Sunday, September 21, 2014

Disproportionate Disappointments

 Because you live in what has been called a resort city and tourist destination for considerable years, were born in yet another, and as a youngster, lived in another still, you are aware of the creeping phenomena of visiting guests and family.  Most such creeps have been pleasant for you, but the stories you see and hear about you make you aware of some of the devious ways of visitors.

In the same calculus, you are made aware of expectations, the ones you have for experiences and ventures outside your writing life and to a significant extent within your life of composition.  Disappointment is the unwanted visitor or guest, boring in upon you, hovering, holding you to task with expectations of being entertained, engaged, brought into close contact with adventure.

Your writing life is built around a whimsical collection of computers, fountain pens, notebooks, lined yellow legal lads, computers, and electronic tablets,  There is a chair of relative comfort sitting before your favored desk, a small library table that was a gift from your father.  

Your large, desktop computer is the main resident, principal among a stack of note pads, pencils, reading glasses, and books.  This is your home base.  A general atmosphere of quiet comfort prevails.  There is scarcely a window you can look out without being able to see some semblance of patio, shade, trees, shrubs, bricks, plants, and garden.

Why you'd think to work anywhere else is still a partial mystery to you, best explained by the notion that there are times when the atmosphere is too comfortable, conducive, and quiet.  During these times, you want irritating voices of strangers, intrusive strangers, ambient noise, music well beyond your taste, and, if these inducements are not enough, you want the feeling of being crowded.

The sophistry behind the reasons you leave your Edenic studio, your Sylvan glade, rests in your belief that you require outside levels of ambient noise, distractions, and irritations to break through the Teflon layers of procrastination and resistance you've built about you in order to be able to work at your normal pace and in the confines of your home studio.  By leaving home, you are setting yourself up for an inoculation of the kind of irritation or dis-ease or crankiness needed to get you over the speed bump of entry into your material.

Here, within the process of swatting at a passing idea, then bringing it to your worktable, your coastal fog or marine layer begin their moments of coalescing.  They are not meteorological in fact, but in fancy they are similar to the sense of involvement you experience when an idea comes to you and you begin to see the potential of having it for dinner one of these days.

However excited you are by the rush of recognition for a new project, and how eventually well you do with your bringing the project to reality, you've had enough life experiences to know the time will come when you doubt the effect and sanity of the project.  You will wonder aloud whatever possessed you to undertake such a project.  

You will feel foolish.  You will be foolish.  You will begin to question whether you have in so many words betrayed the project and yourself by thinking you could accomplish it to any degree beyond the way you so narrowly squeaked through your last project.

Disappointment is a relative come to stay with you, an elderly parent or grandparent or beloved friend of your parents or grandparents, seeking shelter with you, wishing to live with you as a reminder that you are in fact disappointed and not alone in your disappointment.

From about the time you'd written enough words to know how your words sound, how to deal with their weaknesses, and what to leave or edit out, this sense of noble disappointment arrived to stay.  In mitigation, you have to remind yourself how happy you are to be at this game of disappointment, of always being a tad off plumb, your vision subject to a slight skew.

This sense of disappointment has left its self-pity and -sorrow somewhere about the studio, amidst the piles of note pads and manuscripts.  It means you have to push at anything, even a polite or not-so-polite letter to someone somewhere, asking for my money back because something was less than okay; out was awful.

You're going to try to get it to talk to you, then you're going to work on yourself to listen to the characters and to their agendas, hopeful of capturing some of the subtext and dialogue and yearning.  Then you're going to work on the project until you'll hope to have sent all the sagging, scratchy stuff packing to the point where, for however brief a time, you won't be disappointed.

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