Fourteen January 28, 2014Posted by The Typist in 365, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
But then I like my little projects. They make me happy. I like big projects too, though. I like the big projects that aren’t expendable. I like gestures but I don’t want to create too much disposable art. Like when someone reads your book, if they like it, if they connect, it’s such an incredible intimacy, IMPACT! That’s what you hope for with a book, or a movie, or a painting (though I can’t paint), or a song. Someone was saying every song on an album has to be a classic for an album to matter. You think the musician doesn’t want that? You think they aren’t trying?
— Stephen Elliot’s The Daily Rumpus email, 1-28-14
Is blogging a little project? So much depends on your level of obsession. If you have a Tumblr about women’s shoes you are probably obsessed with shoes, spend hours every day scouring the internet for today’s pair of leopard skin stiletto boots. I don’t think I’m obsessed; more like possessed. I was almost exorcised over the last year, and now I’m back. I started 365–a post a day for year–because I wasn’t really exorcised. My writing block was part of my, not depression exactly, hibernation. The drive was still there. The words, the belief in my self were not. (Of course I’m depressed. Given the circumstances of my life if I weren’t depressed some of the time, I would be a sociopath. The pill nurse always smiles when I say that. I think my level of self-absorption and awareness, my ability to articulate what exactly is going on in my head and in my life, is a relief at the end of a day in which his patients mostly shrug and say, “not too bad.”)
This project is a small thing. Just write something every day. On this tiny platform it doesn’t matter if its good, but I am trying to make it good. As Stephen said, ” Someone was saying every song on an album has to be a classic for an album to matter. You think the musician doesn’t want that? You think they aren’t trying?” Every day is a challenge. Three hundred and sixty-five days is a steep climb. I have my pilgrim’s stick. It’s not really mine. I was at Japan Fest at a vendor’s table, where I had purchase a small reproduction of a Japanese net float, and a ceramic dish I liked. I picked up the stick and something happened. I held it before me on my open hands. The moment was one of reverence, I think. I stood there a long time. It must have been palpable to the man. My girlfriend said I looked transfixed. He didn’t sell it to me. He gave it to me. It’s mine and it’s not. Someone climbed the Three Mountains of Dewa, and at each had the character for that mountain painted on the stick. I took his gift as a sign, an encouragement to begin my own pilgrimage. It took six months before I began, but here I am on the low path, the mountain looming over me. Every day I take a few more steps.
A side note: I don’t think I realized it until today but Stephen Elliot’s Daily Rumpus email is partly the model for 365. I’m not starting a novel. I’m starting a series of periodic reflections including small tales of one sort or another. Along with those unopened McSweeney’s I mentioned the other day, a lot of his emails passed me by unread over the last many months. I read today’s and found this quote. Like the gift of the stick, another sign, a post in the road counting the miles and pointing the way.