25 April 2012

This is a project I’ve been mulling over for weeks, and have been putting off until post-graduation. Well, I say fuck it. My brain’s been running wild with ideas, and I’m beginning to remember what it feels like to have so much creative energy that I can’t do anything without relieving it first.

It’s going to be messy. I haven’t written seriously in ages. Especially creatively. Thoughtful essays are by far my preferred style and, while there will certainly be a fair amount of those here, it’s time to PLAY.

I remember in elementary and middle school when I would write for the sheer thrill of bringing my ideas to life, delighting over interesting turns of phrase. Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with literature, and learned to be afraid.

As a child, anything is possible. Then you grow up & get acquainted with real talent, usually when you’re most insecure.

I stopped writing with the conviction I could never possibly be as good as the greats, so why try?

Well, 15 year old me, I call bullshit on your ass.

Even so, these last 9 years haven’t been for nothing. I’ve read wonderfully inspiring prose. Prose that leaves my fingers itching for a pen.

I had to learn humility and appreciation for the greats, and I’m glad I did.

But now it’s time to play — and acknowledge that unlike before it won’t be fearless. But that’s okay — fear can be defeated.

I also let go of the worry of audience. There is a small circle of people I might (read: probably will) allow to read this, but this exercise in experimentation is mostly my own. Should anything further come of it, I’ll find a penname.

I don’t even know if authors still use those, but one of my biggest hindrances lately has been a feeling of self-censorship of content, not wanting friends & family to read too much into my works, and not wanting to worry about them uncovering something about me & my life I would rather remained buried.

But I also don’t want to have forbidden topics. I need to be free in my experiments.

And what are those experiments?
* Poetry
* Short Stories
* Vignettes

I am interested in playing with both form & content so both work together to convey an idea or theme.

I will write in pen & may return to and rewrite pieces @ any point. This is to preserve the evolution & process.

I will make notes on parts I like & don’t like & why, as well as what I was trying to achieve.

Finally, I will discuss fears, anxieties & joys surrounding the process and experimentation as I go.

It’s time to let go of the fear.
It’s time to be what I’ve always wanted.
Warts and all.

today’s the day

Today’s the day — the day that five years ago I publicly chose Jean-Guy. This day has snuck up on me and the week that’s preceded it has been hard in some very unexpected ways, and easier than I expected, too. In the collapse of my marriage, there is so much I have learned about what it means to be married that I wouldn’t have otherwise, not to mention what I’ve learned about myself and life in general.

I’m still sorting out the life lessons I’ll ultimately pull from the last 8 years. Maybe I’ll have something presentable or otherwise sensible by the time the divorce goes through at the end of the month, but for now, this set of lyrics speaks volumes:

You see I wanted to love you baby
But neither you nor I’d been loved before
I thought I could change the world if I just held you high enough
The truth is I couldn’t hold you up at all

I couldn’t hold you up
I couldn’t hold you up
And I sure ain’t gonna hold you down

One thing I have been able to accomplish this week is to put together a playlist that I feel encapsulates our relationship. It’s super weird to listen to. It’s weird to listen to songs that so early in our relationship were so woven into our experiences together, and to be able to fully feel myself enmeshed in the fabric of who we were and the circumstances that surrounded us, and to also feel simultaneous sorrow and relief. Truly bizarre. It’s interesting, too, to listen to the songs I played over and over again in anguish early this spring and to be able to tap those raw feelings of hurt and abandonment and feel the contrast between then and now and the strength I’ve found within myself that’s truly my own.

Life’s a journey. And the only closure you ever get is what you make for yourself: it’s up to you to make the things that happen to you, good and bad, mean something worthwhile. No one else can do that for you.

“Cause nothing in this life is good or bad
It’s we who dress it up as happy or sad
And no one in this life is sinner or saint
It’s just energy running up the stream
Or down the drain
And nothing in this life is a sheer must
Yet in living and loving indeed we trust
indeed we trust

Hey brother stranger you know we shall sail
Even if even if only to fail
’cause winning and losing keep journey amusing
Down down down
Your destiny trail”
— We Shall Sail; Gogol Bordello

Quote

Maine was trying to teach me something, but I was a slow learner. I thought I’d gone to Maine to face my demons and turn them into art, but it turned out that I couldn’t face them, and not only that I couldn’t even find them. I was trying to write about what I knew, which in itself probably wasn’t a bad idea, but I was mistaken about what that was. I thought that what I knew most about was myself, but I could not have been more wrong. I didn’t know the first thing about myself, and Maine wasn’t going to teach me. You don’t learn about yourself by being alone, you learn about yourself from other people.

[…]

I lived like that for two more months before I called it quits; I lasted six months in all. Afterward I told people I left because I ran out of money, which was objectively true, but it wasn’t the real truth. The real truth was that I left because I was sick of being cold and lonely and a lousy writer. I had finally reached the tipping point where the misery of living alone in Maine outweighed the misery of having to admit to myself that it wasn’t working, that I did need other human beings, and that I wasn’t a genius after all. I would have admitted anything as long as I didn’t have to live in Maine anymore.

[…]

What I hadn’t figured out yet was that it’s OK not to be a genius, whatever that is, if there even is such a thing. Since then I’ve learned that the creative life may or may not be the apex of human civilization, but either way it’s not what I thought it was. It doesn’t make you special and sparkly. You don’t have to walk alone. You can work in an office — I’ve worked in offices for the past 15 years and written five novels while doing it. The creative life is forgiving: You can betray it all you want, again and again, and no matter how many times you do, it will always take you back.

— Lev Grossman; How Not to Write Your First Novel