Posts By indiraganesan

Is it because?

 

Is it because of the impeachment I want to stay in bed all day as the sun streams inside the apartment, and frost melts off the car?  Is it because of the impeachment I scan all the food articles in The Guradian and start reading the Travel section because the headlines have not changed in two hour? I read the Let’s Move to _______; wonder why Paris Hilton is upset because she has to boil noodles for lasagna, and shred the mozzerella, though she has proclaimed she is an amazing cook after watching her mother make lasagna seated on the kitchen counter ( making me try to remember who her mother was? Leona Helmsley? Or was that another hotel chain? ); and The Best Cushions of the Year  article, and go back to the headlines.  Is it because by Friday we will know if democracy was just a failed experiment, that we have somehow accepted an oligarch to front the country? I make myself wash my hair.  I will tie on my shoes and go out, somewhere.  I remember the good news I have heard from friends who have won grants and will write amazing books; I remember the interview with Mary Francis Berry in which she says people must protest and make their politicians act. I do not have a conclusion for this post, but here is a link to the Berry interview:

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/rsi3jw/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-mary-frances-berry—-history-teaches-us-to-resist–and-the-power-of-protest—extended-interview

 

Nostalgia and Memory, Mostly.

 Updike never switched over to using a computer for his stories; some poets have never abandoned their manual typewriters.  My dad had a manual sea green one. I started with an electric Smith-Corona, blue like a robin’s egg, I think.  At some point, I traded the blue for my father’s brown one.  Then I upgraded to a Panasonic Electronic, a smooth humming baby that I loved.  I wrote long-hand on legal pads, then when I was ready to transfer to type, I used yellow second sheets first to draft, and white for the final.  I had a sheet that I used as a margin guide that I placed behind the white to guide my words.  

I would put an album on, and type one page per one side for the final white, which was how long it took not knowing how to type.

NowI have a manuscript that is 310 pages long. I am reluctant to print it out because that means I can no longer tinker, adjust. Once I print, I have to read, and decide if I want to retype. The work in abstract so much more attractive because it is still forming.

All nostalgia and memory.

At Home

I was struck by an offhand comment I overheard the other day. Well, said the speaker, I’d love to sit at home all day and write, but I have to go to work. And it seemed that this is a key bit of misunderstanding in how a society sees writers. Unlike artists, writers hardly ever have much to show for our process. There is not a stack of canvases to display, or sounds and smells emitting from a studio of cans of paint and brushstrokes. In the old days, the clatter of keys was the sound of a writer writing, or the scratch scratch of pen on paper, but one doesn’t usually display drafts of underlined manuscript, nubs of pencils. In fact, very few of us sit up all night feverishly writing a novel, with a break to eat an apple, swadled in crazily patterned yet terribly chic knitted things, the way Jo did in the recent film of Little Women. Usually, a writer wakes, attends to the task at hand, and emerges a bit sleepy and disheveled to check the mail. One doesn’t make chitchat because the conversations are arranging themselves inside. So I imagine what a person who might write at home looks like is a person not working at all.

Of course, writing is work, and not often pleasurable. It’s work. Creating is fun, but weighing each word and aligning it with another, revising a paragraph, and re-typing an entire chapter only to throw it away, is most definately not fun. But then come those moments, when the world around you seems to fall away, and something clicks, and feels write, I mean right and all is impossibly good.

Not to say there aren’t The Distractions working at home. There is the time spent on social media until one flinches back and shuts it down. There is the time spent reading the news, doing laundry, sweeping the floor. There might be the nap following reading whatever book one is buried in at the moment. I start in the morning, and stop after four hours. I make my favorite lunch ( grilled cheese) and attend to correspondence. And at dinner time, if I am really into my work, I watch the blandest tv possible with dinner, and head to bed. Months or years later, a book emerges. So while it may not look like work, it is. And that work accompanies you to every market trip, every Cafè stop, every dinner party. There is a need for tremendous head-space to create anything, and there is a certain disconnect from the world of 9-5. The work is invisible, but it’s going on, all the time.

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