on the writing schedule
monday yes, tuesday yes, wednesday yes, thursday yes, friday yes, saturday no, sunday, no you need to take a break today too—four out of seven days, remember, and you did five already.
proof I feed them; not jut occasionally
on matt haig
Sometimes, I read a book so good I weep because I WILL NEVER WRITE IT. I feel that way with Kurt Vonnegut, actually. Everything he’s written.
And Matt Haig. OMG. How To Stop Time is probably NOT as good as The Humans, which I absolutely adored… but it doesn’t matter. It’s still so good, the idea is so brilliant, the insights into love so profound—I rip through it hungry, elated.
Zadie Smith’s Swing Time lies unfinished on my kitchen table. The climax is coming, I think. I’m not sure. I can’t remember the main character’s name. Maybe she doesn’t have one. Maybe that’s the problem.
the pickle juice incident
This is on Thursday:
Jane: Help! Help! Bring me towels! The pickle jar tipped over and is bathing everything in the fridge!
Flora: How many towels? All of them?
Jane: I don’t know! It’s a 1 litre pickle jar, and all of the juice is out! How many bath towels would it take to mop that up? Is there an equation for that?
Flora (to Cinder): I blame you. All that math has scrambled her brains.
But she brings me ALL the towels. Doesn’t offer to help de-pickle juice the fridge and the produce.
Later, Cinder complains that the bread tastes funny.
Jane: Like pickles?
Cinder: No, like… what did you do to the bread? Did you dunk it in pickle juice?
Jane: Nothing. The pickles attacked everything in the frige. I wiped it off and dried it out.
Cinder: You’re lucky I’m really hungry and Nutella just takes over.
on the sun
It’s good and it makes me want to live. Soon, it will start to rain, so I drink every moment of sunshine like every Vitamin-D deprived person who lives in Viking Hell should.
on saying goodbye
On Thursday—the day of the pickle juice incident—I say goodbye to a friend. Who may or may not come back… I realize again that, no matter what he says—I don’t really expect him to. Just like with you—you’re by the ocean, on a holiday. A week, two, you said? I don’t remember, because while you’re gone, it’s forever. I don’t believe you will be back. Until you are.
So every goodbye… is so final.
You: Fuck, you need therapy.
Jane: I know. Morning pages are cheaper.
From How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
On Friday, I’m melancholy—because, goodbyes are hard and also forever—and I fucking swear if one more person tells me to cheer up or put a smile back on my face I will kick them in the gonads, but hard.
I WANT to be sad. I WANT to grieve and mourn. Let. Me. Be.
on obfuscating reality
I haven’t been meditating as much this week. Yoga nidra mid-day if I’m exhausted or end-of-the-day if I can’t sleep. Some meditation on the breath exercises. But not my regular practice. I can’t tell you why, exactly. I’m not more busy, really—and that’s not an excuse.
I just perhaps don’t want to be still this week… I don’t want to be still.
I feel a funny frenzy inside me. Rising, falling. I don’t want to still it.
so this happens
That’s Kristan Higgins. THE Kristan Higgins. And that’s me. And I got to spend like 12 hours mining her brain.
And that, in that picture, is a happy moment, from a happy day.
(That was Saturday.)
back to melancholy and friday
Melancholy, I work, and I make food, and I do all the things.
Start reading Alex Beam’s The Feud—the story of how Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson pissed away their friendship.
God, I love Nabokov. Even his obnoxious parts.
Do you ever have this strange insight into a writer, artist through his work—like you know more than his biographers, the experts who’ve gone through the dates, the documents, the correspondence? You haven’t—I haven’t—but I’ve read his books with a tenderness, a violence, an obsession… he is in me.
I feel that way about Jane, too. Hafez.
I haven’t danced with Hafez for a while. I can’t yet; he will just feed the melancholy.
I turn my attention to Nabokov, at third hand.
little boy lost
On Sunday, I find a little boy lost and it shakes me up. But I don’t want to tell you more about that. Then, writer tribe, sheesha, a lot of walking… three glasses of water in a pub because the idea of a beer is repugnant.
on the kids
There are still three.
Cinder goes out with friends on Friday night and doesn’t come home until 1 am. I’m not nervous, at all. Really.
Flora wants to spend Saturday at the mall with her friend. They’ll get there on their own, on the train. Totally fine with that, I swear.
Ender crawls into my lap while I’m writing. “I’m hungry.” I make him a tortilla.
You ask me if I’m ever nostalgic, for when they’re little. I answer, a little too abruptly, “Fuck, no.”
I think you’re romanticizing the past. I’m not sure if you remember—how much work they took when they were little. The diapers. The sleepless nights. The temper tantrums?
Or their fragility. Do you not remember the weight of the awareness that the survival—the entire survival—of this tiny creature was dependent on you? That if you fucked up… this part of you would DIE?
Now… they’re more and more responsible for their survival. Which is also frightening… but in a different way.
Anyway. No. I’m not nostalgic. I don’t know that things are easier (I still maintain… things don’t get easier, they get… different). But they are. And they are interesting.
And the kids are interesting. Much more interesting when they were squealing babies, pre-verbal toddlers.
Sean: I guess this is where Flora gets her dislike of babies from.
Jane: Shut up. You don’t like babies either.
Squealy, stinky things.
But I love MY babies. Especially now that they’re out of diapers and what not.
Dumpster diving for books at Calgary Reads
PS Yes. Weird week. But I spent a lot of time laying in the sun like a cat. So. ‘s all right.
The year started with a Monday; so does every week (Week 1: Transitions and Intentions)
Easier than you think, harder than I expected: a week in eleven stanzas (Week 2: Goodness and Selfishness)
A moody story (Week 3: Ebb and Flow)
Do it full out (Week 4: Passions and Outcomes)
The Buddha was a psychopath and other heresies (Week 5: No Cohesion)
A good week (Week 6: Execute, Regroup)
Killing it (Week 7: Exhaustion and Adrenaline)
Tired, petty, tired, unimportant (Week 8: Disappointment and Perseverance)
Professionals do it like this: [insert key scene here] (Week 9: Battle, Fatigue, Reward)
Reading Nabokov, crying, whining, regrouping (Week 10: Tears and Dreams)
Shake the Disease (Week 11: Sickness and Health… well, mostly sickness)
Cremation, not embalming, but I think I might live after all (Week 12: Angst and Gratitude)
Let’s pretend it all does have meaning (Week 13: Convalescence and Rebirth)
The cage is will, the lock is discipline (Week 14: Up and Down)
My negotiated self thinks you don’t exist–wanna make something of it? (Week 15: Priorities and Opportunity)
An introvert’s submission + radical prioritization in action, also pouting (Week 16: Ruthless and Weepy)
It’s about a radical, sustainable rhythm (Week 17: Sprinting and Napping)
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
The best things in life and on the Internet are free, but content creators need to pay for groceries with money. If you enjoy Nothing By The Book content, please express your delight and support by making a donation via PayPal:
You: “But how much should I give?”
Jane: “I get $1 each time a sell a traditionally published book, so my bar’s set really low, love. Want to buy me a cup of coffee? That’s $4.75 if you’ll spring for a mocha or latte. Bottle of wine? My palate’s unsophisticated: $19.95 will more than cover it.”
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Pingback: 52 Weeks Project (2018 Blog Post Index) | Nothing By The Book