this is my day (/this week) in internet-banter form w my friend Dave
Doing that thing where I count the days until be baseball season starts and try to figure out how I can slip into a coma until then.
you should start obsessing about your word count - like me! every day at midnight, i write down my word count on a post it note (along with the others from the previous days) and i keep it on my laptop.) once i fill the post it note, i put it on the wall above my desk. the numbers start to add up (im up around 3,000 or so a day) and it feels productive. it empowers you to just keep going. its that hurtle everyone tells you about, that you can’t see until you’ve experienced jumping over it. and i’ve found it doesn’t matter what i’m writing just as long as i do it. im about to finish my second full week of this and its become so natural. i like to drink a french press of coffee while i do it (we all have our habits.)
my most favorite (and possibly, the best) writing advice i’ve encountered yet: write sentences. that’s all we’re doing. (my dad always says “you’re just putting words in order. that’s all.”) just write one, build all the others off of it (like a thesis/topic sentence, which is still dumb as an idea in the way they teach it to high school kids, but i’m finally finding how “the thesis sentence” is useful: not in the conventional sense, but in the sense that you can use that first sentence to build the rest of whatever you’re writing off of it.) play on the metaphor you used, whether something is plural or singular, the details you’re describing and the action going on, etc.
and today i read this line from Gary Shteyngart’s new memoir Little Failure. (i’m also obsessed with the book trailer and how funny it is.)
[this quote is a bit out of context. what’s happening in the story (of his life) right now is he is a little boy, a Russian immigrant, living in Queens with his parents in the late 70s and going to Hebrew Elementary School (SSSQ) and he’s found peace (and acceptance from his peers) in writing a novel.]
"With my newfound lesser brand of hate comes the responsibility that will haunt me for the rest of my life. The responsibility of writing something every day […]”
i guess what im trying to say is, in response to you needing something to hold you over until baseball season (which is also my favorite and the best) is you should start a writing project. im uppity about this because im currently obsessed with writing. (and, for me, what particularly does it is the word count.) the daunting task of writing every day isn’t daunting because writing itself is brutal (i love everything about how rhythmic it all is and soothing it is to clear your head) but the personal responsibility it takes to write every day. when i do it without even thinking about it, the act of writing is so fulfilling that i could have the shittiest day of my life and, still, i would’ve have already written that day.
im just trying to spread the love. sorry i just ninja-ed your tumblr.
my friends are funny. texts from paul, 12:07am, sunday:
"there’s a party at a club on monday nights called porn and chicken"
"porn on the tv’s, dubstep djs, free fried chicken while it lasts"
"bartenders spray you with water, pour shots in your mouth for free"
"go go dancers"
"its for the kids really haha"
"once you pay the cover the stamp they use is like a giant rooster that looks like a tattoo"
"couldn’t wash it off for days, it was a sign of my shame haha"
"and id see it on other people around town and know what they’d done"
the most helpful thing i have encountered so far in graduate school is this tiny piece of advice from my current workshop professor Vijay Seshadri:
1) writers write
2) writers write sentences
its a lesson that the sentence MUST stand on its own.
"use the wrong words and they trap you. you can end up in the phantom zone of literature."
"don’t rush through your sentences to get somewhere. that sentence is where you’re going."
-be simple with the shape of your sentences. don’t load your sentences down with metaphors and don’t use a lot of clauses.
there’s something about how simple the advice itself is crafted. its like all of the sudden, it makes sense. WRITE SENTENCES. its all you ever needed to say to me.
No pro team wants the type of ‘controversy’ having a gay player is gonna cause. If he had just been convicted of DUI vehicular manslaughter, or obstruction of justice in connection with a murder, or have been accused of sexual assault, or screamed the N-word at a concert, or killed a bunch of dogs and buried them in his fucking yard — you know, ‘NFL material.’
JON STEWART, responding to reports that college football player Michael Sam has been deemed undraftable by some NFL teams because of the “controversy” surrounding his announcement that he’s gay, on The Daily Show.
Writing is holding yourself accountable. If you aren’t writing then you aren’t really a writer. Is that what they tell us or is it what we tell ourselves? How many people have writer’s guilt? It’s not the same as writer’s block – it’s just that open feeling where if you aren’t writing you aren’t doing anything. Which is crazy. I’d love to block that shit out, but I’m not exactly sure how. I guess I could spend more time organizing my vinyl because I haven’t in months and that always makes me feel good. I could lay around in bed contemplating the weather (snow day!) or I could just keep writing all day and see what comes out. If you need fifty bad pages to get to one good one, I better start now.
Tabs I currently have open in my browser: Watch “Being Flynn” online (three days open now, its only fueling my obsession with Nick Flynn), Twitter, SPIN’s feature on Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman from when he played Lester Bangs written by Bangs’ partner in co-founding Creem Magazine, Jaan Uhelszki, Stereogum’s feature on Green Day’s Dookie turning 20, Gmail and Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld’s web series’ special with Jason Alexander reviving his role as George Costanza.
Now, do I open tumblr and publish this all here? If it’s not on the Internet, does it exist? If I’m not writing it here, does it mean I’m writing?
a writer-friend (mostly friend but definitely writer) sent me this quote. i think im probably going to use it, a lot.
“If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.” - Faulkner