The Novel As A Long Term Creative Project

The Late Great American Novel – progress report, early January, 2013…

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I’m finding that being “in the process of writing” my first novel-sized literary construction to be an excellent way to watch the long-term (meaning anything that took longer than a couple of days to finish) creative process as it happens.

I’ve struggled with long-term projects in the past due to my mercurial attention span. But this is now, and who I was in the past doesn’t matter much if it’s not helping me out in the present, right? Now I’m into long-term projects.

Most creative projects I work on are completed relatively fast, and things like paintings are finished much too quickly to stretch the creative moment out and really examine it. This novel is giving me the time-space to really watch the process from a “bigger picture” perspective, like watching creativity in slow motion.

In some ways it’s like I’m the only person who can see into this strange alternate universe coming into being out of an amazing stream of words which have their own source somewhere beyond myself, with a gravity all it’s own, drawing in the materials which fall into it’s slowly forming orbit.

For months (October through December) the story just stopped, but in that “hold on a minute, I’ll be right back” kind of way. Meanwhile all kinds of interesting ideas, flashes of intuition and useful esoteric information has drifted across my path and provided material which will make this novel much, much better – I think…

Lately bits of new writing have been flashing through my mind, building pieces for the next part of the story. Chapter 61 is now pretty much written out in my head, and is floating around my mind like clouds heavy with water. The forecast says there’s a 70% chance of rain by this next weekend.

Until later, best of health.

Some Thoughts About Decisions, Dreams, Words and Big Sur

jon99bw1Decisions, Decisions…

Time is a map and we build upon it with our dreams and decisions. Every thing we do, and every action we engage in has an effect upon ourselves and on the world around us.

The abstract expressionist painter Robert Motherwell wrote that a painting is the result of thousands of decisions. If you have ever been involved with the creative process (and who hasn’t) you’ll understand what he meant.

We each do the same thing with our lives, make decision after decision, choice after choice… you can not avoid that responsibility. Even if we delude ourselves into thinking someone else has control over my life, I still have the responsibility for how I react and the decisions I make based on other peoples choices that affect me.

In hockey it works like this; the referee might let a little infraction slide, but if a player takes matters into his own hands and retaliates, most likely he’ll end up in the penalty box. I think most parents will understand the social management wisdom on the part of the referees.

In this world people will offend you, will cut you off on the road, will cut in line, smile to your face and then stab you in the back, cheat on you, lie to you, steal from you and worse… why, because we’re all becoming human beings, and in this world you will have suffering. That’s not my original thought – every great religion will point that out and you don’t have to live long to experience the truth of the matter…

But that is not the end of it – you have choices, and you have dreams.

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