FREE COLLEGE WEEK 3
If you Google “persistence” you get a bunch of successory posters featuring snails with inspirational quotes like, “No matter how long the journey…” You know what– until you’ve walked a mile in a snail’s long slippery shoe I think you should leave the snail out of it.
I just finished the final edits on an upcoming novel and as I was working under deadline on a particularly beautiful sunny day I thought, “I can’t wait to never write a book again.”
Mostly, that feeling was coming out of a desire for free time. I work 40+ hours a week plus I have a high-maintenance dog, a bad back that requires exercises, and my writing life. On the day I was finishing my novel I wanted to be sitting in Dolores Park with the nouveau-San Francisco-riche, eating Bi-Rite ice cream or whatever happens in this speedily changing city that’s pushing artists out at an alarming rate to make room for the latest tech bubble workers. $3300 for a one bedroom apartment. Don’t get me started.
I’ve been thinking a lot about persistence lately in how it pertains to a daily writing practice. It’s very difficult to do work on a writing project on a daily basis, yet when I’m able to I feel I’m crafting my work with a kind of psychic advantage. I’m in the piece more deeply. Living in the rooms my characters are living in.
Recently, I was transcribing an interview I did with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rae Armantrout and we were talking about why the world will never see an Emily Dickinson type writer again. Rae said something to the effect that the world keeps us so busy we’re blocked a certain kind of genius. I really agree with that.
Matias Viegner used a meme going around Facebook, the ultimate distracter to write his book that just came out, 2500 Random Things About Me Too.
The Facebook meme required a person to write a random list of 25 things about themselves. Matias did that. And then a hundred more. Weaving a narrative together, while fighting the idea of narrative. It’s a great read and also a special window into the struggles of a writer’s persistence.
So, where’s the FREE COLLEGE exercises you ask?
Read Lorrie Moore’s story, “Real Estate” from Birds of America.
Write a story in which a surprising plot twist occurs.
Write a story while listening to Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3.
At each of the three movements make the plot shift in your story.
Make an effort to write something in your writing journal every day at the same time. Even if it is only a sentence. Oh, and go eat an ice cream in the park whether you have time for it or not.