Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Come quickly! I'm tasting stars!

And, I would add, sparkly, at times.  At least I mean it to be, I pledge that it will be so this upcoming year, my head already full of New Year's foolish resolutions.  My usual resolution follows the line by John Maynard Keynes,  "My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."  In fact, am doing my best to get a head start on this resolution by drinking pro secco, not being on a champagne budget.  However it's a fine one, extra dry.  Just the way I like it.  And it is still rather like drinking stars, as Dom Perignon was said to have called out upon tasting champagne. 

 "Come quickly!  I'm tasting stars!"   

Whatever else 2011 will be, it will be a year to re-group, re-think, re-invent.  My most important goals - to have one book accepted for publication, my strange and lonely art forger book, and to finish the other, my strange and lonely book about a purse obsessed woman.  I picked up a book of Deleuze essays and found small signs.  Do you know what I mean by small signs?  Just some tiny clue that I'm not mad, or that I'm on the right path.  For the current book,

"Style in a great writer, is always a style of life too, not anything at 

all personal, but inventing a possibility of life, a way of existing."  

Actually, it works perfectly for both.  My art forger book, Hive, is all about the possibility of a woman art forger existing, possibilities.  And maybe the second book, though completely unrelated in topic or design or even in language and style, is a continuation of the first.  Of course it is.  The Grand Obscurity of the Soul is about inventing a way of existing in a particular set of circumstances.  A way of life.  So.  There.  And thank you Gilles Deleuze for telling me I'm not entirely crazy.

Okay, and here is a short list of books that I've read, been reading, that maybe fall into the 'weird' category.  This is my other goal for this year, to continue to seek out those books that are weird.  Which I mean in the most flattering sense of the word.  A word whose origin can be traced to a connection with destiny.  The Possessed, by Elif Batuman.  How Should a Person Be?, by Sheila Heti.  Steppenwolf, by Hesse.  O Fallen Angel, by Kate Zambreno.  The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock.  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender.  Some of these books are not weird weird.  Maybe just weird to me because I came upon them just when I needed them.  The ending of The Particular Sadness still haunts me.  Mainly I'm interested in the blurring of writer and narrator and story in many of these books.  How we enter the stories of others. How we appear and disappear. How difficult it is to live with the unbearable, with the frailty of life, just that sometimes.  In short, I felt in reading these books, all so different really, a connection with destiny.  Though for me always, the weirdest most gorgeous book will always be The Stream of Life.

I mean, in Hive, I wrote for 5 or so years, or 10 depending on where you want to start counting, about a woman art forger, about what is real and what is fake, and yes, how the hell to be, to be real and not fake, even though we commit mad acts of fakery every single day, or at least most of us do.  I do.  I try not to.  Also about fragility.  From the introduction to my Deleuze essays, regarding the frail health of artists, "This frailty, however, does not simply stem from their illnesses or neuroses, says Deleuze, but from having seen or felt something in life that is too great for them, something unbearable, "that has put on them the quiet mark of death." "  The frailty of my art forger, of all my current characters, this is central to the writing.  My frailty is central to the writing.  God I am frail, a frail writer.

Okay, and lastly a photograph of a teapot.  Puzzle pieces.  The blurriness of life.  A whole other side of things.  My daily escape into colour and light, if all goes well, it is daily.  It does not always go well.  However, today it did, indeed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the atmosphere of happiness

The nest is a lyrical bouquet of leaves.  It participates in the peace of the vegetal world.  It is a point in the atmosphere of happiness that always surrounds large trees.

~ Gaston Bachelard

Of course I return to nests in this season.  The attempt to make one's own nest a point in the atmosphere of happiness.  The home as a lyrical bouquet.  I look forward today to cleaning, sorting, putting the house into some semblance of order.  And listening to Joni Mitchell's Blue.  And River.  I've always found these melancholy songs to be a source of happiness.

What a strange and difficult year it's been in so many ways.  We resolved early on though, R. and I, that we would make something of it nonetheless.  One great thing about the poor art market and subsequently slow sales for him, is that he's felt liberated to paint exactly what he wants, to pursue subject matters close to his heart.  So it's been a year of gorgeous book paintings.  And other experimentations with things like crushed coke cans.  And why not?  You can tell he's had fun with these, coaxing the paint into these mangled contortions.  Yes, they're crushed but still recycle-able.  It's been another year of reinvention, always a good thing, albeit painful at the beginning, and the uncertainty ongoing.

As for me, my pledge to write most mornings, early, however mad and tired and fragile and weird it makes me for the rest of the day, has I think paid off.  I have maybe written, in 100 word intervals, half a novel.  Or so.  It's difficult to tell when you're in the midst of it.  My 2011 goal is to finish it.  And today I think that's even possible.  And meanwhile, also for me, these small escapes, excursions into photography.  I don't try to analyze them, but I know the snapping makes me happy.  A strange liberation, too, to make things, for nothing, no reason, other than for pleasure, to uplift my scrawny soul.  To capture these insignificant moments.  Nice capture, people say on Flickr.  Yes.  Which is really all about the light, a split second of light.  The slant or scantness or abundance of it.  So, for me, too, it's been a year about thinking about light, as a way of being.  Noticing how the light enters our Northern suburban nest.  Even on the greyest days, the shortest ones.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When I type I dream...

I wrote a poem in my undergrad inspired by reading Kate Chopin's The Awakening in a women's lit class.  The wonderful professor had brought in a CD of Chopin and for half the class we listened.  THe poem was inspired by childhood dreams of wanting to play the piano.  (I'm not really musically inclined).  And then learning to type in high school, on an IBM Selectric I think it was.  How liberating - to capture thoughts with such speed. I've since lost the poem, lost the longing to play the piano.  I still like typing though.  I think the line in the photo above probably says everything the poem was trying to say.  Nothing too deep I suppose.

I'm often getting these ideas for series, then realizing that I have no time to carry them through.  For example, I'd love to do a series of writers and the things, substances, they write with.  Typewriters, computers, pens, pencils, certain types of paper.  Those kinds of obsessions.  The how and why and what of them.

I copied this quotation out in a tiny notebook this past week:

"It's not time we lack, but concentration."  (Adam Zagajewski)

And you know, as much as I complain about a lack of time (and sometimes energy), I think this is true.  It's the focus for things, the concentration.

For a few months now we've been rising at 5am.  Rob goes to his studio, and I go to my study.  It takes a while for me to wake up, be able to stare at the screen.  I have a notebook I scribble things in, and I usually read a few lines of one of the books I call magical.  Usually something by Clarice Lispector or Helene Cixous.  Or Duras.  I have until 7am, when it's time to wake up our daughter, make breakfast etc.  The secret is not to look at email or facebook or flickr.  I don't always succeed.  The other secret is to look out the window into the dark.  There's a lot that can be seen.  My goal is to write one sentence a morning.  I set myself small goals that I know I can reach.  I concentrate.  Most days I will write at least a paragraph.  Maybe it's terrible, the whole narrative, the writing, everything, I don't know, but I do adore my characters, am happy living with them.  Am happy pouring everything I am into this manuscript, early mornings, alone and fresh from dreams.

But back to typing.  You know, I also love writing with a fountain pen.  Ink.  Choosing the perfect colour of ink for the season.  (Summer was green, fall was amber, and winter so far is a smoky shade of blue).  But I do like typing.  Have created a set on my Flickr page to continue exploring this.

I've also always loved the act of writing.  Moving hand over paper.  Just that.  You?