>Promises Made, Promises Broken

October 19, 2006 § 8 Comments

>I promised myself I would read two hours of Cheever (and maybe finish him off) before internetting, but then, when have I ever followed though completely? Why be inconsistent now?

I feel like that emotional ESP us bloggers were having recently is back, but now it’s related to having no time and tons to do and say. I’ve spent the past two days absorbed in my writing and I think I’m starting to notice some patterns I have when it comes to revision. I’m all about starting with a morsel, expanding to a point where I’m worried my stories are going to become novels, then contracting back to something close to the essence of the work.

My dreams have been vivid, which might be because I’ve had dairy (pizza) for the past couple of days. Usually I don’t eat dairy. It’s the only changed variable in my routine.

As I mentioned to a friend recently, I feel like moving to New York is asking to get a flogging. I mean, the west coast is such a leisurely life in so many ways. SF was about being coddled until I couldn’t take it any more. The midwest was a year of living at a resort, where my obligations were few and the pressure of life was limited. But New York. New York is all about enjoying a good beating. I’m looking forward to it. (Not being sarcastic.)

I’ve started to think a lot about why I write. At first, I believed it had to do with my need to have a voice that’s my own in a world where there are so many voices. There’s something very colonizing about that. If I can have my say, then I’m alive. But then I started to think that the reason I write is because it’s much more gratifying than living. I’m not very good at being a person. I can fake it, but really, I don’t know how to do the things that people do. Or I feel awkward doing them. I’ve always felt like I’m on the outside, watching things happen but never being fully a part of them. But when I write, I have my own world that I’m fully included in and I have control over my characters (to some extent). It’s not that I always want to be in their world. It allows me to feel that all of my time spent observing the world around me without ever feeling like I’m completely in it is relevant and helpful in this one thing I do. I give myself permission to feel less troubled by my inability to fully be in the world because there’s another area of my life where I benefit from being on the outside.

Here’s a favorite Cheever quote before heading off to bathe with my book… “Fifty percent of the people in the world are homesick all the time…. You don’t really long for another country. You long for something in yourself that you don’t have, or haven’t been able to find.”

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§ 8 Responses to >Promises Made, Promises Broken

  • Anonymous says:

    >your reasons for writing were so beautifully stated. happy you found that medium.

  • aimee says:

    >i loooove that quote.god. the days go too quickly. and the computer sucks me in so easily, like a willing lover.that’s so funny. i felt like living in SF was the beating. then again, i wasn’t really there (just part of a summer) and i didn’t try too hard. i was quite depressed there.i think ny will be GREAT for you. i think it’s great that you get to live all over the place, and bathe w/writers.

  • mother says:

    >Your comments about writing are quite profound (not that I’m surprised.) The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill is not at all about writing, but you would find it a very interesting (and possibly comforting)play. It’s interesting how writers are able to beautifully express similar feelings.

  • Dad says:

    >More about O’Neill. He was homeless. Lived in hotels with his actor/father. Was part of the explanation of his tragic view and why many of his plays related to sailors. O’Neill spent his young adult years in Greenwich Village as a disolute itinerant prior to his early recognition as a playwright. I think NY can be foundational for you too. Love, Dad

  • Gili says:

    >Aimee,You’re kind of right about the bay area. i can’t speak for the whole city, but there’s a lot of pressure in the queer community. silent societal norms are all over the place. and finding a job was ruthless. and my job was ruthless. actually, make that most of the jobs i had while living there. but still, it doesn’t feel like the same kind of beating i’m planning on taking in the city of all cities. although i will never move back to the bay area. for many reasons. that didn’t really clear up my original thoughts because i DID feel coddled in the bay area. coddled and stressed out all at once. i need to think about this and then try to articluate it better.

  • polarchip says:

    >Dearest Gi,I can’t make you any promises about what NY will be like, except that it will be intense. Intense good, intense bad, I don’t know, probably both. But the intensity will make you feel alive, and isn’t that the point?-Ellen(OOO!!! Didn’t Eugene O’Neil’s daughter Oona marry Charlie Chaplin? I’m wondering if your parents know how he felt about it, since Charlie was so much older, and he had been married so many times before.)

  • Dad says:

    >Eugene disowned Oona after she married Charlie Chaplin.

  • Gili says:

    >my parents are really smart.

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