Thursday, August 21, 2014

the far-reaching Splendor of the poet Mudd

I had been blasting the music, so I turned it down to an elevator music volume. I stretched out on the sofa, head tilted just right on a soft pillow from the bedroom. It had been a rigorous morning so I thought grabbing a quick nap prudent. Before the poet Mudd was to call. Gather and quiet the faculties in the event he would choose provocation. We've been known to disagree. Sturdy up, in other words. Mudd might want to argue. He has little sympathy for the feeble.

Odd thing: just earlier I had responded to the question, What are you working on? with the much too vague answer, Several pieces that I waffle between. But my response wasn't too vague because it was less than fully truthful. It was too vague because it minimized the full degree of my waffling. Some mornings, in the same writing session, I'll work back and forth between three different pieces. Long pieces. What will hopefully eventually become long pieces.

I have no idea how this process got started. I get disgusted with one piece and rather than erase everything I've written I click over to different piece. I turn on the computer in the morning and start opening files. I hate the idea of this practice. I hate the practice of this practice. Pour into one thing and come up when finished. That's how to do it.

But that's not how I do it. Hate it or not hate it. I put words here and then I put words there. A friend told me not even two months ago to just push through the trouble and come out on the other side. You'll see, she said. I agreed with her. Sure. Makes sense. Plus, she was speaking from experience. Good. I'm glad I ran across you. I'll do that. And the next morning I started two more pieces.

So I laid my head down and instead of counting sheep I counted pieces I've opened. Considered the progress, or lack thereof, made so far. A sort of cataloging. This one, magical realism, ok, coming along, this one next, I don't know yet, two different POV approaches with it but basically the same material, first person here, but yes, same story, okay, genre attempt here, not going great but not terrible either, and then this one, newer, so my enthusiasm level is still high, dystopian, and yes, it's going alright, probably better than alright, so far, don't jinx it, and then this other new one, hmmn, a genre (thriller maybe?) attempt, but may end up dystopian or literary, what the hell is it anyway, who knows who cares, did I forget anything, what am I forgetting? I  just need a quick nap. Fuck me but can I at least get thirty minutes sleep here?

I couldn't fall asleep. I kept feeling like I was missing something on the list. WTF, I said to myself, the list isn't important, I was only trying to get my mind quiet to go to sleep. Not to give it something to agonize over to keep me awake. Then I was visualizing my document folder, scanning the titles, down one row and then down the next, amazing what the mind takes pictures of, slowly scanning, no rush, marginally hoping that this new exercise would put me out. I smiled internally when I came across Prodigy: _______, the subtitle yet to be determined, but admittedly, I am a bit too fond of the Prodigy part of the title, even if I change it to, A Prodigious ______, or something else altogether, you know how it goes with titles and writing in general. Take the pleasure when it's there. Don't look back if you can avoid it. Grab today and tomorrow when it comes. Until it doesn't. (Yes, I am very aware how hypocritical those comments are based on somewhat recent events. An apology will come. Sooner than later.)

Although I couldn't get to sleep, the experience wasn't unpleasant. The couch fit well today and so I didn't have to stir much. That's relaxing in of itself. My brain had slowed considerably, not quite a reverie, but perhaps a pleasant haze, somewhere between the two, my questioning thoughts now more languid, less inquisitive, hell, I might just doze off after all, when a dominant thought showed itself, Write the Ministry. Go there and report what you see. You already know what it looks like - look at the stationary, you described it, in detail. Remember? Don't worry about Brazil. I'll tell you what happens in Brazil. Just go and describe the Ministry already. Find out what those fuckers are up to. What's one more piece to work on? You want John to die of old age already?

Can a thought be that many words, multiple sentences? Probably not. Reporting after the fact is not an exact science. Whether it was a voice or a thought - neither feels fully correct or incorrect - I consider it much the same. What the hell, right? So I opened and formatted a blank text document. Ready to go for first thing in the morning. Let's see how many words I can get on that page the next few days. I suppose if I find out what those fuckers are up to John will find me with the rest. Or not. It's not like I don't have plenty else to do.

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