Writing

the act of writing from notebook to macbook

When writing on a sheet of paper with a piece of pencil, it is close to impossible to see the image of one’s reflection on that sheet of paper. One may even be writing in an attempt to articulate said image.

On a type writer, the keys may shine enough to offer glimmers of a distorted mirror.

With a computer, it takes just the right angle to avoid seeing oneself. Sometimes regardless of the brightness one cannot avoid staring past the screen into this unwanted makeshift mirror.

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Aiming the arrow–why write

The other morning I started filling in/out an application. It never occurred to me that both those directions would be appropriate. Regardless.

The application was for a writing mentorship. I wasn’t particularly interested in it, but I started filling it with the thought that, “Hey, if I finish it, I might as well turn it in”. I rattled off a few paragraphs for each question, but then I went back to the first question, which I had intentionally skipped to begin with because it put me on edge;

“What do you hope to achieve as a writer?”

First of all, the word achieve puts me on edge. The most in my head that I hope to achieve is to be a writer. If I were to set up goals for my writing to accomplish, then my writing would be steered towards that accomplishment. The track would be laid out and we all know how difficult it is (though not impossible) for trains to jump tracks.

However, this did bring up some thought and concern. Why do I want to write? I’ve wanted to write poetry ever since the second grade when I entered one of those scam poetry.com contests, but that’s probably/mostly because I enjoyed writing poetry. Since then my writing passes between poetry and literary criticism and philosophical sprinkling. My manuscript attempted to emphasize the relationship between text and the reader. But if the reader were to notice this relationship that I am pointing at, so what? If I go on and on about the different interpretations of a few lines in The Master and Margarita, so what? Will it be useful to anyone?

This notion of usefulness is something that I try not to think of in my writing. Because whatever I deem useful may be entirely overlooked, and the most useless words may be highlighted and examined for days on end. It betrays the idea of what a text is to try to emphasize what is useful, what should be noticed, what should be achieved through the reading.

George Steiner begins his text Tolstoy or Dostoevsky with the line, “Literary criticism should arise out of a debt of love” and the first page ends with “Through some primary instinct of communion we seek to convey to others the quality and force of our experience. We would persuade them to lay themselves open to it. In this attempt at persuasion originate the truest insights criticism can offer”.

“Debt of love” and “lay themselves open to it” I believe are two of the most important phrases in those lines. Because that is not only what a text is aiming to do, but that is what one’s own writing, whether it be creative or criticism, should aim for as well. The achievement should lie not in hitting the bullseye, but being able to aim the arrow at all, for yourself or for another.

last night i finished reading ‘the master and margarita’ for the first time

and  i’ve immediately come up with a project for myself. which is good and bad because it involves Crime and Punishment and Faust but in the way that it seems you cannot write about one book without writing about seven.

The list of texts I’ll have to discuss so far are: Goethe’s FaustCrime and PunishmentThus Spoke ZarathustraDoctor Faustus, and The Master and Margarita.

Although due to the fact that I was initially planning on writing about Crime and Punishment and War and Peace together means that I may have to include War and Peace in this, but perhaps will have to separate the project of the two specific novels into a different project. But at the end of the day, each of these texts is aimed at accomplishing a similar task (I would prefer not to use the word goal) and that is what I hope to focus on.

 

I guess this is now the…third book I have decided to write?

under what definition shall we call these lines?

the levels of apathy are at astronomical levels. it’s almost as though the alliteration makes it tolerable. oops. there went the alliteration.

asking three times. it’s always three times. sometimes the going back and forth is the most frustrating thing. but then again, i’ve spent so much time in absolutes, that it only makes sense that the movement is inherently frustrating. the difficulty part is something that is not only difficult, but is difficult to articulate and difficult to know what to do with such a difficulty. it’d be nice to sleep for a few weeks.

sailors fighting in the dance hall.
take a look at the law man beating up the wrong guy

those lines always make me think of clockwork orange. not entirely sure why.

we know failures aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be. we know that we must relish the failures in lieu of successes. but what do we do with these failures? where do we put them? how do we juggle them? do we throw them up into the air and let them drop like cannonballs upon our skulls one by one?

smile when there is no reaction, when there is no idea of what the reaction should be.

(more…)

this particular time

The fact that to be a writer, one of the key things in this day and age is to have an internet presence particularly frustrates me. 100 years ago, every one of these blog posts would have been journal entries that maybe would have been published after my death so those who actually cared could find out more about my own internal processes. But now writers are expected to have a presence. They are expected to be a part of the world. If you are not a part of the world, then why should the world pay any attention to you when there are so many people gasping and begging for attention. It should not be a one or the other situation. It’s difficulty for a writer just to write in obscurity and then attempt to get published and be a part of the world. I’m not saying that participation of the world is not important, but participation should not be the end all be all of the world. The world is created by stepping back and framing. Without the illusion of stepping back how can you know what is real?