Writing on Writing

I would like to say that I’ve been prolific in my writing over the last few weeks, but that would be a lie.

My first focus has been the novel. It is complete (in the sense that I don’t believe it requires anything new to be added: chapters, characters, story arcs, etc..), yet requires a good revision to smooth over the parts which were put in place (not unlike a temporary glue or kludges) so that I could carry on telling the story without getting bogged down with detail work. Thankfully, the amendable bits are easy to recognize and not too draining for me to clarify.

A few weeks back, my tangential focus was on submitting two stories to two separate entities (one a contest, another a lit mag). Again, revisions were needed, as I don’t think it’s very safe to blindly submit something, even if you were perfectly happy with it previously.

In other words, the novel’s coming along very well, submissions are submitted (and the inevitable lottery entered). There’s just not a hell of a lot of “new” writing happening these days, which bugs me.

It would bug me more if it wasn’t for the fact that I seem to be in a “research” period. Quite involuntarily, I find that I’m following leads which present themselves to me without my seeking them: clues, ideas, conjectures. Most influential, at least currently, is Karl Popper, whose “Unended Quest” I have been devouring for the last while. His insights into the theory of knowledge and its application across the spectrum of art, science, and politics is – if anything – thought provoking. The goal of philosophy, I am reminded when reading someone who understands exactly what he or she is talking about, is not to blindly adopt beliefs because they sound good, but to digest them. To try them on like a pair of garish sunglasses and look at the world through them; rarely will even the most profound philosophy not require adjustments made to it in order for you to still be and think like you, and not someone else.

I’m reminded of Hesse’s Siddhartha, where the protagonist, upon meeting the Gotama Buddha, rejects his offer for Siddhartha to join his group, stating that the Buddha himself came to his wisdom not by following others, but through making the necessary mistakes needed to attain wisdom.

Somewhere, far away, I am *this* close to something.


4 Replies to “Writing on Writing”

  1. Matt, We bumble about, close to something, much of the time, bumping into “it,” tripping over “it,” as though it were a daemon and we are residing in an alternate world. It sounds so damned efficient when we read about men and women who seem to get “it” with a minimum of effort. I’m frustratedly in solidarity with you in your frustration. Your description reminds me of a hound with an extraordinary package of scent glands, being yanked off in all directions by the scents of ideas and the possibility of connected dots everywhere.

  2. Shelly – yes, that [dog w/ overly-sensitive scent glands] is a good analogy for the predicament. It’s the lust to create tethered to the lust to discover, and inevitably, to carry on with the metaphor, they will yank the leash in opposite directions, collectively going nowhere until some sort of pact is made.

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