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the hamptons - tpw[l] - 01

The Perfect Wor[l]d - 01

Difficult to write about what I would like to write; which is about writing. All those amazing ideas I had yesterday about the blog, the kind of vibe I wanted to convey: it is all gone. I thought that I could write about the feeling of sitting here in this backroom, in this town which has the size of a city and the closemindedness of a village, lacks the sea and feigns to offer much. If you want anything you need to go and steal it from fate, bargain with the gods. But while I am writing, I can imagine I am somewhere else instead. Today I am in New York, a city I have never been to. Forgive me if I start with an image stolen from movies, of what a writer and artist should look like, the one usually portrayed: large house in The Hamptons, overlooking the ocean; a bedroom as large as an Olympic swimming pool, in all shades of off whites and light greys that remind us of a foggy morning in Manhattan. Our writer, artist and author is sitting there, dressed comfortably which means wrapped in something warm in the colours of the earth and all its musty spectrum; and she writes. Oh, she writes. Sometimes her head tilts to the right as if looking for the perfect word that would convey that exact feeling one is imagining, in a perfect world.

The perfect word in the perfect world.

In the background, La La Land soundtrack provides that kind of je ne sais quoi which we all need when writing (either that or anything slightly French would do). A mixture of rhythm, feel for life, open smile, total lack of interest and curiosity for anything that hasn’t any relevance with Literature-with-a-capital-L. Because, we, artists, are different. We are. We are highly sensitive, emotional, ethereal beings who believe in stories, and rainbows and imagination. We are eternal children in a playground and we dine in circuses and travel around on unicorns. From Lancashire to New York. Just imagine, as Steven King would say: what if… what happens if we place a child, on a unicorn, in New York, on a foggy morning? What happens if a woman leaves what she knows behind, moves to Lancashire, loses everything and decides to be a writer? Because this is how his process begins. And he must know a thing or two since he is, I believe, one of the most prolific and dedicated writers. Many others and he believe that we don’t own our stories. They come to us [1]. We have to be quick enough to recognise them, grab them, make them ours, and let us be vessels for the narrative. We start writing and we don’t know what is going to happen, nor how it will end. We just sit; at our desks; day after day after day and write.

This is sort of what I am doing now. I have decided to sit at this desk, or wherever life will take me, and write. Every day. 2,000 words - or thereabout - sort of blog entries. Every day. And once I hit 26 or more, only then I will post them. I want to know how interested I am in this craft of mine and also to find a niche, for me, that it’s just mine. I want to use this opportunity and exercise to gather my thoughts and interests. I will start posting these entries only when I hit over 26 simply because I think that is a good number.

In the meantime, I will still work on the book - if there is a book - and create my art. The reason for this…

[I can feel I have lost the thread of my thoughts and the flow I was in before. I am wondering if changing music back to what I was listening before might help. Because yes! I was listening to the soundtrack of La La Land… and now, that I listen to this bit of piano solo with the violins I feel happy again! I feel I am back in New York, instead of this town of mine I live in, grey, dull, cold, depressing. But, no! Let’s all go back to The Hamptons, breathe in and breathe out… I need coffee...]

I am back there, in my imaginary world of a writer, where stories are pouring out of me like that Prosecco we opened last night, my partner and I. Bubbly and enthusiastic. A bottle we bought in that little shop that sells delicious food from all over Old Mother Europa, where people still use Latin to converse or other archaic languages and noises, and have a stronger connection with God because the Pope lives there, and fairies too, and they all knows a thing or two.

We create worlds in which we can pretend and dictate what we want and we feel entitled to write about anything because, maybe, we don’t like where we are. We try to tell what is buried inside us; we describe our pain of living in various shapes and colours; and yes, we do live by proxy. This woman here, me, who is terrified of flying, can finally travel the world while reading books about adventures, watching movies where bold and brave women travel to forgotten places in order to find themselves (because you always have to leave and go somewhere else to find yourself), and my characters are free to roam and do as they please, convincing themselves and others that La La Land is about New York.

This experiment in 2,000 words per day, I hope, will shed a light on what it is that I really want, and not on "who I am" as in an exploration of the past. That can be found already in my books and in my art. Now it is the time for me to define and shape the future of what is coming next. 2,000 words are not a lot, mind you. It is the consistency of every day, that I am more interested in. Will I have things to say? Faces to describe? Stories to tell? Or will my life be a sequence of boring “I don’t know what to write” copied over and over again? Julia Cameron in her The Artist Way states exactly that [2]. My journals know a thing or two of days that see me stuck without producing anything but repetitions. I am also aware that 2,000 words could be quite a lot to write: we are only about 1,000 words now, and over three pages.

Will I discover in this experiment that I am boring, bland, and with nothing to say? A proper average human being, in the worst connotation of the word. There is nothing wrong with being average, if you are ok with it. When you are an artist, no. If you want to be an artist, no. We are not looking for some external validation and a golden star because we are a bunch of kids with very low self-esteem. We make art, and art wants to be seen. What is the point in writing a story if no one reads it? What is the point in making a piece of art, and never showing it to anyone else? In this sense, no! We do not want to be average and mediocre. We want to show people how we perceive the world and how the world has shaped us and, at times, hurt and broken us. So, we sit and mend our own pieces, and then we present them to you: I have fixed my broken toy, here it is. What do you think of it? [I don’t know why but the voice of Dylan Moran just wormed into these last words…]

I think I am ready to start this journey, and to go wherever this journey is going to take me. It is also true that I will make it mine. I have just decided now, consciously, not to focus on words count, but on pages. And I believe that 4 pages, regularly, are enough. These account for about 1,500 words, which I think, are more than enough when we take the reading into consideration. Of course, I will amend, check, cut, turn around, and edit the articles before publishing them. Still, I will not read them before the editing process. And before we say ciao please, let me take you back to New York (Lancs), just for a short while.

Outside the flat where she is in now, someone is working. There is banging, clanging, and an attempt to mending. A cigarette is lit, someone spits and then sniffs. “Fucking hell…” is uttered. I don’t know exactly what it is, but the night lights outside the window oscillate in a deep red and yellow wave on the wall just above her desk. Our writer, head in her hands, stares at the monitor. If we could see her face (but no, we can’t) she would be smiling because she has just finished the first draft of her first novel. Now, tiny feet are scratching the lid of her bin, outside. A rat. She looks at the last words typed. She imagines the choices she will make, and she lists them all again as she has done it every other night, whispering her own mantra of hope, making sure she hasn’t forgotten any: no more cleaning filthy factories at 3 am; no more loud music from neighbours; no more mothers shouting at children in the street; no more fear when someone tries to enter her house in the middle of the night; no more takeaways; no more greyness; no more crippling sound of cracking of cans. The wholeness of her craves a change. For the previous three years, she felt that everybody else’s life was going on while she was stuck, self-crucified in red and yellow lights. She reads those last words and she breathes. She reads that last sentence: it sounds just as she wanted it. The rat stops its frantic search.

A house in The Hamptons. That’s all she wants.

[1] . See also Elizabeth Gilbert in her TedTalk m_source=tedcomshare or her book Big Magic and of course Steven King’s On Writing

(c) mtomat 2019 - written on 02.07.19 - no reproduction without permission.

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