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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Real Like Something Dreamed


"I write for myself, to hear my soul talking and singing, sometimes crying."


"Now I'd like to write a calm and clean book, without any strong words, but something real - real like something dreamed, like something thought - something real and very delicate."

~ Clarice Lispector, quoted on page 136 Why This World by Benjamin Moser

I had this book cracked open beside my desk as I wrote today, a biography of Clarice Lispector.  I woke up feeling smudgy, you know a bit cranky and blurry and feeling vulnerable.  Like I could break. Frangible. And honestly a bit sick to my stomach, weak and queasy and even a bit angry.  Maybe this was because I knew it was time to write 'the scene.'  I'm trying to write a book filled with light, but there is this one really dark scene near the end.

It's half way through the week I took off from work, my unpaid, unfunded writing retreat in my own messy, increasingly dusty study.  I shouldn't be bitter about this, but for some unknown reason I had this vision of all these writers sitting in beautiful retreats and well-dusted rooms and I admit I felt, well, bitter.  And dusty. And frayed, and forsaken and a little heartbroken around the edges.  I began.  I read some C.L.  I closed my email program, blocked all social networking sites.  I wrote.  I wrote the scene.  it's rough, but it's what I want it to be, or at least it's the bones of what I want it to be.  The shell of it.  Hollow and mysterious at the center with a lot of elegant spiky bits jutting out, perhaps.

It's certainly an irresponsible thing to do - take a week off work when you're pretty much flat broke.  An unpaid week at that.  The trip we took recently was also financially irresponsible. Which is not really like us.  I'm married to Mr. Pay for Stuff Cash or Don't Buy it.  But I felt like if we didn't go, I wouldn't be able to write this thing, this scene, which I've written today.  And the next scene which I'll begin tomorrow and which is pretty much the end of the book.  Though it's going to be a very long scene, an interior monologue, tortured and philosophical and exhausted, in the sense that Beckett's characters are exhausted.

Deleuze on Beckett:  "Does he exhaust the possible because he is himself exhausted, or is he exhausted because he has exhausted the possible?  He exhausts himself in exhausting the possible, and vice-versa.  He exhausts that which, in the possible, is not realized.  He has had done with the possible, beyond all tiredness, 'for to end yet again.' "

Such a sense of relief though, having gotten to this next part, the next possible ending.  Trying to exhaust the possibilities of a particular fictional situation.  Which is insanely and idiotically exhausting and most likely futile and beyond that just a weird, weird pastime/obsession.

But I'm happy, happily drained and frangible, and have cast off those unhealthy and heavy feelings of writer-envy, bitterness.  Because it's important to just take what time you can get and write the hell out of it.

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