infinity on repeat

"It is the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality. It seems, in the last analysis, to have something to do with our self-preservation; and that, no doubt, is why the expression of it, the sound of its words, helps us to live our lives.”

Tag: prose

what i think i have learned about writing so far

  • style is simple. even butterflies know that
  • pictures first
  • you have to finish the line
  • unlearn everything you have learned since the age of 3
  • never try
  • listen with raw honesty
  • there is no talent, only obsession
  • write with humble gratitude toward your reader
  • reject your religion but keep your devout
  • chase experience madly
  • remember everything
  • work harder each day
  • you are the sum of your questions
  • collect inspiration from all disciplines
  • always hope to be wrong
  • a writer is the vehicle, not the source
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listing prose

BELIEF & TECHNIQUE FOR MODERN PROSE
Jack Kerouac

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

I didn’t come to see the city. I came to see it around you.

What I love most about flying is the sound of the air, how the thick whir clouds my words before they can reach my neighbor. At the holy moment, the cabin starts convulsing and the vents turn into tiny overhead turbines. It becomes flight-in-flight… the anticipation of lift, the imagination of unfolding, the vehicle slowly apologizing to ground, and the haunting, new, invisible road. The space transcends itself, but the unveiling is kept at a distance from me. I only have this little loud replica turbine. Like a little model sailboat. Like playing pirates in childhood and naming the carpet the sea.

scattered magnetic postcards

Once, I was so afraid of my humanity that I resolved to become my own vacuum and suck it all up…
It was how quickly reality shed its skin. I could not trust the simplest object to be what it was, or rather I could not trust my eyes to see what it is they should see. Are you sure that is a pencil? Do you not wonder if nothing is what it appears to be? I thought I needed to get revenge on reality for fooling me. I thought it could bring me back to people. I was confused.

~

The Velvet Underground could have never split open Poor Little Rich Girl the way The Everly Brothers did. I think Edie & I danced around in black leotards to the same song when we locked our bedroom doors and chopped all our hair off. I had been peeling a carrot when I thought how nice it would feel to have my stringy membrane removed as well… I could reveal my gleaming, raw carrot soul! Bye bye, lonliness! Bye bye, emptiness! I think I’m gonna die-ie!

~

Lit a cigarette and opened my notebook to a draft poem about how stalkers shared a common bond of heightened consciousness. I couldn’t return to the truth I was getting at. Lost another one. I have to finish writing whatever I start writing when I start writing it, and then I will edit it for days. Anyone who tells you they write a line of poetry a day is full of bullshit. Flow is most important. Words don’t float alone, you have to make a little boat for them. Make the boat then steer.

~

Instead of working on worksheets, I spent my hours in the language lab with his Jewish Spirituality book, translating great mystic poems into French. I guess I was spitting in the face of some old guy who already translated each poem into English for me.

~

There was a heightening sense that the value system our parents had instilled in us was wrong. Our influences were people who had failed us; people whom we had failed, whose expectations of us prompted our deep and silent anxiety. We had been taught, essentially, to only fear reproach and punishment, but the absolute dissolved like a mirage surrendering to desert expanse. We didn’t know how to navigate the sticky hazy nothing we had found.

~

We were technology babies, born into the cool blue energy of the digital age. We were the first generational crop to have the entire world introduced to us as our playground:

You can be anything you want.
You can do whatever you put your mind to.
Everyone is a winner.
Everyone is special.
If you don’t know the answer, Google it.

 It grew increasingly clear that something had gone wrong; something was missing although we had plenty. How could we have asked for more?

notes

Sounds in the cabin before take‐off: stale generic buzzing, carry‐on bags shifting overhead, knuckles cracking, diffusion of encapsulated air. I sat on the edge of the middle row. A woman in the seat in front of me was separated by the aisle from her husband and two year old son. The child cried and whined, his distress increasing as the plane begins to move across ground. As speed gathers to a point when the floor rattles and turbines begin their violent whirling, his mother’s hand reaches across the aisle. She wraps his fist in the sprawl of her fingers. His eyes multiply; silent, white, two saucers holding an ink pool of black. Dilation: pupils expand to make a tunnel and allow the calm rush of busy air to enter inside. What is inside?

At the precise moment of lift, he is hushed. I close my eyes and go to the space between  pavement and air. I grow into the decompression, the wheels recoiling. The gap becomes. A lark releases her grip on the branch. At the same moment, feathers are peeling off feathers. A slant space for light to break through grows beneath her rising wings.

A bubble pops, and then there is flight.

Forms

I sleep with my back to the window, facing the door. When I awake, the first frame of vision holds a wall and another protruding from. There are four Scotch taped photographs that align into a square:

–Me with my dad before the Homecoming dance.

–Seventeen in Paris with my best friend. Pausing on the sidewalk. Snowflakes sprinkled on our hair & coats. One arm tossed up in elation.

–The swimming pool at my grandfather’s house. A little version of my brother perched on the rail. Pops standing in the shallow end, holding a baby me.

–My first day mentoring at the elementary school, only seconds after meeting Maxim. The strange poses : his shoulders firm against the wall, head tilted slightly downward, eyes up, lips in form but neither smile nor frown. Me, hunched, at his height. Visitor nametag. Cheesy grin. Long dark hair brushing his blue shirt. As the camera flashed, I was told he speaks only Russian.

We spent the next year inventing our own language. Throwing flashcards and fighting in the hallway. Fusing things.

Trying to listen. Trying to speak.

See that thing you know but see it like this. See this square of the world and follow. See now imagine. Imagine now see.

A medium.

A flower of life—sunlight peeking through petals, branches.
We remember the angle, not the thing. The patterns and arrangement.

The reflection of shapes on shapes.