“The Creators Curse” – a raw deal – and everything is practice

When I stood up from the couch I thought.  I’m tired of everything being practice.  Each character sketch, each poetic fragment, each novel attempt, each theory, each relationship, each parenting moment, each breath.  All participated in as if the engagement might provide benefit, as if the pain will promote healing, as if the mistakes will prove corrective, as if fitness might improve health.  “Lifelong learning” – how nice it sounds, how endless.

But learning for what – ?  There’s just more life until… and then it’s probably simply (well, complexly) variantly continued – one situation hardly informs another – for the next now the context has changed, as well the elements, the matter, the flow.

So then I think again – perhaps it’s fear.  That lifelong learning, or anything meta- entails a splitting off – a doing WITH the observation; and thinking WITH  reflection; the subject’s objectification.  A remove.  And so it feels like practice rather than NOW.  

Earlier today (apologies – I’m really just rambling this post – no pre-write, no consideration or filtering) my son shared this with me:

Cyanide Happiness Creators Curse


– The “Creators Curse” from Cyanide & Happiness.  In our making we extend and become in the risking required to attempt…to craft… to work… so it cannot end, for if we grow or move or change (which we will) the work will need to go farther, be finer, account for those fluctuations… ever stepping into new, fresh, dynamic, complex realities… PRACTICE IS IMPOSSIBLE.

But if we turn and try to bring the effort up to speed, in that turning, that editing, that effort, nothing stops.  Nothing stops moving into that next moment, next ream of realities, heart-beat’s context, juggling atoms and muscles and breath…  “Improvement”?  Who knows.  But different for sure.  And even if we reach and stretch toward the work we imagine versus the work we are capable of…it all changes in kind…as change.

In optimistic moments this is cause for hope.  The possibility that something might improve, benefit may come, a temporary health could be achieved.  But not achieved only altered.  And not altered only changing.  I’ve argued before that we must lose our tenses to be honest to living – everything must become verb.

But I don’t want anything to be practice anymore…rather maybe process – doing, making, saying thinking in or with … everything.

I’m very tired of the hesitation, illusory gap, the pretend-vision of seeing our seeing, or feeling our feeling; loving our loving, writing our writing, thinking our thinking our  thinking…

I want to be : living, writing, parenting, loving, doing, making, saying, thinking NOW and HERE as IS.  

Live Models

Notes on Fiction and Philosophy

(complete text linked)

Brian Evenson

I thickly recommend you print and mark up the entire essay, but to tantalize your imaginative mental taste buds, here’s a representative nuggety excerpt:

“Good fiction, I would argue, always poses problems – ethical, linguistic, epistemological, ontological – and writers and readers, I believe, should be willing to draw on everything around them to pose tentative answers to those problems and, by way of them, pose problems of their own.  For innovative writers, I believe, philosophy is always best an errant affair, a personal and intense wandering, a series of tools that one can employ, move beyond, come back to; it is our ability as writers to stay curious, to borrow, to bricoler, and to adapt and move on that keeps us from becoming stale.”


shadow composition

Approach the page with no idea.  No secondness of reality or facts.

See what the words will do.  Like spontaneous sex with your lover.

What happens next.  If you’re lucky.

What words will come?

Look closely.  Draw the pen near the paper.  Remember, you’ve no idea, like what I’m writing.  Language finding synonyms making thoughts.  Perception in the body.

Something already in the clear, or on it.  Never clear.  Do you see it?

Don’t let the first mark frighten you, it is already done, everything coming after you can edit: crossing out, crossing over.

See the line?  To chase or avoid, either way, impossible to capture or erase.

Look again – do you see it?  Hover but don’t inscribe, what is it waiting there?

I’m not being mischievous or rhetorical, facetious or mystical.  I want you to see what is always already there, predividing your canvas, filtering the open before you engage.  What you cast out around you, the shadow of your general ‘self.’

See it there gathered at point of pen, shading back toward your physical hand and pooling around it?  The absence of your presence forming incorporeality.

You are visiting here.  Your shadow is the record.  What you make out you make up.  But it’s never the first word or the beginning line.  Reality comes before you and spreads out, interfering and refracting the light you wish to use.

At times a bulky blot, at others barely discerned, evidence nonetheless that you are, in fact, tracing.  Operating in a kind of cloud of substance, adding lines and loops, particles, threads.

They say art (and representation) began in shadows, with shadows – recognition of other and presence and beyond.  Likely a myth that is true.

For starters, notice the outline, letting it outline itself/yourself, the visible ghost informing your are

Now, since you’ve already overshadowed what’s next, begun what’s begun, press down and press forward, press on…

Vicente Carducho, tabula rasa. engraving, 1633

Heroes Ringing True

Robert Musil

On “the writer type”:

One can describe this type as the person in whom the irredeemable solitude of the self in the world and among people comes most forcefully to mind:  as the sensitive person who is never given his due;  whose emotions react more to imponderable reasons than to compelling ones; who despises people of strong character with the anxious superiority a child has over an adult who will die half a lifetime before he will; who feels even in friendship and love that breath of antipathy that keeps every being distant from others and constitutes the painful, nihilistic secret of individuality; who is even able to hate his own ideals because they appear to him not as goals but as the products of the decay of his idealism.  These are only isolated and individual instances, but corresponding to all of them, or rather underlying them, is a specific attitude toward and experience of knowledge, as well as of the material world that corresponds to it.”

On the writer’s region (“nonratioid”):

“There is no better way to characterize this region than to point out that it is the area of the individual’s reactivity to the world and other individuals, the realm of values and valuations, of ethical and aesthetic relationships, the realm of the idea…in this region facts do not submit, laws are sieves, events do not repeat themselves but are infinitely variable and individual…there is in the writer’s territory from the start no end of unknowns, of equations, and of possible solutions.  The task is to discover ever new solutions, connections, constellations, variables, to set up prototypes of an order of events, appealing models of how one can be human, to invent the inner person…which then nevertheless branches out somewhere into a boundless thicket, although not without somehow fulfilling its purpose…”

These quotes come from his exceptional small essay Sketch of What the Writer Knows

which I desperately wanted to reproduce here…

if it “rings true” for you – please find a mentor and friend in Robert Musil: