There are moments, we all must have them, where something happens or changes, and sometimes it’s something big and sometimes it’s mundane and sometimes it’s so small or seemingly inconsequential we may not even notice it but it changes everything and it comes from or maybe is related to or maybe even spurs those myths we create, or gives rise to them, or maybe the myths and the changes themselves feed into and support each other – and I know I’ve had plenty of fairy tales to keep me alive and that I’ve had my share of those days where something changes course and I think this is a big part of what I’m struggling toward and searching for in this story – to make sense of all of this, to identify those days and changes, sometimes for good, sometimes not for good. How many times during this fellowship have I just sat down and started writing, not knowing I might, or not intending to write much, just to jot down a thought and thousands of words flow forth? I think I need to trust that and run with it.
Michael said to apply my obsessive tendency to figuring out which serialized books were most successful, and why. Maybe this obsessiveness is something I need to embrace – as I embraced the chaos, struggle, uncertainty, etc. – and the thrill – of finding the story. Something to do with that neurotic fifth gear he talks about.
And now that stuff Anna talked about, how she turned in the first draft of her masters project and her advisor said, You’re a photographer – write like one – and how I told Anna I used to draw and she asked what I thought the story would look like if I expressed it in shapes because she said whenever she and I talk about it she sees shapes in her head, and now I’m starting to see shapes, too, as I think about and talk with Michael about the narrative, and what’s interesting is how the shapes, the story, that is, has changed over time from that chaotic looping thing Michael drew for me earlier in the summer at the height of my dread from of What’s my story about to now, when we can kind of see it and it’s starting to “make sense,” or we’re starting to make sense of it – and now I see what the point of this digital notebook was, is – is, because it’s – it, the story, the process – it’s all still unfolding – and the point, or one purpose, I think, was to see, to watch this thing evolve over the last few months, from that confused mess to some semblance of a narrative.
Michael and Mike Hoyt and Cissi talked about writing, the life – they’re all connected, and feed each other, nourish each other, like those moments, your “best” moment, that shift, that day, that night, July 29, 2012, the day everything got better, the fairy tale gets born and realized, and it sustained me, the myth we subscribe to so we can survive and in making it come true everything changes, for the better, or for worse, or for better because after that shift things really started to unravel, or they had already started falling apart but that was kind of a pinnacle and then I started descending deeper and deeper into that nightlife black hole until I snapped and got out [and would go back] but maybe that’s how it had to happen – I had to get to that “high” point – the lowest point of the nightlife chthonic promised land – to get there, so I could fall and climb back out, or to go down that far so I could start seeing a way out, through and toward writing.
Now I’m circling back and forth, weaving, as I did when I wrote the story and maybe that’s just my addled brain’s fault but there’s something about this struggle, searching for I know not what but it goes back, again, to that drawing on my desk, still.
And something about those flowers – those dying sunflowers – the all-yellow ones with the dark yellow centers, framed by the window, their dark silhouettes, and on my desk, next to the white legal pad, a cup of coffee, long gone cold, quarter full, and I leave it there, thinking, Maybe the caffeine, what’s left of it, will go into my brain by osmosis and charge my writing. And the mug, the cold coffee, the gray, cool fall sky, the wind that stirs the curtains, the glass desk reflecting that sky, the coffee and glass pane above the turned-off radiator that gives no heat, a drink to give warmth and energy that, now, no longer gives either, and the notes, and drawings, strewn on the desk, all of it, a kind of still-life.
Sometimes, I think, we’re better off remaining not fully aware of all the odds stacked against us and the circumstances because if we knew everything, how dire it was, how could we possibly act or do anything? At times, I feel this way now, so I plow forward, relentless, and trying not to be too daunted by what lies ahead.