this work.

Some four or five hundred pages and it feels like it is just starting, that it is just figuring itself out. There must be something there, but where is it? What is it?

There are the things that I know it needs/ has:

  • Chekov's travel to Sakhalin island
  • The emancipation of the serfs
  • Simmering, Berhard-esque hatred of others
  • A Prisoner like mystery surrounding the traveler's flight from the capitol/society/civilization
  • An ash man
  • McCarthy like conversations with the peasants/forced wisdom
  • Cosmic horror
  • Cosmic horror of the Taiga and the Steppe
  • A succession of disconnect from society, in some ways carried by the 'primitivization' of the mode of transpost. Concretely: he goes from a train to a carriage to on foot (to stasis?)
  • The plague always: always on the edge, always east of where the traveler is, and the plague as stand in for mass panic and mass violence.
  • Wading into the plague for a reason that cannot be discrned. He may have a reason but we do not know it.
  • Wading into the plague without knowing it, without sensing it. It always seems far away until he is in it, and then, even though he knew it was coming, he cannot see it and that he is a part of it.
  • The gods of the taiga, sleeping in the depths of the woods always off in the distance. Somewhere, everywhere extending their dream influence, pulling him in to the dark of the far east.
  • Perhaps a character, either Fetsingcroix or Stellian who he comes across and see everything that he lacks, or imagines it. Then he follows him. Then this man comes to the plague and is a sort of plague messiah.
  • And it all comes together into one thing, all of these are one thing at heart.
That seems like everything, I think. And all the time this one character. And all the time it is just his view, we only get his view. And it should be punishing, really just relentless, endless. How to get this endless darkness without dragging it out, there has to be tension somewhere, and that has been the challenge. It just sags at many points.

1 comment:

  1. "This is just a place that my thoughts can go and sit for a long time and then be brought back up in the future. Its useful." I agree 100% , I have been recently flipping through my old notebooks and the person I was , the mindset I had , and my goals of the past, began to flutter back in to memory. I use it to forge a stronger version of myself forward. This quote also made me think of this video