Friday, November 28, 2008


There is a book called The Artist's Way that many writers have read and swear by. Bear's owner has it; last spring I picked it up once after walking Bear and began reading it. For a month, I would read a bit more of it every day after walking Bear, until I had finished it. My ritual of reading the book conformed nicely to its central message, which is that artists need to be kind to themselves, be patient, and nourish themselves in small ways over time.

One exercise you're supposed to do while reading the book and following its doctrine: morning pages, three pages of longhand writing that can be about anything you want, written at the start of each day. Ideally you're to keep doing these after you're done with the book/course. I've been doing them. Now I have just looked through one of my notebooks full of morning pages and I feel like I want to stop doing them. When I complete them every day, I often feel like it's not necessary to write anything else. So instead of a notebook full of good drafts, I have pages upon pages of material that sounds like, "Dumb I feel dumb today I am dumb dumb dumb and also hungry. WHAT TO EAT? Also tired!" accompanied by marginal drawings of cute boys in sweaters.

I was going to scan in a sample page and post it here, but one of the main things you're not supposed to do with your morning pages is show them to anybody. Apparently it is self-sabotage.

The other piece of writing of mine I considered today was NO RADIO NOTHING IN TRUNK, the novel about college radio that I wrote when I was a senior in high school. I used to put on my resume that I had written a novel, before I knew how to write a resume. It's a funny read for many reasons, but this time I laughed at the names: in one scene kids are looking at records by "Vanilla Trainwreck" and "Toaster Strudel." It took me a second to remember that Vanilla Trainwreck were a real band, while Toaster Strudel was a band name I made up. Another funny thing about NO RADIO NOTHING IN TRUNK is that there are about ten semicolons on each page.


Dusty said...

I'm dying to read this novel.

Ranger said...

I love the title. I love semicolons. I want to read it, too.

Amanda said...

Oh YOU GUYS. After my suicide you are welcome to raid my dresser for it, a la A Confederacy of Dunces.

There are like fifty characters in it. There is a band in it whose members call themselves Sink, Shower, and Toilet. There is a rape scandal involving a fork. I based one character on my ex-boyfriend and had him die in a car crash.

Dusty said...

If it's in MS Word format what you should totally do is like take the whole novel and use the "AutoSummarize" feature to turn it into a piece short enough for a journal. Justify the margins on both sides and combine paragraphs and print each one on a separate page.

Call it a fictive piece. No: a piece of fictive prose!

(I'm like 90% serious on this.)

Charline said...

This is awesome!