I had a routine all that fall that I stuck to in a dogged search for regularity: I woke up on the early side, somewhere in the sevens, made a pot of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal in the kitchen, then I brought my laptop out on the screened-in porch and "wrote" for the next two hours. I have put "wrote" in quotation marks because I didn't actually manage to do much writing--instead, I rewrote everything I had started on the computer screen over and over until the spark of life had been extinguished and the paragraphs had a perfect, sculptural look. No uneven line breaks; no stacks of "the" or "and"; no repeated words. It is a kind of obsessive polishing made possible only by the computer, and it burns the hours just like real work does, but in fact it is the opposite: a fail-safe system for killing off writing with maximum effort. Once I had toggled the piece I was working on to death, I would file it away in FALSE STARTS and open up a new file in Word to begin the process all over again.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Have just read, in one sitting, an advance copy of Benjamin Anastas's extremely unsettling memoir Too Good to Be True. It is a book about a true unraveling and an only partial reknitting; the parts about debt are too disturbing for me to excerpt here as I have a Dickensian horror of financial insecurity! But here is an also very chilling description that will strike fear into the hearts of many of you: