The Work of Writing: Week Three Update

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Oh, week three: meant to be a full-fledged orgy of inspiration. Epileptic fits of pastoral joy, “Look at that flame-edged leaf! I muse in agonized ecstasy on its transcendent contours…”, weeping over a perfect shard of broken glass, and so on and so on–basically all the things that make the world hate writers. Sometimes that’s the way it works, is it not? Though you might tremble at the cliched nature of your activity, sometimes wandering lonely as a cloud really does make your heart dance with the daffodils (and then with Microsoft Word and then with Submishmash and then with the PEN/Faulkner award).

But none of that happened this week. I did get weepy at the sight of a water tower. But there was more to the story than just superficial beauty. I’ll elaborate below. Oh, I also cried because an idiot customer yelled at me because his tacos were (gasp) on the same platter as his friend’s tacos. It’s moments like those that remind me I need to buy pepper spray and also fully shuck off societal politeness in order to live as my truest self, which is a FURIOUS OMBRÉD WHIRLWIND OF MISGUIDED VINDICATION!

Instead, I felt like this past week was simply me pushing the reset button. It was full of simple contemplative moments like Oh, I really like reading and writing by hand feels nice and I should write an essay about this feeling and I like music too I guess, just little sweet interludes that reminded me what I love about not just writing, not just about art, but about life. 

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This is what I did:

1. Read Atonement for hours, lying on the couch in a patch of sunlight–the Platonic ideal of novel-reading.

2. Went for sushi in one of my old Chicago neighborhoods (I’m masochistically nostalgic), sat alone, and wrote in my journal for a long time.

3. Went to the movies by myself, which has long been one of my absolute favorite things to do. Necessary: some dusk-colored street-wandering afterward.

4. Went for a one-block walk with my Canon and tried to see things in new ways (results here). I also threw a Coors Light bottle into the air to photograph it. You can guess what happened 0.5 seconds later. Sorry, City of Chicago! Don’t be mad, I got nasty beer/spit all over my fingers, it was punishment enough!

5. Made a tiny movie called ACTRESS FILMS ANOTHER FINAL SCENE with Rose Truesdale (watch it here).

6. Filmed another movie with two amazing Chicago actors in the graveyard where Charles Dickens’ impoverished brother was buried. Cue creepy out-of-tune piano interlude. The film is called THE NARCO’S WIFE and it should be ready for your rapt viewing pleasure in week or so…AAAAAIIIIEEEEEE!

7. Went to the Art Institute and wandered around the ancient parts.

8. Went to the World Music Festival Chicago twice, once with wine, both times with a handsome bass player.

9. Took a train back to my somewhat-hometown, Western Springs, for the strangest afternoon of my life. Suffice it to say that I experienced everything from tear-inducing nostalgia (yes, I started sniffling over the sight of a water tower) to a floaty sense of displacement to surrealish nausea to scoring a hardback of my favorite book of the summer, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, to accidentally buying a second large black hat, to nabbing some birthday presents for my dearest ones. Good day.

10. Started a little zine some like to call CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.  Every morning I do 100 push-ups, eat a raw egg, and start reading. Okay, I actually haven’t finished the introduction yet. But I’m really liking the introduction!

11. In general, spent a little less time online and a little more time interacting with the tangible–flowers, the page, the ancient Japanese sculptures at the Art Institute, which apparently you’re not supposed to touch or take home with you??? NEWS TO ME. I thought “400 BC” was the PRICE TAG, OKAY?

12. One last thing I gotta say, not really part of the week but I just need to be annoying for a second: the first screenplay I ever wrote got honorable mention in a contest!!! And even better, nobody told me about it–seeing your name on a list when you weren’t expecting it is the best shock in the world. I hope to experience it again some day HI MACARTHUR FOUNDATION NO NEED TO CALL ME I’LL JUST KEEP REFRESHING YOUR TWITTER FEED.

Get out there, my loves, and have your own week three, and no need to create something from the experience. Sometimes it’s best to just let things flow through you, I guess. C’MON AND DO THE JAILHOUSE ROCK WITH ME!

Photo on 9-13-13 at 11.18 AM #7 Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 1.12.31 PM

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