Tuesday, February 9, 2010

On language, sort of

One thing I have noticed, as I continue working at writing, and refining my writing, is that my mind is starting to use words not by what they mean in modern, idiomatic speech, but by what they mean in terms of the roots of the words themselves. Their actual meaning, in a sense.

I just realized this as I was organizing my bookmarks, placing similar links next to similar links, and I thought about how I wanted to cluster together the bloggers who are "journalists." But I wasn't meaning the bloggers who, say, work for a newspaper, like Ezra Klein, or who report of the news online, like TPM, or even those unaffiliated individuals who nevertheless take it upon themselves who to relay or comment upon the news of the day, like say, Donkeylicious (Hi, Neil!). I mean those who, somewhat like me, although with more of a sense of discipline and order, are engaged in maintaining a journal. For the "-ist" implies one who engages in a particular activity or in the pursuit of a specific object. Thus, a "journalist" is one who keeps a journal, or one who journals. And "journalism" is the act, or art, of journal-keeping, or of journal-writing. I was thinking of people like Lance Mannion or Aylssa Rosenberg. People who use blogs as a method of relating or recording their thoughts, and through the wonders of the internet, presenting those thoughts with a public.

Of course, I still never bother to edit these bloody dispatches, so it's still possible that these things are full of error and nonsense, and don't come across the the workings of some clear and rarified mind. In fact, most of the stuff here is just bullshit I feel like getting out of my system so I don't have to deal with it bouncing around my head anymore, with phenomenon of the public dispensation being an almost beside the point. More of a viking funeral than voyage, this place, so I don't really worry about the quality of the construction, or the finish on the wood. It's really more an attempt to shove off.

Yeah. That all held to together. Yeah.

Ah, the economy

They canceled my shift at work today. I got woke up by a phone call this morning, saw it was something-thirty, assumed that I had overslept and missed work, found the phone, was freaked out to find out it was work, but I had missed the called. I called back so that I could apologize profusely and ask them what they wanted me to do. As the phone rang, I double-checked the clock and noticed that it was actually seven-thirty, and I wasn't supposed to come until nine-thirty. Spent the next several rings in a kind of fugue state of panic and confusion. Remember, I had woken up literally seconds beforehand.

Then they told me my shift was canceled, and I was so relieved I wasn't in trouble I thanked them.

Then I slept for another five hours. I had actually gone to bed only like two hours before that. I had spent the last four days off, and didn't want to have to wake up and go to work. Today is five days in a row.

I close tomorrow, so I am pretty sure they won't be canceling on me again. But really, retail just slows to a crawl in winter, you know?

Fever breaking

Over three thousand words today. Over 1800 of them were me just writing out character backstory, but in a way that I may or may not use as part of the body of the text at some point in the future, and over 1300 was new words for the actual body of the text which, I think in subtle ways, changes the tone of the story, but in a necessary way. It makes it less ambiguous, and removes any sense of purposely withheld drama (which I always find is more cliched and irritating than page-turning). Also requires future edits to the rest of the text to accommodate the earlier dispensation of certain pieces of information, as well as the change in tone. One of the things I realized, after reviewing the text, that the story isn't really about withholding everything from the reader, it is about relating the world that Ermys sees in front of him, but with a bare minimum of commentary coming from him, since he is not a very commentative guy. Thus, lots of details can be left out, because the aren't how Emrys would experience the world, and many can be left back in, because they are. I kind of want to go on, because I feel like the world is very present in my mind right now, but I eyes hurt from staring at the screen, and I am exhausted, so I am cashing in my creative chips for the night. I've been writing for something like three, maybe four hours now.

Earlier in the night, I had not really written anything all day, and I was feeling restless, and unhappy, and I knew what the next thing I had to write was. So I just thought, well, then write it. Stop making yourself feel bad. And I did. Now I feel pretty good. I got through a really bad spell, and am back in the game. a whole bunch of edits and ideas are piling themselves up in me right now, and I can't wait.

Realize you want to do something, then do it, and feel better. Huh. Funny how that works.

Why haven't I thought of that before?