Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Would Like to Burn a Theme at This Forum


You're right, two years is a long time. And like a neglected lawn, apparently, old blogs can actually sprout weeds. Since we last posted, we received a slew of comments--almost all from spambots. I've just spent an hour or so deleting these comments form our old posts. Most were an illegible scramble of code and nonsense; some, though, were charmingly ridiculous. My favorite, from "Anonymous":

"Hi there! I would like to burn a theme at this forum. There is such a thing, called HYIP, or High Yield Investment Program. It reminds of ponzy-like structure, but in rare cases one may happen to meet a company that really pays up to 2% daily not on invested money, but from real profits."

So, Josh, if you do not mind, in keeping with the Eastern European theme you cultivated with your Hrabal talk, I would also like to burn a theme at this forum.

(I've been singing that quote for the past hour to the tune of "Blowing in the Wind": How many themes must we burn at this forum before we can call it a forum?)

Anyway, it's nice to be back. I had intended to work on my novel this afternoon, but keeping with another theme of the blog, I've sought diversion. Writing and not-writing. Lately, it's been hard for me to make the distinction between the two. When I'm not physically writing the novel I'm thinking about it: devising scenarios, constructing sentences in my head. I wonder if this is productive?

Hemingway, in his sometimes helpful, sometimes absurd, basic principles for writing, said: "Do not think about writing when you are finished for the day but allow your subconscious mind to ponder it."

Good stuff? Early on, Hemingway also thought that the energy required for writing came from the same place that sexual energy came from, and so he (he said) he abstained from sex or masturbation while working on his projects.

I'm not sure.

I do know that a lot of the stuff I do besides writing--cooking healthy food, for example, or exercising--explicitly serves my writing life. I run every day because, I believe, running gives me the energy and motivation to continue writing. Without running, I can't imagine how I might sustain this energy or motivation. Of course, I might find it in the work itself, and that would be a nice thing to say, but practically, my brain and body need the fuel that good food and exercise provide. Writing, to me, is extremely bodily.

Of course, there's my soul, too. There's inspiration, which is different, I think, than energy and motivation. And what fuels my soul is sometimes oppositional to what fuels my body. I drink too much wine. I stay up all night talking. I wake up tired and hungover. My body hurts. And yet, my soul's inflamed.

I like what Hrabal says: "Not until we're totally crushed do we show what we're made of."

I spend all day getting healthy so that I might write. I spend all day destroying myself so that I might write. I wake up, and start again. This doesn't seem entirely sustainable. I need a more balanced fuel. I guess I find balance in all the other stuff that sustains me: reading, writing letters, writing blogs.

We wouldn't do this if we didn't care; if we didn't find it necessary. With or without this blog, I'm sure we've both spent plenty of time not-writing over the past two years. We tried another blog, but the forum just didn't seem to work. I never felt at home there. This forum, it seems, might be better for burning. There's energy here at Seventh Draft, even if it has been dormant for the past two years. We should tell Tommy and Alex, urge them to post, if they like.

Ever see this guy?

"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." ~Samuel Beckett

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