It’s the old Morning Pages trick, except I do it on the computer, and sometimes it isn’t morning. Still, it’s often the best thing I do with my days–not my best work, but my best habit. These 800 words are where i gripe about what I wrote yesterday and plan what I’m going to write today. It’s the stretching before the real exercise of writing my novel.
In the tradition of showing your work, here are a few hundred words from today. Maybe I’ll make this tradition, too.
sometimes i feel like i should blog more. just open a vein and let it pour out onto the page. but most of what i write about the novel goes into the novel instead. i post pictures and video and audio, but the words go into the book. is it because i’m afraid i won’t have enough? i’m always afraid. if i put something out there, what if i can’t get it back? i keep my words inside until they’re ready to come out. i don’t want to let them go until i’m ready. all of these things are about fear.
i had to work so hard to get this novel to where it is now. i had to pull teeth. i had to move away and make a new life before i could write this thing. that just feels wrong. it feels like those writers and artists so obsessed with ritual that they never make anything. if i don’t have my beret, i can’t write. that’s not true. i have a computer, i have the software, i have a place to live and food to eat. i have peace and quiet for two whole weeks. what the hell is the hold up.
I mean, the opening piano riff’s Imagine. 50% of it’s put in there to wind people up, and the other 50% is saying ‘look, this is how songs like Don’t Look Back in Anger come about – because they’re inspired by songs like Imagine’.
I wish we had socialized metaphor.
I saw him speak last night, at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in Vancouver. The interviewer asked how he comes up with such good similes and mostly off-the-cuff, and Chabon made a joke about signing up for a service. “It’s always private enterprise with you Americans,” the interviewer said, playing out the joke. “Canada is more cooperative.”
Canada has socialized metaphor.
I’m a big fan of the period, because it means that I can take a little breather. Michael Chabon wrote a novel recently that had a 12-page sentence. Why would you do that to a reader? What kind of asshole doesn’t give the reader a break once in a while? Get me to the period so that I can take a moment to digest and go eat a Pop Tart or something. Withholding that period from me is a real dick move.
What They did not want you to ever find out is that your generation, the generation born between 1980-1995, actually outnumbers the Baby Boomers. They knew that if you ever turned your eye towards political reform, you could change the world.
They tried to keep you sated on vapid television shows and vapid music. They cut off your education and fed you brain candy. They took away your music and gave you Top Ten pop stations. They cut off your art and replaced it with endless reality shows for you to plug into, hoping you would sit quietly by as They ran the world. I think They thought you were too dumb to notice.
Indeed, I thought They had won.
But I watched you occupy the capital of Wisconsin. I see you today as you occupy Wall Street. And I see a spark, a glimmer of the glorious new age that is yours. A changing of the guard, a guard that has stood for entirely too long and needs your young legs to take his place.
I watch you turn away from what is easy and stand up for what is right. I see you understand we as a society are only as strong as our weakest link. I see you wise beyond your years. And I am proud. Give ‘em hell, kids. You are beautiful.
What I mean is that I don’t envy people with cars. I won’t go so far as to say that I pity them, I just don’t think that owning a car adds much to one’s commute besides some time-savings and the opportunity to sing loudly to a cassette version of Sinead O’Connor’s excellent 1990 sophomore release. Or something like that. But this isn’t an indictment of automobiles. It’s a strange realization that when people tell me how sorry they feel for my long commute, be it by bike or by bus, I am mostly just frustrated by their lack of understanding. My life is not interesting because of my commute, but riding my bike makes me feel amazing, and riding the bus, for better or for worse, often gives me an interesting story and a chance for some downtime that I don’t feel guilty about.
Lyrically it can be traced back to the master’s degree in poetry he earned at Warren Wilson College, where he learned to think of writing in rhythmic terms. The final piece of the puzzle was a car ride with O’Keefe, a classmate and collaborator from his stint in grad school at the Rhode Island School of Design, where the Motown on the radio gave their long-gestating musical collaboration new shape and purpose.
The result is Daddy, which O’Keefe says is less a band than a way to make all kinds of art out of whatever they’re into at the time.