watch how we roll up

I’ve been all about the callbacks and refrains in my writing lately. Repetition of words and structures has long been a part of my style, and I can see how it continues to evolve. What I didn’t see, until the other day, is how much my style has its roots in the music I listen to.

Sure, you could call it poetry, the way I like to collapse and expand sentences, use commas as line breaks, recall lines and sounds. Or, maybe, poetic prose. But I don’t find my inspiration in poetry. It’s in music. The hyper-narrative forms of The Decemberists I love or the mixed-genre structures Kanye West works with. That’s what I hear every day. Of course this is how my own words will come out. These are the words that go in.

1. I just had an LJ comment take 52 minutes from post to my inbox.

2. In a weird way, I have my whole next year planned. diedandreborn is a fantastic success, writingwise, if not commentwise (not that I don’t appreciate the comments I’ve received, of course I do). It’s kind of exactly what I’ve always wanted to write, except with more NC17 sex and not enough handwritten grocery lists. Tiny bits of story that don’t look impressive on the surface, but when you dig underneath, the structure is complex and connected, turning back on itself and welded to places you never expected. rossetti is remixing them in December, and 01 has been up since November 02, but it might read different by December 31. Even I don’t know yet. We’re really excited by what we have written so far (and unabashedly chuffed with our word count) that we figure, why stop now? So we’re not going to. More specific plans to follow.

3. In a scary way, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life after December 10. I finally decided doing an MA right now is not what I want. I need to start making the things I love and seeing if the world will love them enough to let me making a living. Things I know for sure right now: my final final final exam is December 10, Christmas is December 25, I will be in LA for New Year’s Eve, when I will also turn 27. Because of the dollar, I don’t know if my grandparents are making their annual trek south, so I don’t know if I get my three months of housesitting that makes the nine months of still living with my parents (and brother and brother’s girlfriend, who is over far too often) bearable. I have my student job, which is enough money to get around, and I have some ideas. 2009 might be great.

4. The same way that I changed as a writer when I started keeping a regular, constant, always with me, place I write everything down notebook in 2000, after high school, I changed again when I started using Google Docs in earnest. I don’t have a notebook right now, just a pad of lined paper, a pen, a date stamp, a list of gdocs, and my typewriter. So we’ll see.

tops of buildings I can see them too

Here is a list of two, three, four, five, and six word phrases from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald that I found before I found vanishing city.

+ irregular lawn (89)
+ whole damn bunch (154)
+ old warm world (162)
+ swiftly, swell (40)
+ little party (41)
+ hot, green (121)
+ boats against the current (182)
+ inessential houses (182)
+ long way to this blue lawn (182)
+ laughter, faint (181)
+ factual imitation (5)
+ city unseen (69)
+ roaring noon (69)
+ present happiness (97)
+ ghostly heart (97)
+ incalculable hours (110)
+ fresh glance (110)
+ black beach (110)
+ discarded favors (111)
+ crushed flowers (111)
+ vanishing city (153)

when the working day is done

My new favourite word is neo-epistolary. I heard it first from Sam. He didn’t coin it, but he might as well have. There are six hits on Google. This is my kind of word. This is my kind of work.

The first novels, before we were really calling them novels, were epistolaries, collections of letters to create a narrative. They fell out of favour, but we kind find their influence in blogs today. Collections of letters, yes, but also photographs, notes, candy bar wrappers, album covers, credit card bills, and doodles on napkins. All of this makes up the narrative of a life and might one day be a book. Might one day be my book.

I used to call my style vignette. Because what I like to do is make small parts, then fit those small parts into something bigger. The part of the process I love is finding the connections, seeing the tongues and grooves, and that brilliant feeling when something just fits.

There’s a box sitting on my shelf with a label that reads billet-doux, love letters. It’s where I keep ephemera, not love letters in the conventional sense, but the pieces of my world I love, or someone loved enough to send to me. They’re the kinds of small parts I want to fit together into a story. That box is full.

It seems to me, alas, that if you can so thoroughly dissect your children who are still to be born, you don’t get horny enough actually to father them.

Flaubert to Bouilhet, on the dangers of overthinking before writing.

1. By the way, I was right, and Friday Night Lights IS good again. I watched three episodes last night (broken up with Chuck–still awesome even without Awesome–and Gossip Girl–veering back towards the books; do we get baby Yale soon? and gay experimenting Chuck?), but I don’t want to wait that long again. Matt/Julie OTP. They flirt with their feet! Man, that dinner table scene just makes me crave futurefic where they’re married and come over for Sunday dinners and Coach is still prickly and unsure about Matt, even though the first grandchild was totally a son. Jason Street made me cry (I love Riggins so much more with 6 than with Lyla, and I don’t mean that in a slashy way at all), I’ve been singing “She don’t use jelly” all day, and One-Two might turn out to be a good kid after all. Grandma Saracen attacks Coach in the supermarket. Oh, oh, Coach and Mrs. Coach at the school dance. Best married couple on TV, maybe in real life, too. Maybe forever.