Thursday, November 27, 2008

A few thanks

I'm thankful for the local beauty...
And the beauty strange.
I'm thankful for my family blood...

and my family built.

Thankful, always thankful, for my good little life where I wander through hundreds of secular miracles every day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I haven't been posting much in part because of the weird time warp that I've slipped into. It always seems as though I've just posted, a day or two ago, wasn't it? But no, a week has passed. A day is devoured and another and another and yet the week never feels full. It's Sunday again while I'm still on Wednesday.

Everyone has this problem, I know. While I just pulled up my tomato plants, or rather, I pulled them up some time last week, it will be time to plant again in a flash. While I gather chapters for my book, piling up the words on a daily basis, the hours are too slippery and I can never pin down enough of them. A whole hour disappears getting a character from kitchen to bedroom. It can take a week for some of them to complete one true thought.

I look forward to spending some time with my 6 year old nephew this Christmas so I can remember what it's like for a day to feel impossibly long. Banished to my room for a few hours was sufficient punishment when I was that age. I only wish my hours now went by so slowly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This time of year, I can go days without opening the door except to grab the mail. But tonight I finished working and went out into the dry twilight fall and was reminded of why I love Portland. This is a city of real neighborhoods; Here we sleep and eat and work and meet, all within a few friendly blocks. I recognize a certain portion of the people on every walk I take. It isn't until I go to some less pedestrian friendly city or suburb and see how lucky I am to be able to thrive here without a car for 15 years.

I slip on my ipod and listen to the shuffle of old R.E.M, Nick Drake, The Cult and Violent Femmes. I watch the calm blue sky. I watch the cats waking up for their evening shift and the people turning on their lights for a night in. I listen to the crunch of leaves under my feet and admire the dahlias still proudly yellow and orange and pink. I feel the quiet like a bass note beneath the music.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So here we are, in our first week of hope. As Homer Simpson says after his chiropractic appointment, "Hey, it feels a little better."

In the spirit of hope, I am charging toward finishing another draft of my book. Today I was searching in the nightmarish maze that is my writing folder on my computer for a scene I once wrote long ago. The fact that I couldn't find it and can only vaguely recall its components simply confirms that it is the keystone to this novel. Ah well...

During the search, I came across a file titled "Poker Face-novel." It was like discovering a container of old spaghetti sauce in the back of my fridge. I had no idea it was back there. When I opened it up, it looked awful and smelled worse. Still, all this time I've been thinking of the book I'm working on as my first novel. In fact, this other thing is, at least the 150 pages of it that got written. That was my practice novel. This new one is the one that I'd like to get right. I hope, I hope, I hope.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This was downtown Portland last night. My neighborhood, normally rowdy with drunks from the local bars celebrating their drunkeness, was rowdy with drunks from the local bars celebrating Obama's smackdown. For once, I was thrilled at the noise.

I tried to imagine the same kind of energy and excitement being generated by some other democratic candidate and find it hard to imagine. Would we have pulled out the drums and the flags and danced in the street if Kerry had won? Would the world be celebrating in the streets with us? Of course, I'm sorry we had to slog through eight disastrous years to get to this point, but here we are. Relieved, ready and actually excited to move forward.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I see the notion of talent as quite irrelevant. I see instead perseverance, application, industry, assiduity, will, will, will, desire, desire, desire.

-Gordon Lish

This month, while others attempt to write a whole novel, I will attempt to revise the rest of mine. Much of this will involve writing whole new scenes and chapters and here, on day one, it already hurts. I don't understand how people write quickly. I plod. I feel as if each sentence my characters speak is a bit of hard-earned labor as if they thought in Swedish but had to speak in English. I feel as if each move my characters make is done by me lifting them and posing them like giant mannequins, but they're not mannequins, their real people. Oh wait...

It's true that sometimes this is the result of my critical mind, but just as often it is my creative mind seeking the right thing. Not even the perfect thing. That comes later if I'm lucky. All I'm looking for is what is plausible and, for me, that is rarely overwhelming and obvious. I'm not sure why.

So how will I get to the end of this novel in a month? I'll have to either give up my job and much of my sleep or I'll have to find a new way. I fear some kind of electro-shock get up will be required or some threat of humiliation or loss. Or maybe there's a way to re-route my panic over the elections into a sense of high stakes for my writing. If you have some better ideas, please let me know.