Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dog Days

Slowly reading Harry Potter. I like it so far, mostly the fact that she's abandoned the recap and the strict adherance to the structure the other books all share. July has been a very blah month. I missed my friend Ilona's wedding. I missed RAGBRAI. I've missed opportunities with interesting people either because A) they turned out to be not at all the person I thought they were or B) they like most other beautiful interesting women do not live here in Waterloo. The rejection letters I've been getting vary so wildly that I just don't know what it is I'm missing. Everything, apparently. I get so sick of overthinking it, and the fact that I have not actually written a new novel in 2 years because I have been rewritting others (necessarily), that I look at the trashbin sometimes with desperate hope.

My friend Matt is close to having roughs done of the zombie comic we are doing together - !!! - I cannot wait to see them. I'm more excited about this than the novels and stories right now. Speaking of comics, a new issue of Buffy is out, so I have to bike up to the comic store right now. Oh, and Joss Whedon has a new webcomic that is outrageous and very funny.

I found this article by Hilary Mantel through Maud that struck a chord in me as it relates very personally to me and the way I think of writing, but also the big underlying theme of the Big Damn Epic, and maybe why I keep turning around to look and see that it's finally there, but it never is:

The whole process of creativity is like that. The writer often doesn't know, consciously, what gods she invokes or what myths she's retelling. Orpheus is a figure of all artists, and Eurydice is his inspiration. She is what he goes into the dark to seek. He is the conscious mind, with its mastery of skill and craft, its faculty of ordering, selecting, making rational and persuasive; she is the subconscious mind, driven by disorder, fuelled by obscure desires, brimming with promises that perhaps she won't keep, with promises of revelation, fantasies of empowerment and knowledge. What she offers is fleeting, tenuous, hard to hold. She makes us stand on the brink of the unknown with our hand stretched out into the dark. Mostly, we just touch her fingertips and she vanishes. She is the dream that seems charged with meaning, that vanishes as soon as we try to describe it. She is the unsayable thing we are always trying to say. She is the memory that slips away as you try to grasp it. Just when you've got it, you haven't got it. She won't bear the light of day. She gets to the threshold and she falters. You want her too much, and by wanting her you destroy her. As a writer, as an artist, your effects constantly elude you. You have a glimpse, an inspiration, you write a paragraph and you think it's there, but when you read back, it's not there. Every picture painted, every opera composed, every book that is written, is the ghost of the possibilities that were in the artist's head. Art brings back the dead, but it also makes perpetual mourners of us all. Nothing lasts: that's what Apollo, the father of Orpheus, sings to him in Monteverdi's opera. In Opera North's staging, the god took a handkerchief from his pocket, licked it, and tenderly cleaned his child's tear-stained face.

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