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.