I have come to the realization that it is important to force myself to write every day. I am reading Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” which is about him and his writing and a bit about his process and his writing in Paris at that. He works every day and by work I mean he writes. Only when he is done work does he leave the house and have a beer or a whiskey or a Sancerre, and done is when he is still feeling inspired with ideas which will allow him to pick it back up the next day instead of exhausting every creative avenue and starting from scratch again the next time. When I read this I felt a bit scared to try and emulate because what if I forget? But Hemingway explains that if you completely switch off and think of everything else only then in this way when you return the next day to the thing and you start to work again it is simply there where you left it. The ideas, I mean. And when I read this I felt better because that is how it is with teaching. Certainly at the end of each work day when I leave the building it is completely in mind and soul and not just in body. When I return the next day, I remember all the little prompts and ideas and who didn’t hand in what and whom had read the day before and who needed to take a turn today. So I felt reassured and I will try these two new things: working every day and leaving off when there is still more to say.
I had wanted to take a writing course. Instead I am reading Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.”
And then there is the matter of alcohol. So here is where I turn to another great author and idol of mine named Charles Bukowski and another great book where he the author writes about his writing and his process and that great book is « Run With The Hunted.” Unlike Hemingway, Bukowski wrote from the bottom of his bottles of wine or whiskey or whatever it was that he drank. I cannot remember and I cannot turn to check. Maddeningly, somehow, I purged this book from my personal collection, my library as I prefer to refer to it, sometime ago and along with my Ian McEwan novels which I also regret purging and my Vonnegut novels which I don’t yet regret getting rid of but knowing me am certainly likely to eventually.
I once went to the big book store around the corner to re-purchase and re-read “Run With The Hunted” but on the shelf where Bukowski should be was instead a sign directing you to ask the staff for assistance. “Because it gets stolen.” I thought this was great and if I were an author whose books could not be kept openly displayed on shelves because of their reliable theft I would consider this such an affirmation of my work and would be pleased that I was reaching the right crowds.
Wrong or right, this is how I know I would feel.
I once thought or feared that if I wrote about writing then did I really have anything to say? Was writing valid subject matter to write about? Well yes. Everything is valid subject matter if you say it in a certain way. Hemingway and Bukowski prove this. My blog is my writer’s sketchbook where I write, I learn, I experiment, I write about writing.
Paris is fast approaching. Like my evenings, I need to have a plan this time. A writing plan that supersedes the frivolity and haphazardness of my blog and something I deem worthy of sending out in a legitimate effort to realize my Gertrude Stein-like dream, urgent need, to be published. I wrote seventy-two thousand words my first summer in Paris, on whatever presented itself: the friends I met, the boys I loved, the vain SDF I sat and spoke with one foggy morning. The people and life as I saw it through them. I forget what I wrote. I want to read what I wrote. I’m so curious in such a way as if someone else has wrote what I wrote. So it may finally be about time. I may at last be sufficiently removed as to see what I will now refer to as my work with necessarily objective eyes.
For now, it sits in a file collecting digital dust.
The second summer I wrote not much at all. I was busy and working in the restaurant and entertaining and high.
This summer, I will write again.
I have a couple of ideas but they are foggy at best. I think the thing for me to do in order to figure out what I shall write about is to continue to read as much as I can before I go and continue to work every day, not just here and there like it is something that is not utterly in fact foremostly important to me. And I think that I shall waiver back and forth between Hemingway’s method of saving the drink for afterward, and Bukowski’s of diving in during. And somehow in all of that, what I shall write about this summer in Paris will come clear.
I have to trust that it will.
It is one minute after nine, I am on page one hundred forty-three, I can see through the dark that it is still raining outside from the reflection of the light in the puddles on the streets where tiny raindrops pock the flaque, and I am about to pour myself a glass of this Canadian Cabernet Franc.
I will finish Hemingway tonight, and tomorrow I will ask the staff for assistance at the big book store around the corner.
I had wanted to take a writing course, and I am.