Holding the door shut with one hand and trying to work on my book with the other.

8. 9. 2006 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2006

In New York. Holding the door shut with one hand and trying to work on my book with the other. Holding the door shut in this case means a rolling combination of sending rushed emails, doing admin/writing and having the necessary phone conversations to keep other projects at bay. Working on the book is a bit more self explanatory I guess. Sometimes it seems like holding the door shut takes most of my time and energies.

Weird feelings when working on the book, as now when Im back into if for a few weeks the feeling that all of the various things I am juggling around in there plot things to address, cuts to make, ideas to add or follow through are kind of churning around in my head all the time. Makes me rather absent from the world at times. The feeling Im searching to describe brings a picture/metaphor of a gas moving in a jar, or of liquids in suspension as if the various aspects of the book are moving around constantly somewhere down there (inside me) outside of my attention.

A strange thing at the moment is that a lot of what I do, when I do get on to the book, is cutting. Basically removing chunks that in many cases I spent a long time getting them into the state that they are in. I track changes in the document.. keeping endless versions of it on the computer so that, in theory I could retrace my steps if I ever did something that I dont like, or if I want to retrieve something that I lost. In practice I rarely do this. Once something is cut it rarely returns.

I like editing though, especially the cutting part. I am trying to turn a 128,000 word manuscript into a 100,000 word one. I can do this job pretty dispassionately. I dont get hung up on the fact that the stuff I am chopping took me months! And theres something perversely pleasing to me about losing a paragraph that I like because, whilst its good in itself, its not really adding anything to the larger argument of the narrative. Its something about being able to shift the scale of your attention ie at this point the whole big shape of the book is whats important. The fact that a sentence or a paragraph or even a chapter might be good is neither here nor there.

Theres an idea for something I want to do at some point which is to write a text a story I imagine from scratch in a new document but to record all the keystrokes and changes in sequence (and in timing) so that one could then play the piece as an animation a story or a text of some kind forming itself on the screen, all kinds of erasures, processes, rewritings that take place. There are a couple of things Ive seen that relate to this my friend Edit Kaldor uses the device of writing a letter in her performance Or Press Escape and in the work we see the process of this writing (with all of its erasures, doublings back, changes etc) done live as a projection of her screen as she sits there on the stage and writes at her laptop. The other piece it makes me think of is a video by Romeo Alaeff called Once. Its a very short story an anecdote that appears on the screen letter by letter the video is a shot of the computer screen, and the soundtrack is the sound of his typing. Again, a very nice work, that begins to engage with writing as a temporal process.. the production of written text as something that has breath, time and thinking space, rather than written text that is manifested simply as an object.