Monday, April 23, 2012

Open War

WELL. Home from the conference, and I have a lot of stuff to sift through.

Everyday life is sort of beckoning (...sort of), but there are some writing tasks to do, too. I have to bang out a query, in theory I should do a few things to my website, I have people to friend on Facebook, etc etc. The thing I'm still amazed about is how different the elevation and humidity feel here. It's astounding. The air feels so much more normal. No one had ever told me what a difference it makes to be 6,000 feet further up in the atmosphere. 

There's a lot buzzing around in my head that I want to say, a lot of Big Stuff about writing (and a plethora of little stuff, too), but I can't really get it together right now. So, instead, I will present you with two quotes - Tycho from Penny Arcade echoing Martha Graham, of all people. 
Like most readers, I had functionally consigned On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness [ed.: a video game project of Penny Arcade's that Matt and I loved, and which wasn't popular enough to continue in the way it had been conceived] to the furnace.  I had let it float away on one of those little lantern boats in a way that brought me closure, if no one else.  Insufficient.
Fucking insufficient.
You have to get back on the horse.  Somehow, and I don’t know how this kind of thing starts, we have started to lionize horseback-not-getting-on:  these casual, a priori assertions of inevitable failure, which is nothing more than a gauze draped over your own pulsing terror.  Every creative act is open war against The Way It Is.  What you are saying when you make something is that the universe is not sufficient, and what it really needs is more you.  And it does, actually; it does.  Go look outside.  You can’t tell me that we are done making the world.
And Martha, a conversation between herself and Agnes de Mille: 
"There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open..." 
"But," I said, "when I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied."
"No artist is pleased."
"But then there is no satisfaction?"
"No satisfaction whatever at any time," she cried passionately. "There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others." 

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