“The town was shut down on Sunday, but the Norwegians didn’t observe any religion except work.” – Pete Hamill
So, TC’s been writing. CG hasn’t. BP hasn’t. MK hasn’t. RP has, sort of — way more than me, at least. I haven’t.
If only the world had figured out a way to spin the blogging renaissance into an even slightly-paid gig; I mean, it wouldn’t have to be much to compete with pottery money, which is so bad it’s almost a joke.
Well, I should say that I actually have been writing a lot, just not here. Burning up the wires with Witt the last few weeks, sending our now-patented, rainbow-splashed, seven back and forth email exchanges, each one growing longer and thornier with inline replies to previous replies to previous replies. We cover a ton of ground there, much of it good, and I wish I could find the inclination to parse out the good parts and paste them here. But I hesitate to out those ideas hatched in safe privacy — by either him or me — publicly. And, like with houses, it’s so much easier to start from scratch than figure out how to rennovate.
Also in my studio notebook — I don’t call it a “sketchbook” or a “journal” anymore, both of those terms having become overwrought or too precious, to the extent that they actually scare me off from picking up a pen and using them. No; after about two decades of buying fancy, hardbound, 8 1/2” by 11” books, with thick, slick paper and all the trimmings for my studio notebooks, and then watching them slowly just stop getting used (because of that overwrought preciousness, I mean), I took a stab in ’14 at the cheapest, simplest, smallest thing I could get at Target… possibly something I casually threw into the cart on one of our annual trips for Pixel’s fall school supplies. And, weirdly, that seemed to do the trick: without the fanfare and bells/whistles of the fancy books, it seemed easier to just fucking write. Especially first thing on a studio morning, after I’ve either (seasonally depending) opened all the windows and turned on the fan or revived the fire in the stove.
A second change helped there, too, which was turning off that same decades-old habit and/or expectation that I was writing “for the record”; something that was legible and conscientiously accurate and that I would read later on for some sort of guidance or memory trigger or insight.
Again, just like with weekly blogging and those fancy journals, too much pressure to actually do it. The extrinsic monster kills the intrinsic knight, rips off his head, and drinks his blood, like in some awful, unwatchable fantasy movie.
In place of that old approach, I — maybe even out of desperation one day; I don’t recall how it came about — started just writing out my stream-of-consciousness; “automatic writing”. Embracing the absurdity of trying to convert the electrons of thought into ink on dead trees; ignoring punctuation, spelling, connecting words, the need to finish thoughts in ways that were
Also just plain style — as fast and scribbly and intuitive as possible; the more expressive the better; the less legible the better. Almost like: I can own up to and express these thoughts knowing that they are far less likely to be read by anyone, even my future self. This is not a record of my life and times; a first draft of a memoir. This is a tool for surviving yet another lived moment, a mirror to my shade, a lever to get myself out of this goddamn clean hands chair and right over there to standing at my station and moving dirty hands through space.
If I had the guts,… and the time,… and the cash,… I’d make that switch in clay, too.
“And then one morning, I woke up in a brickyard, huddled for warmth against the side of a kiln.”