The first 8,000 words came easily. Seriously. Nearly all new. Several blocks of time, uninterrupted, helped. Reading helped: Renata Adler’s Speedboat. Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss. Maggie Nelson’s Bluets.
I found this Sylvia Plath quote from The Bell Jar. How had I forgotten this?
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
The outline is still a little sketchy, truth be told. I can already see where I am coming up against decisions that I have not yet made, that I really need to make. For the sake of time. For the sake of continuity.
Here is Renata Adler on writing:
I often wonder about the people who linger over trash baskets at the corners of the city’s sidewalks. One sees them day and night, young and old, well dressed, in rags - often with shopping bags - picking over the trash. They pick out newspapers, envelopes. They discard things. I often wonder who they are and what they’re after. I approach and cannot ask them. Anyway, they scurry off. Sometimes I think they are writers who do not write. That “writers write” is meant to be self-evident. People like to say it. I find it is hardly ever true. Writers drink. Writers rant. Writers phone. Writers sleep. I have met very few writers who write at all.
One might add, today, “Writers tweet.”
I went to bed when it was clear (math! science!) what the outcome would be. I had been more anxious than I realized. More worried. Not so much excitement this morning. Not so much happiness. Relief, though.
A former colleague of mine, who had a knack for seeing the cloud in every silver lining would often say about anything that anyone tried to tout as an accomplishment: “Necessary, but insufficient.” This seems apt.
Tonight, I will give a presentation on evaluation. I will be talking through a logic model. I wrote up a case study for a fictitious dance company that runs dance and movement classes in schools. It took me hardly any time at all. I wonder if there is a market for fake case studies to illustrate arts sector outcomes?
Have you already heard the BAT FOR LASHES album? I can’t stop listening to it, can’t stop thinking about it. There is a great interview with Natasha Khan that I dare you to read without getting all swoony and crushy.
See you tomorrow. xoxo