Why Make Art

Virginia Woolf on Why She Became a Writer and the Shock-Receiving Capacity Necessary for Being an Artist

A reminder to read great writers.

Moments of Being.

Why Make Art

My Prof

http://www.pressherald.com/2016/02/21/for-pulitzer-prize-winning-portland-author-richard-russo-the-story-starts-at-home/

“In America, we love stories of self-made men who pull themselves up by their boot straps and no doubt there are such men, but I’m not one of them,” Russo said at that time. He talked of his father paying his union dues, his mother constantly pushing him toward college, and, “just as important, I am a product of public education, government-backed student loans and publicly funded institutions like the Gloversville Free Library.”

“Do I have myself to thank for my success?” he said. “Don’t make me laugh. I don’t even know where my boot straps are.”

–Rick

 

My Prof

Kent Haruf’s Watch Cap

The late novelist Kent Haruf was said to write with a watch cap pulled down over his eyes. I’ve also heard of writers that only allow one line to be displayed as they write. Just tricks to quiet the monkey brain down a little as the writer writes their shitty first draft as fast as possible (h/t Anne Lamott).

After reading Joshua Foer’s ‘Moonwalking with Einstein,’ it occurs to me that Haruf wasn’t only blocking out what he has written, but blocking out his space. Foer reports that many memory athletes wore sound suppressing headphone or earmuffs, and glasses that blocked everything but the tiniest hole for viewing through. Foer used these techniques to prep for his upcoming memory competition. Forced focus. Because the memorizers used images to associate cards (King of Hearts = Barack Obama), they would close their eyes to help with memorizing.

It also sounds a little like meditation, only I should never force stray thoughts out — Tara Brach always says to be gentle. When she says to imagine the space between your eyes, my eyes are closed and I’m attempting to conjure up what that looks like.

Lately, I’ve been trying to clear distractions from my mind and my virtual space as I read. When stray thoughts come up, I let them exit, and then continue reading. I throw in a little Pomodoro 25 minute thinking sessions — also the most amount of time I can meditate.

The obvious progression is to go Haruf, but with headphones and goggles modified so I can only see the text in front of me. My new look will make a lovely avatar.

Kent Haruf’s Watch Cap

James Baldwin on Writing

“Rewriting [is] very painful. You know it’s finished when you can’t do anything more to it, though it’s never exactly the way you want it… The hardest thing in the world is simplicity. And the most fearful thing, too. You have to strip yourself of all your disguises, some of which you didn’t know you had. You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.”

James Baldwin’s Advice on Writing

James Baldwin on Writing