Friday, December 24, 2010

It's true about the zoo

Bad dream about blood gushing out of my head + broken gel pen that I pliered apart.

I am feeling a sad about my grand experiment this month, which I'm failing miserably at. Yesterday, I re-read this from Annie Dillard's The Writing Life:
I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better.

This tender relationship can change in a twinkling. If you skip a visit or two, a work in progress will turn on you.

A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. As the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, "Simba!"
She's so right it's scary. But for the clawing I will get soon when I re-enter the cage, it was worth today's break to watch "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" and "Exit Through the Gift Shop." And, embarrassingly, I got so self-involved that I forgot to say, send good vibes in the direction of the deployed, around the world in a cold, windy patch of desert. I wish they got to celebrate their holy days differently.


  1. Love Annie Dillard. She has some spot-on things to say about being an artist-teacher as well.
    Rather than failing, I think perhaps you are instead learning why writers can and do take years to complete a good book...

  2. aimee, this is such a scary drawing! and not only does a.d. write better than well, she has a great name.


thanks for visiting!