Monday, February 22, 2010

4 Ways To Become a Natural-Born Writer.

1. I kept telling everybody I was a writer and kept getting offended when they asked what I'd written. I didnt know you had to actually write something to be a writer! So I started writing things to have something to point to when those rude people asked. And then it was too late & I couldnt stop.

2. I assign numerical values to each letter (and therefore every word) according to Swedenborgian logarithms, and to thereby determine the exact numerical value of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and the entire book, based on three thematic variables. At any point in the book (at any word, that is), the mathematical values following and preceding that word represent the balances of the three main themes that each novel expresses, in a 3-D pyramid of cerebellumic vibrations. This allows the book to be read backwards and forwards from any point, skipping words at certain intervals, as long as the reader is aware of the fundamental forumla, which I cannot reveal at this time as I am having it patented.

3. I was taught by funny books and books like The Signature of All Things, the simplest & weirdest things I could find as both child & adult. I had to drop out of junior high to work in the orange groves with my twin, who today is exactly like me in every way except he is a Celtic fan, that's the only difference but what a difference it is. In any case, I went into abstract self-theory & the numerative technology or fiction writing because I could make it up as I went & win every argument about it, since I invented the history & rules of what it is. When I sense I might be losing an argument about it, I simply change the definition of it and flexibilize its rules & principles. I don't really have to pay much attention to what the other person is saying when they get windbaggy or I get bored, because when I come to I can refer to a new numerational fictive theory-belief which I forgot to mention earlier, and then I'm ahead in the conversation suddenly again. In this case, the less you know, the smarter you are, or seem, which is even better.

4. Writing is the best way to learn to write. Reading can be distracting, especially when I'm writing. If I had to choose only one or the other, writing or reading, as the way to be a writer, I would choose writing, although of course I don't have to choose. The older I get, the less I read, but the more I get out of what I read, whether it's good or bad. Sometimes I think I learn more from bad writing than I do from good, at least consciously, because good writing I get lost in, while in bad I'm acutely aware of the badness and where it might be found in & rooted out of my own writing. But it's easier to be a voracious reader than it is to write a lot. To write a lot, you actually have to write a lot, or else, where is it? To read a lot, you can say you do it, and who's going to prove you don't? And by write a lot, it can be a little in quantity, but a lot in quality. So, in other words, as far as reading and/or writing goes, yes and no. As for hard work, I've never been afraid of it any more than I'd be afraid of a hungry lion. As long as you can avoid it, there's nothing to be afraid of.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Age of Love

The older I get the less I get emotional
about things that used to work me up.

Politics, writing theory, sports, right & wrong,
even old God.

I don't know if it's a matter of diminishing energy,
or not caring enough to want to argue, or just what
happens when you get on.

It doesn't feel bad, I'm not complaining in the
least. I don't even really feel much of a need
to understand it beyond just noticing.

Still, you want to tell what it is, so you look
for words that mosey around whatever it is, where
it came from. what it's like, how you feel about it.

What does get me feeling alive still, or more,
is the feeling of love for other people. A feeling
like finally being a part of whatever it is that's
going on, that matters, that lasts, that's real.

I don't love everybody all the time or anything,
or anything even near that. I don't seem to have
much control over it, over that quiet passion of
longing for others, like a contemplative passsion,
to feel and show that emotional loss of control
over the normal way or living & moving around &
listening & seeing.

It's the thing that where you're listening to somebody
& suddenly you see them & understand & love them
deeply, almost painfully, and it doesn't have
even anything to do with what they're saying, and
you wonder what took you so long, and that's all right

I'm more likely to feel it more when I've been
meditating, oddly, or gardening, or writing--those
things I do that center and calm me.

So I'm more likely to lose control (to the point of
weeping a little, or feeling like weeping) when I've
been doing things that seemingly quiet myself, my

But there's no rule to it, because I'm also vulnerable
to this generalized people-love-overwhelm when my sleep
cycle's messed up, when I'm exhausted.

Music will set it off, just listened to Dylan (the old
Restless Farewell, the new Workingman's Blues). The time
of peace after a couple hours in the garden, that'll open
my heart, too. A good meeting, with laughter & honesty.

I don't know what it is. I don't miss giving up so much
arguing, or letting it go, or realizing it's going
whether I want to let it go or not. "The minute I stopped
arguing I could begin to see and feel."

Thinking of the battles I've had with people, with women,
with men, I feel just a trace of sorrow & then a gentle
flood of understanding and forgiveness and connection at
some level, in some element way inside, like spiritual
x-ray vision.

I spent a lot of time not being with people, even when
I was with them. Though I do spend more time with people,
it's not always easy. I'm still ambivalent about other
folks still sometimes. But there's a land under me, under
the land I'm standing on, that's coming up that's
undeniable, and it's something to do with love.

Not that I understand love, or have it down, or know all
its faces & names, which are many. I could get up from here
and somebody could cross me & the worst could come up in me
just like that again. But not for long, or with the urgency
of before, and easier to see through & let go.

But overall, there's something going on & I don't mind it
at all, nor that it took so long to get to me, or me to

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

David Foster Wallace on "real rebels" in writing today.

"Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval.
The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal:
shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism,
anarchism, nihilism.

"Today’s risks are different.

"The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn,
the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody
of gifted ironists, the "Oh, how banal." To risk accusations
of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness.
Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers
who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law."

-David Foster Wallace from "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction" (1993)

And I could not agree more.
(Thanks to Tim Ramick for this quote from David.)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Q&As with Agents and Editors...

For anybody who hasn't see these fascinating if not enlightening
discussions from Poets&Writers last year:

Four Agents

Four Editors

(By the way, Kafka says:
"In the struggle between yourself and the world, hold the world's coat.")

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