Sunday, October 31, 2021

RBOC and some writing inspiration

  •  First, some writing inspiration from Paul McCartney in The New Yorker: "As McCartney recalls, “George would say, ‘Be here at ten, tune up, have a cup of tea.’ At ten-thirty you’d start.” Two songs were recorded by lunch, and often two more afterward. “Once you get into that little routine, it’s hard, but then you enjoy it. It’s a very good way to work. Because suddenly at the end of every day you’ve got four songs.” This puts Sir Paul in the "write every day" camp, and I am here for it. At the end of the day you've got four songs; at the end of the pomodoro, you've at least got more words than you did at the beginning.
  • More writing inspiration, but very vague, I'm afraid: a writer recently posted that he gets up really early to write not despite his being too tired but BECAUSE of it. The fatigue, etc. helps him to stop dancing around and actually get down to writing, because it turns off his inner editor. I saw this and shouted "this is me!" to the cats, except that for me 9 p.m. is the witching hour when the inhibitions put out a "gone to lunch" sign and I can settle into writing. I am still doggedly trying to write in the morning because at 9 p.m. on a teaching day, I am really too tired for any work, but morning writing is never going to be the same as those quiet evening hours.
  • Seeing pictures of modern writing houses, I'm struck by how they seem to come in two styles: stuffed to the gills with mementos, children's pictures, artwork, and various cozy knicknacks; and bare in a pure minimalist style, with just fancy chairs, a laptop, a couple of artbooks, and some inspirational "live laugh love" thingy on the wall, with nary a functional file cabinet in sight. The point is that they have a definite aesthetic. Mine does not have an aesthetic, unless "office for reading and writing" is an aesthetic. To my mind it's the most beautiful (because it's roomy and mine and I love it), but I was ridiculously fretting about its not making A Coherent Aesthetic Statement and that I was somehow shortchanging it because I wasn't making it beautiful enough. Spouse wisely said "it's for your work, not theirs. Work is your aesthetic."
  • My double life of pretending regret about not going to conferences and that there is no COVID or that travel is not a challenge, like the rest of the academic conference world, is making me a bit irritable privately, though I'm still maintaining the public facade. 
  • Was Halloween always such a big deal? When I was a kid, we dressed up and went trick-or-treating on October 31, usually with our parents, but they didn't dress up and the houses were just regular houses, not decorated. Around here everything is Halloween for all of October, and a lot of people decorate and dress up. Was it always this way? Or do we just want more holidays now (not a bad thing)? 


xykademiqz said...

"The fatigue, etc. helps him to stop dancing around and actually get down to writing, because it turns off his inner editor."

Yeah, I feel this. I do my best creative writing in the evenings for the same reason. (I think I first heard this suggestion from poet/flash author Meg Pokrass, to write when tired in order to facilitate flow, and have since found it to be true.) Doing math, writing code, editing other people's papers, teaching, and/or dealing with admin are easy to do in the morning, but creative writing is tough. (Btw, when it comes to crafting compelling technical prose for proposals, the same holds. If it needs to have magic, it's best written when I'm somewhat tired.)

gwinne said...

Umm, Halloween does seem to be a bigger deal in my community--with more houses decorated and with more stuff to do, spread over multiple weeks--than it did even a few years ago?

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Decorating seems to be a huge deal where I live now, but I'm never sure if the operative variable is time or space. Growing up, it was just jack-o-lanterns. Now there are skeletons playing beach volleyball at a house down the street.

undine said...

xykademiqz--writing when tired to facilitate flow = a great idea.

gwinne--I wonder if it's because people want to celebrate after a year of being more or less shut in.

Dame Eleanor--skeletons playing beach volleyball sounds awesome! Seriously, though, people seem less reluctant to put out stuff like skeletons or things that might scare little kids.