THE HURDLE

August 19, 2016

Bright Brooklyn sunshine, illuminating bare arms with flower tattoos on stylishly dressed freelance writer women

I am writing this play now. I started writing scenes a couple days ago and I forgot some things about how this tends to go at first.  The writing so far (I can’t believe I’m telling you this) has the quaint but useless quality of twirling aimlessly in a field while hoping lightening will strike.

And don’t get me wrong, the lightening god sees what you’re doing. It is lying up there on a cloud, bored to the nines, waiting just waiting for some worthwhile mortal to light with bottomless curiosity about the great electric mystery. It sizes up your twirling. It thinks: meh? The lightening god is not going to summon all its power to bless the meh dancer.

You have to rise to meet it. You have to rev yourself up. You have to call yourself out on your shit when you are just half-writing at one-quarter strength.

You think writing a play is easy? No. You have to put all your attention, intelligence, and life force into it. And the only way to do that, I find, is by killing your censor.

I have the dumbest thoughts, most every day. Bla bla bla who are you to think you can do this bla bla bla other writers already exist bla bla bla you need a haircut bla bla Gunter Grass was a novelist and sculptor and illustrator and playwright and won the Nobel Prize what have you ever done?

To which I reply.

HEY, LIGHTENING GOD! HEY!
You wanna fight? Then get down here
With me                                                                                                           In the ring
I will punch you in the nutsack if you try to talk to me like that                   I will teach you how to talk to a writer                                                    There are other snails, does that mean there should be no more snails? Oh, schoolboy logic, snap
I will school you on words, Jimmy                                                          You’re nothing without me
I made you
And I can call you Jimmy                                                                             I’ve unmade bigger fish than you
I’ve unmade narwhals
And by the way Gunter Grass was in the Waffen SS when he was young  AKA an elite Nazi                                                                                          And he didn’t admit it for 60 years
SO MAYBE SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE                                       LIGHTENING GOD
BRING IT ON
IF YOU DARE

My journal often disintegrates into stuff like the above.
I find it tremendously useful and freeing. I need somewhere to be a lunatic.

I’d rather be unfettered than tentative.

Break down the self. The self is shallow, polite, and masking deep hostility and fear and inappropriate aggression and confusion and desire and longing and hope.

When you write, you go deeper in the water.

RESEARCH, PART TWO

August 5, 2016                                                                                               afternoon

 
Watching the clouds. There’s a tuft of a puffy one that is separating, like a bit of thin, still-cooking egg white. The clouds give off an air of stillness except for this.

Saw a hummingbird this morning. Fireflies last night. The air is warm. It carries the choir of living things, which includes the yells of victorious corn hole players. The stars are brighter here than most places.
I often listen to music when I write, but these sounds are better.

I wish I was writing this week – this is a great place to write, this farm I’m at with my writer’s group. But I didn’t meet my research goals last week at the O’Neill. Some of the books couldn’t get there in time. This is also a great place to read, of course, and to stare at sheep.

I got to chat with Alan, who looks after them. These sheep don’t earn their keep. No birthing, no shearing, no hay rolling, no bringing the lambs to the slaughter. They’re more like pets. Alan talks at length with very little questioning, because he loves his subject. I lean against the fence and enjoy the sound of his voice. Three of the sheep are curious and venture closer, the rest are skittish. Later, I watched YouTube videos of more sheep, faraway sheep in Northern England, very well groomed and attractive sheep on attractive hills divided by attractive stone walls. What do I need to figure out before I write like my inner life depends on it? I think, just this: What season is my setting?
Oh no. It’s raining. Big unexpected drops.

I made a little tent for my laptop and me, out of my sweater. Let’s see how long this lasts.

I for a little while had a fantasy of being a completely seasonal writer, who writes things set in spring only during spring, etc. Maybe when I’m old and become Wendell Berry. Can playwrights become Wendell Berry? The calm of a naturalist’s mind is so different from the playwright’s, which is engaged in the design of conflict bombs. Skill as a dramatist is in large part just the skill of dragging any situation from good to worst.

Farmland: such interesting space, in between humans and wilderness. It’s the pastoral vase onto which we paint our dreams of leisure and self-sufficiency. It is also where I am pondering immortality, alcoholism, home, and the eternal philosophical / psychological problem of desire.

Ok, it is really raining now. The clouds cracked open. I tried hiding under a small wooden table but no dice.

I’m not sure any of these blog posts should be about anything more than being alive.