Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The beast rises from the muck

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This may be the summer I actually, for real, fall in love with writing. (I don't know how to do that thing where you cross out what you've just written, otherwise I would have crossed out fall in love and modified the sentence to say, feel really impassioned about). As soon as I finished my final grades I drug myself back to the coffee shop where, only a day earlier I had been grading and I've been plugging away at it pretty much every day since. Well, except my birthday weekend, pride weekend, the long, long 4th of July weekend, my friend's 40th birthday weekend, that one weekend in between my birthday weekend and pride . . .

Last night I had a totally startling moment of writing grace. I usually have one of these at some point when I'm writing something I really care about, even though I'm always convinced it will never come this time, where my argument rises up out of pages and pages of [mostly unusable]writing and stands there, dripping with mud and sweat and announces his presence. (yeah, the beast is always male. Weird, huh?) Instantly paragraphs rearrange--some sent reeling into the black hole of the recycling bin, others come forward to occupy privileged spaces, where before they were stuck in footnotes, others magically rise from sleeping documents and benevolently settle into places where I wouldn't have imagined them wanting to be. And there is peace in the land, and energy, and I begin to guard my time jealously, craving more and more encounters with my beast, now turned into big, beautiful, bouncing paragraphs.

This moment only comes after writing in about five different directions for weeks, hoping the different threads will all come together, but in the back of my mind knowing that's not how my writing ever works; making master outlines and reorganizing all I've written into different configurations, over and over; walking around with 3x 5 cards and a pen in my purse, pocket of jeans, gym bag, for when the sentence I've been wrestling with reorganizes in just the right way, usually when I'm in the checkout line at the grocery store, or on the elliptical machine at the gym; and stopping in the middle of a productive thought to pull every book I own off the shelves, glancing at them briefly, and stacking them next to my desk because I Cannot. Possibly. Claim. Anything. Without. Them. And, of course, this moment doesn't arrive until I've had several meltdowns, including

1)picking the wrong recovered document after my computer had to be rebooted and undoing an entire day's worth of writing, a day in which it seemed the beast was rising from the muck, but was only peering out from it, and

2)deciding I needed a new printer after not being able to print documents for an entire day, and that this was just another example of everything always breaking and nothing good ever happening to me. My gf, who is a closet computer whiz--really, she's a resolute MAC user, and yet she can dig into programs I don't even know my pc has and fix things--saved me a lot of money when she figured out what was wrong: the printer wasn't plugged into the computer.

So my beast has risen, and it feels like Christmas morning (or maybe Easter morning), and all I want to do is play with it, but I have to go to work (new student advising=summer camp for professors who hang out in the advising pit eating and gossiping all day and get paid for it) and then I leave for a week with my family in California tomorrow. I hope the beast waits for me.


Blogger Sfrajett said...

"No, dear Beast," said Beauty, "you must not die. Live to be my husband; from this moment I give you my hand, and swear to be none but yours. Alas! I thought I had only a friendship for you, but the grief I now feel convinces me, that I cannot live without you." Beauty scarce had pronounced these words, when she saw the palace sparkle with light; and fireworks, instruments of music, everything seemed to give notice of some great event. But nothing could fix her attention; she turned to her dear Beast, for whom she trembled with fear; but how great was her surprise! Beast was disappeared, and she saw, at her feet, one of the loveliest princes that eye ever beheld; who returned her thanks for having put an end to the charm, under which he had so long resembled a Beast.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Hilaire said...

This is such a lovely description of transcendent writing...

And congratulations!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Adriana Velez said...

A mucky beast -- what an apt description of writing! I love it. Hope your wrestle/dance with the beast continues to impassion and leads to smashing piece.

9:40 PM  
Blogger dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

sorry I've been gone so long. I LOVE this post. It gives me hope.

10:58 PM  

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