Saturday, March 17, 2007

Reading Writing and Eating

" Eating is an agricultural act"

-Wendell Berry

I love writing.

I don't put pressure on myself to come up with ideas to write about, or set any deadlines to meet, which means I will probably languish in the realm of under paid and under published for an indeterminate amount of time.

But that is OK.

It is more the process (and challenge) of putting together the myriad of ideas and thoughts streaming through, seeing how they can be communicated articulately that is most enthralling to me. I takes me out of my self for awhile, and opens the window of concentration a bit more. It is good practice.

As Julia Cameron says bluntly in her encouraging
Right to Write:

"Not writing creates self obsession. Self obsession blocks connection with others. Self obsession blocks connection with self."

For her, writing is a way of life, one that I have not yet really entered. Flirting as I do with it, the temptation is growing to make a more concerted effort to enter that world. She is a great example and lively inspiration in her books.

The Wikipedia entry for writer and 2001 Nobel Prize winner in literature V.S. Naipaul has the following quote from Joan Didion:

"The actual world has for Naipaul a radiance that diminishes all ideas of it. The pink haze of the bauxite dust on the first page of
Guerrillas tells us what we need to know about the history and social organization of the unnamed island on which the action takes place, tells us in one image who runs the island and for whose profit the island is run and at what cost to the life of the island this profit has historically been obtained, but all of this implicit information pales in the presence of the physical fact, the dust itself... The world Naipaul sees is of course no void at all: it is a world dense with physical and social phenomena, brutally alive with the complications and contradictions of actual human endeavor... This world of Naipaul's is in fact charged with what can only be described as a romantic view of reality, an almost unbearable tension between the idea and the physical fact..."

Naipaul himself takes a more sweeping approach recently in a Guardian article about his roots and the lands whose histories he dissects:

"But writing was my vocation; I had never wished to be anything but a writer. My practice as a writer had deepened the fascination with people and narrative that I had always had, and increasingly now, in the larger world I had wanted to join, that fascination was turning into a wish to understand the currents of history that had created the fluidity of which I found myself a part. It was necessary for me as a writer to engage with the larger world. I didn't know how to set about it; there was no example I could follow."

Exactly. There rarely is any example to follow, and that is why I love writing. Yes, there are many published as well as unpublished wordsmiths out there, and I enjoy reading as many as I can. Reading gives me almost as much pleasure as creating through the written word. But the process of writing, - the transformation of personal direct experience and idea into language and narrative, the words that are chosen, the magical flow of subliminal energy out through the hands to what can be read and interpreted - that is a hard example to try and follow.

Any complete reader or writer would have had experience with the Grand Dame of publishing, the New Yorker, and now one can get all their back issues (over 4,000) on one convenient hard drive. Great. Call me old fashioned, but half the fun of those magazines is to flip the pages and see the cartoons amid the writing and hustle bustle of one of the greatest cities. I take the occasional article from them, but to read a screen for too long is not easy. Thats why those e-book readers won't take off. I don't know anybody that actually enjoys looking at a screen for very long periods.

Subject to both a book and a documentary, the Wild Parrots of San Francisco are getting a bit more protection from the city, to ensure their habitat stays intact and their fame grows. That is a good news story. It is the simple things that can bring so much joy.

Meanwhile, over in Australia (way over - West Australia in fact), this guy netted a cool $20,000 for riding a monster wave near the Margaret River. He would certainly be double-stoked - to be both alive, and to be a winner. Well done.

Whilst still in San Francisco (where else?) a new subculture of neo-nomads, who fancy themselves a bit like the Bedouin, like their coffee strong and their wireless free, and are doing business the way they want to in wired cafes around the city. It used to be the garage or dorm room was the success story for tecchies, now it looks like the place of choice for successful new start-ups will be some wired cafe in the back streets of the Mission District. Wait for it.

Remember this lady? The fired NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, part of a love triangle of astronauts that went awry, tried to kidnap her rival and well, basically lost the plot.
The before and after pictures speak volumes about either the air up there, or why some people should definitely stay on the meds..

And you thought your job was stressful!

"It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice."

- Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness

No comments: