Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mining Whilst Tipsy

Matt is rather drunkily slaughtering orks in the computer room. I'm rather drunkily sitting in front of my computer out here. In theory I ought to be plunking down more words in the novel, but I'm not really feelin' it. I'm in a fainting-couch mood, instead. This is a mood where I go into the computer room, plunk down in the empty laundry basket, and give deep sighs until Matt asks me what's wrong. Then I draw a dramatic hand across my forehead, lean back, and tell him that writing is soooo hard. Then we both laugh.

I'm in a good place on the novel, really. Things are going well. I'm on track to be finished well before my deadline if I don't lose momentum. There are mechanical problems, but they're fixable. My writing is actually smoother and more creative in its smallities than on the previous project; I'm prouder of it on a sentence-by-sentence basis. I'm not positive it adds up to anything, but I think one day it will. I'm also grateful that I have the version of Microsoft Word which shows me, in the bottom bar, how many words are in my document. It's incredibly helpful to see that total and know I'm nowhere near the end of the story. But it also shows me that I'm nowhere near the end of the story. Gaaaah.

Sugar has this to say about writing:
Writing is hard for every last one of us... Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.
It's a quote I relied upon completely when I discovered it back in the fall, and I would not, not, not have completed the Greenland book without it. But the day-to-day experience of writing a novel is indeed not at all unlike mining. It's dirty and unpleasant and hard and from inside the mine, it doesn't look like you've made any kind of progress. For the moment, I just want to curl up in a ball and have someone pet me and say yes, dear, it surely is hard. Poor coal-mining baby.

No one is doing this for me right now, although the alcohol seeping into my brain cells (while it's removing some of them--woops, there goes what I knew about Kierkegaard) is certainly clawing away at the maudlin-ness. See, maybe there's the secret to coal mining. Get good and lubed up before you go down in the pit. Wait, no, that's a bad idea. I think I'm just about ready to get back to digging myself, seeing as how what I'm doing isn't actually life-threatening and I need to ride this buzz before it vanishes.

But first! In other news, I'm rereading Rebecca for the zillionth time. The most recent time I read it was in college, though, and at 30 it's quite a different experience. It turns out that I remember the mood, tone, events, and characters of the book far better than I remember the actual page-by-page experience of reading it. I've always said that it's the book I'd be if Fahrenheit 451 became reality. I still hold to that, as it's just essential reading, but I'm kind of turned off by how much more rhapsodically descriptive it is than I remembered, how much less it is about Big Things and how much more it is about small things. And how much more informed by patriarchy it is than I remembered. Thanks a lot, Mount Holyoke, now I'll permanently notice crap like that. Next on the list is David Foster Wallace, whom I've never read before aside from a short story or two which I didn't much enjoy. We'll see how Infinite Jest strikes me. I'm 1 for 2 on Thomas Pynchon.

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