Groundhog’s Day

images7.jpg Remember that movie “Groundhog’s Day” starring Bill Murray and Andie Mac Dowell, where the guy keeps having the same exact day over and over again, until he figures out what he has to do differently to move on? Me neither. Or rather, I never saw it, but still the plot reminds me of LIFE, and I’ve read in the Times that they actually use this film in Buddhist philosophy classes to illustrate the whole maya (i think that means illusion) of life. (Um, I’m probably totally abusing the whole belief system of Buddhists, so don’t quote me.) It’s about how we’re destined to relive the same question over and over again until we crack it — which seems precisely what I do ALL THE TIME.

Recently, I realized my writing has been a bit on the stink-o-rama side. I haven’t been doing it from my gut. You have to write from a place of wild abandon, of fire, in order to do it well, and I just spent the last year writing a novel from dogged, grim determination, and who the heck wants to read that? This realization was a big a-ha (shoutout to Pal) moment for me, but it’s one I have already had many times. I seem to keep forgetting lessons, and am forced to relearn the basics over and over again.

What next? My friend Kris’s husband suggests rather than put all your energy into a book you care about that would have a small print run, why not write the cr*ppy bestseller and write your own ticket? Aside from the fact that cr*ppy bestsellers are also difficult to produce, I’d actually be happier with a book I’m proud of that only two people read than something I found embarrassing that everyone read (though, please, a million bucks would be very comforting),

Perhaps I’m just a bit fatigued after trying so long, but I find my friend Gabrielle’s approach to writing very intriguing right now. She stopped. She says throughout grad school, she always felt guilty about not writing enough and felt the pressure of gotta get published we all did, until finally thought, who needs this.

Maybe it’s just the influence of a movie I just saw (“Into the Wild,” where the young lead lights his IDs and money on fire), but I’m feeling like it makes sense to let it go.

6 Replies to “Groundhog’s Day”

  1. I hope when you say “it makes sense to let it go” does not mean letting go of writing entirely. You mustn’t! Your writing voice needs to be out there. It’s funny and unexpected and ticklish. Keep doing it! ps do watch Groundhog’s Day. It is what you expect it to be and more.

  2. yeah, i don’t think i’d stop writing like my friend gabe did, but i think i’m going to take a break and maybe let go of the goals i’ve been trying achieve. it’s like i haven’t reached what i thought i would for so long that i’m like, what am i trying to do here? mayeb not worrying about all that is a better way to live. i’ve heard groundhog’s day is aweomse.

  3. heh hee, but gabe, do you deny the quote? it was such an endlessly interesting response. i talked about it with alex j. when i was back in ny after that trip and he got it too. he totally agreed b/c he was fried on his efforts.

  4. I feel like, if you’re meant to write, you CAN put it away for a while and not force it. And after a little while, you’ll think of an idea or something will happen to you and it’ll kill you to NOT write about it. I think to really get the creative juices flowing, you have to turn off the faucet every now and then.

  5. yay, i applaud breaks! i’ve tried to quit writing permanently tons of times but keep coming back to it eventually

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