ideas


I’ve been slowly going through old paper journals to purge the more embarrassing entries. This is quite a masochistic practice so I can only do it a little bit at a time. Although I don’t want to completely throw these journals—they are a record of my life—I don’t want some of that crap to live on. The whiny bits. The rune/Tarot readings with whiny questions. The really, really bad poetry.

So I came across an idea and outlines from a 1991 journal re: a novel I had wanted to write about The Crone and had myself a good laugh. As if I had a clue. I still don’t have a clue but because I realize I don’t have a clue I may be further along on making something of that idea. The requisite clue isn’t about wisdom, it’s about knowing that you don’t have wisdom, just the accumulation of experience, and that anyone who claims to be wise probably isn’t.

But this was also an illustration of how some ideas can be worked with almost immediately but others have very long gestations. I once heard Louise Erdrich talking about this in an interview, how sometimes she won’t be able to work on an idea until twenty years down the line because when she got the original idea she wasn’t yet ready for it. I thought I understood at the time, but I really understand it now. (Or, maybe, I just have the illusion of understanding.)

I may be able to write this idea now. I’ve been poking at a new form of it recently and it actually seems to be moving. We’ll see. It’s nice to be writing but I do wish one of these competing ideas would gel so that I’m not constantly circling and not making real progress. Survival of the fittest when it comes to competing ideas. Being ready to write them. This crone seems to be the one with the most juice. Crone willing, she’ll win the race.

Like I said, we’ll see.

I am caught between ideas right now—not too few, but too many. Good ideas, but almost none of them fleshed out enough to start writing, or to continue writing. Or too stubborn to let me move forward right now. I’m also doing a lot of research reading—but I’m pulled in different directions there, as well. Dueling ideas. And even some old, failed novels sending me new solutions to their old problems. So the creative wheels are spinning. Round and round they go, where they stop nobody knows.

I worked on one novel for most of the winter, but it slammed into a wall in March just short of 41k and would go no further no matter what I tried. I think somewhere along the line I took a wrong turn. Usually when novels get mulishly stubborn it’s a sign I’ve headed off into the weeds instead of following the correct path—that through line that takes me to the ending I composed at the beginning of the project. Usually, if I reread I can find where things start to feel hinky, backtrack and move forward in a different direction from that point. But I tried that, thought I’d identified the problem, except that the thing I thought was wrong, the character, insists on remaining. And maybe he wasn’t what was wrong. Maybe the wrong turn happened elsewhere. I haven’t the heart to do yet another reread/figure out session at the moment so I’m letting it lie fallow and attempting to work on something else.

Yes, I hear all the outliner writers telling me I’m in charge, not my characters. Make an outline and make them do what I want. I’ve tried that as well. They threatened to burn my house down. I learned long ago they are in charge and I’m just letting them use my fingers and brain. And I really need my house.

I’m not really complaining (The Unbearable Whininess of Being). I know many artists have been flailing for the last year or so and I’ve been lucky that I’ve kept writing, through the summer and fall and winter. Sometimes sporadically, but inching forward. And I am still writing, just flitting from thing to thing and not getting anything to jell. There are so many terrible things in the world right now and I am so lucky. Perhaps all the terrible things in the world are part of why my focus is strained. So odd that it would dissipate just as there are signs of hope, of seeing people again. As of Thursday my “probation” period will be over. It will have been two weeks since I had my second COVID shot (Moderna).

I do like seeing people, making plans. It’s just that isolation becomes such a habit for people like me. And given the problems with my legs and chronic illness, it sometimes gets reinforced physically. Limited mobility means limiting my plans to what is easily achievable.

People ask me how I’ve been able to stand being inside my house alone for 14 months, but the answer is that I’m never really alone. I’ve got all those characters and the extraordinary worlds they inhabit to keep me company. But when the magic circus packs up and leaves town without allowing me to follow? The walls do start creeping in.

I am extremely lucky. I see that, I feel that. My dear friend and neighbor has invited me to her house on May 15 for high tea, along with two other of my lovely neighbors, taken outside in her zen garden. We’ve all been fully vaccinated. I was the last and they’ve been waiting for my probation to pass.

But frankly, it will be a long while (if ever) before I leave my house unmasked or squeeze into crowded venues. There are the physical limitations, but there are also too many arrogant idiots in the world who think the rules don’t apply to them and why should they get vaccinated? Let somebody else take the risk.

I can only hope my circus animals come back to play, to settle down to their usual tricks and caprices so I can notate their stories. I really don’t want to wallow alone in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

Random quote of the day:

“A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy and unlimbers his typewriter.”

—E. B. White, The Paris Review, Fall 1969, No. 48

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Death, that is the most important of all ideas.”

—Henri Barbusse, L’Enfer
    (tr. John Rodker)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“A thought is an arrow shot at the truth; it can hit a point, but not cover the whole target. But the archer is too well satisfied with his success to ask anything farther.”

—Sri Aurobindo, Thoughts and Aphorisms

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”

—Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Never say no to an idea—you never know how that idea will ignite another idea.”

—Stanley Kubrick, quoted by Nicole Kidman, Hollywood Reporter, November 2, 2012

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an approximation.”

—M. C. Escher, Introduction to 29 Master Print

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.”

—Stephen Fry, The Liar

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

 

Random quote of the day:

“I do not “get” ideas; ideas get me.”

—Robertson Davies, “We Must Sing with the Voices God Gave Us,” Toronto Star, 19 September 1987

ideas4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

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