reality writing

November 10, 2012


(Illustration found here).

Writing, and actually, well beyond re-writing:

In a letter to Ezra Pound, in January 1923, Hemingway wrote: “I suppose you heard about the loss of my Juvenalia? I went up to Paris last week to see what was left and found that Hadley had made the job complete by including all carbons, duplicates, etc. All that remains of my complete works are three pencil drafts of a bum poem which was later scrapped, some correspondence between John McClure and me, and some journalistic carbons. You, naturally, would say, ‘Good’ etc. But don’t say it to me. I ain’t yet reached that mood.”

The climate of creative crazies, and like the weather nowadays, way-unpredictable.

Writing as a writer is a most-strange avocation, and beyond the professionals — journalists, historians, and so forth — one’s own devices do not produce readable material.
An occupational hazard defined as ‘writer’s block,’ I’ve never really encountered in all my years trying to produce words on a page, but I do suffer greatly from ‘mood block,’ similar, but stems directly from pure emotions generated during certain periods, which affected/effected everything, writing just a part of a whole, though, a way-major one for sure, and the first to suffer.
Too sad to write — after nearly 50 years of writing, from short stories as a 12-year-old, to poems in high school (class poet of my 1967 graduating class) to newspaper articles in my twenties, to blogging on the InterWebs in my sixties, the best shit always came when I was feeling at minimum some degree of happiness, or at least not sad.
I could never write in a basic sad — happy writing even on subjects like murder, mayhem and monster storms.

In my newsroom era, though, apparently the business of producing a piece under deadline overrode any kind of actual mood swings, so most of the time, even involved with my own personal, saddening turmoil-of-the-moment, I’d turn out some decent copy — make phone calls, arrange art, write.
Even nowadays during the week my own deadline scenario moves the words, a set-up which has evolved the past three years due to health and employment reasons — an early-bird start-time at the liquor store coincided with the development of a mild form of insomnia — a natural process over a short space of time scheduled a quick, two-hour-or-so deadline window every weekday morning.
Time enough to surf-and-suffer online news/commentary/bullshit and see what nips the eye, put together a little composition about some known/unknown, or maybe some unknown/unknown, to become a subject matter before I must stop to shit, shower and shave for real work, a job, a place I get paid a wage, and live.
Pre-dawn is a different time zone — a period I’ve grown to greatly enjoy.
And I so-enjoy working my little blog, too, Compatible Creatures, now 7-and-a-half-years old.
Although hardly a living soul reads this shit (my kids do on and off — one daughter says it’s over her head), I really  get a  kick out of putting each post together, from discovering an odd kernel inside big news stories, or spotting an insane episode somewhere — material to make some kind of lame-brained point –  to writing.
Readers would be nice, but apparently not necessary at this stage of the game.

One particular downside to this early-morning news research is the downer-information quality — this planet within the details, is way-truly fucked up, and by all appearances, truly fucked.
Speaking of which: Worse spoken in public? The word, ‘fuck,’ or the word, ‘vagina‘?
Even well-beyond the big-ticket bad item of climate change, or a lessor one like the worldwide financial meltdown (an aspect on tap today in Greece), there’s a basic, bat-shit crazy shift in weird.
Commenting on the nowadays: Witnessing the end of an entire age via my laptop.

The above Hemingway brief came from a post at Lost Manuscripts about a suitcase full of just about all his early stories (including carbons, notes, and whatnot) stolen off a Paris train platform in December 1922.

Writers are pretty-much unabashedly self-centered, though, I hope not necessarily intently bad, we just figure the pulse of existence runs through only ourselves, 24/7/365 — thankfully, my children are headstrong and more intelligent.
Creating shit constantly in your brain somehow, I think, systemically boils the cells in its own creative juices — in a little-noticed announcement, writer Philip Roth has announced his retirement (via the Guardian): “To tell you the truth, I’m done…Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life.

(Illustration found here).

Roth is a major heavyweight, been so for a long time — I was completely startled by ‘Portnoy’s Complaint‘ when it first appeared in 1969, so startled I couldn’t bear to even see the movie.
Too personal on several levels.

Further on Roth’s end of writing:

Having reached the age of 79, he realised that he was running out of years and had chosen to reread his favourite novels, as well as his own books.
“I wanted to see if I had wasted my time writing,” he said, according to a translation from the French by Salon.
“And I thought it was rather successful. At the end of his life, the boxer Joe Louis said: ‘I did the best I could with what I had.’
This is exactly what I would say of my work: I did the best I could with what I had.”
Roth said that he had dedicated his life to the novel, to the exclusion of almost everything else.

He’s won a shitload of awards, the Pulitzer, the National Book award, literary people were hoping for a Nobel.
One of my favorite actresses, Claire Bloom, was Roth’s so-called “long-time companion;” they were married in 1990, but split four years later, full of acrimony, eventually scribbling out bad things about each other.

And in an odd, pathetic way, Roth knows he missed out on a lot (via The New Yorker):

When asked if there could possibly be another book, Roth said, “I don’t think a new book will change what I’ve already done, and if I write a new book it will probably be a failure. Who needs to read one more mediocre book?”
Roth said that he saw nothing strange in retiring from literature.
“Look at E. M. Forster,” he said.
“He stopped writing fiction at around forty years old.
And me, who wrote one book after another, I haven’t written anything in three years.”
He seemed to admit to a certain distance from everyday life. “I am seventy-eight years old, I don’t know anything anymore about America today.
I see it on TV, but I am not living it anymore.”

In fruitcase history, writers are a generally a crazy bunch, prone of all kinds of shit, or stunned in some way, unable to cope with people, getting into drugs, alcohol, or other notorious and nefarious forms of likelihoods.
Everybody knew that was true, and now there’s the science to prove it.
From The Atlantic in October on a study by Swedish researchers revealing writers and creative types going/being mental.
The money bits:

Bipolar disorder was the only diagnosis found to be more prevalent in people with creativity-based careers, who were overall less likely to be diagnosed with the mental illnesses included in the study.
(An earlier study of this same population had found, though, that families with a history of bipolar or schizophrenia were more likely to produce creative people.)
When the researchers looked specifically at authors, they found that they are overrepresented among people with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety syndrome, and substance abuse problems.
Authors were also almost twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population.
Interestingly, the close relatives of people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia, and, to a lesser extent, autism, were more likely to be employed in creative fields.
“In general, being an accountant or a relative to an accountant meant negative or no association to the psychopathologies investigated.”

We are loony.
And placed in a peculiar situation, a writer, or even a wannabe writer, can lose his shit — remember Jack Torrance was a fledgling novelist suffering from writer’s block, which morphed into ugly mood block.
Here’s Johnny!

Real-life in reel life: Working with a “perfectionist” in the creative arts can be “almost unbearable” while writing about reality can be quite enjoyable.

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