Archive

Monthly Archives: June 2012

I haven’t seen the show Twin Peaks. Apologies. But while staying in Cape Town, Kathryn & I have hiked up two mountains.

Our first was in Table Mountain National park. This mountain had been on my mind (and in front of my face) since we’d arrived. There’s several routes that one can take there, and our friend-guides, dearRachel and Stefan, have taken many of them. They live in Cape Town and hike across these mountains together every weekend. Today we took the best one. Our route went up Skeleton Gorge, to the reservoir at the top, and then along its dam and around the mountaintop to descend Nursery Ravine.

I think I’d never been on a challenging hike before, I’d usually hiked with family or with some group where whomever might have planned the hike we went on wanted to make sure folks wouldn’t have doubts that they could keep going.

We’d been promised from Rachel that the range of terrain was what made this route so fun. That preparation to us, my words, pictures, these don’t do this trail justice. Maybe an enthusiastic second opinion would help:

People often wonder which route to choose to hike up Table Mountain.  Much depends on how much time you have available.  If you can set aside 5-6 hours then perhaps the most scenic and varied route is Skeleton Gorge.  This route starts from Kirstenbosch Gardens and winds its way up gradually (or fairly gradually!) through the indigenous forest, up a couple of ladders and some easy rock scrambling, to the top of the Back Table.  Here the forest thins out and you may wish to take the short detour to view Hely Hutchinson dam (one of 5 on Table Mountain) and its sandy beach.  Yes, a beach on top of a mountain!

The route from the top of the gorge follows the eastern flank of the mountain.  Here the views are spectacular and there is dense and varied fynbos to admire.  Look out for  birds of prey hovering overhead and often the small but colourful sunbird may be spotted feeding on an erica bush.   Interesting rock formations are on either side – in particular look out for the ‘dragon’ before you cross over a small wooden bridge.  If you are fortunate to visit in February here you will see the magnificent Red Disa, a type of orchid.  Once common on the mountain but now only found in certain parts, these unique flowers definitely warrant a photo even if you are not a botanically minded person.

I love that this mountain surprised me. I suppose this is part of the exhilaration of travel and adventure. Widening our range of experience to fit into our framework of understanding how the world works. Simple things: feeling my hair saturate with freezing rain minutes after sweat was flowing, then steaming off of me. Finding a beach of white sand on top of this mountain, the air thick with white mist churning around us.

A warm iron-red stream running by our feet.

Climbing up a waterfall.


All Photos from Kathryn Stein.

While I’ve felt out of shape in recent months, I’ll sometimes forget this is the case, resting on the laurels of weightlifting addictions of years past. I gauge my fitness by comparing my performance to whomever I’m hanging out with, or to whatever challenge I’m taking on, the weight I’m lifting or trail I’m taking. I certainly lost faith a couple of times on this trek, Kathryn and I were embarrassed to need to take breaks as Rachel and Stefan assured us we were doing fine. They’d tell us about our progress, we were more than half way there, we only had a few more meters till the top, the ladders are coming up next, we’re headed to the reservoir. I moved through emotional waves, feeling alternately discouraged and triumphant as we moved through different milestones.

When I was having such a tough time motivating myself on the mountain, I imagined what would I do if I were some action hero, Tintin or whomever escaping from the police or an army? Would I be able to force myself to push harder and escape my pursuers? I’d have to hide, burying myself down in the brush or going up a tree. My life is fairly free from this sort of chase scene or mountain. The thought reminded me of being a kid, fairly happy all things considered, but still planning: if I were to run away from home, I’d camp out in these woods on the first night, then go through the woods to that main road in the morning. I could probably get into a car from there. 

On the descent my feet were shaking as they searched for places to step. This involved continual small slips and corrections. I feel like I was lucky that I didn’t crunch apart the tendons in my ankles.

We came back to a great restaurant with solid coffee, that baked its own bread, and had a very USAmerican feel to it. I was craving everything.

Advertisements

It’s harder to write when I haven’t been writing. Folks will offer endless excuses for me if I don’t have one. It must be hard while you’re working full time, while you’re in transition, while you’re in a play, while you’re not living in x city, while you’re in Malawi…The one that feels true is: It’s hard if you haven’t been doing it. If I miss a day, it’s harder the next day. If I miss two, three days, a week, it takes a bigger push of activation energy to get rolling again. But it’s always possible.

How true are these things? It’s always possible to be inspired to write? The more you write the easier it is to keep writing? It maybe doesn’t matter to me right now. At times I’m interested in it as a philosophical question, I guess, but for now it’s just a useful belief for accomplishing my goals.

Kathryn and I made it to Cape Town. We’re in Observatory, but only recently arrived and haven’t roamed too far. Something about walking around together this morning makes me miss Brooklyn.

Malawi was always blue skies for us, sometimes with more clouds than on other days. A light breeze was the winter chill on every pleasantly sunny day. We’ve had real rain here and some real cold, with promises of bitter mountain cold in Lesotho. Malawi’s called the warm heart of Africa so I think I’m clever when I call Lesotho the cold heart of Africa. In reality I can sometimes be clever but much of what I find slightly funny is not at all funny.

We’ve been staying at a seldom friendly but quite colorful hostel. My judgement only from the first 12 hours. They have a two-nights-free-for-couchsurfers policy, and I’m certainly appreciative of that. Maybe there’s some unspoken strings we haven’t picked up on. Anyway, we aren’t holding onto it too tightly.

Table Mountain looms nearby, the mist tumbled down this afternoon. I wanted to just scramble up before lunch today, but we didn’t. Tomorrow we’ll hike up with Rachel, who went to school with Kathryn at Mcgill and is currently working on her dissertation on women who were working with the national liberation movement who had been in exile in other African countries. Rachel has been our sweet, warm, energetic, thoughtful guide since we arrived off our drowsy foggy flight into Cape Town.

Tonight she brought us to Omar Badsha’s for dinner, with him and a couple of his other documentary photography colleagues. We all had lots of wine, beer, whiskey, tea, pistachio shortbread, rice, mango achaar, and a dal-lamb (maybe accidentally pureed into a soup) curry, and we heard all about everything. South Africa politicks and history, art and cigarettes, North Carolina and Poland. That’s what I’m really working towards, I am attempting to subvert everything, he says, but I haven’t succeeded. You haven’t subverted all things? I don’t know, I haven’t subverted anything. He pours both of us some more scotch. Maybe just this dal. I’ve totally subverted this recipe this time. 

I’d been largely persisting with my drafting and delinquent with blogging in my last week in Lilongwe. It helped that the internet at the UNC guest house didn’t quite agree with wordpress. A couple times I almost posted, but couldn’t make quite enough momentum with the wireless to get off the ground. Wasn’t a big personal problem though. It just means I need to push through to combat the blank page again. Poems and quotes alone don’t count. With anything I write, with a few days off of it, I’ll have doubts that I’ll be able to do it again. This is a reminder that it’s nothing personal, that the resistance will come as readily for something as simple as a blog post as it might for some trickier textured dialogue.

In my worklogs, I’ve had moments where I want to voice my frustration that I’ve lost focus for a few hours or a few seconds, but I want to remind myself to keep going forward with my work. My shorthand for this, I’ll just write amnesty and keep going.

It’s some hours later and we’ve met more of the staff at the hostel. We’ve all warmed up a little to each other, and I’ve met a couple of folks who work here who are truly charming. I love to be won over.

I’d love to have a mountain in sight of my home every day, where I could trudge up by myself for hours at a time.

We beg differently in Bombay than New York.
I sense there’s no link, between days, between the flowers
on this hill and the flowers I might imagine
on the train that my hands would arrange
if given a little country of their own. That was tomorrow
that this happened, that I thought of a way
into dirt, to breed color and a fragrance
like the inside of the sun. This is why
I’m looking forward to you, this is why people
are my bibliography. Once you feel
it’s your own hand floating beside your head,
that you’re walking in beautiful if dirty robes
beside your beautiful if clean suit, that the money
you give, you give to your own mouth, there’s no breeze
you can’t name. If I leave myself in the rain
often enough, one time I’ll come back and I’ll be gone.
Dying is the only way to live, and a dollar
only costs a dollar. Every twenty seventh word
should be absolutely. Think of the agreements
that would break out like fire touching air
with all the fingers it can muster. Can you spare
some change? Absolutely. Would you like
to touch my earlobes? Absolutely. Is the eye a kind
of tongue? Absolutely, and here I go, licking.

absolutely.

A couple years ago this memo was leaked and started floating around.

Mamet was the executive producer of The Unit, he wrote this as a memo to his writers. The show has since been cancelled.

“TO THE WRITERS OF THE UNIT GREETINGS.

AS WE LEARN HOW TO WRITE THIS SHOW, A RECURRING PROBLEM BECOMES CLEAR.

THE PROBLEM IS THIS: TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN DRAMA AND NON-DRAMA. LET ME BREAK-IT-DOWN-NOW.

EVERYONE IN CREATION IS SCREAMING AT US TO MAKE THE SHOW CLEAR. WE ARE TASKED WITH, IT SEEMS, CRAMMING A SHITLOAD OF INFORMATION INTO A LITTLE BIT OF TIME.

OUR FRIENDS. THE PENGUINS, THINK THAT WE, THEREFORE, ARE EMPLOYED TO COMMUNICATE INFORMATION — AND, SO, AT TIMES, IT SEEMS TO US.

BUT NOTE:THE AUDIENCE WILL NOT TUNE IN TO WATCH INFORMATION. YOU WOULDN’T, I WOULDN’T. NO ONE WOULD OR WILL. THE AUDIENCE WILL ONLY TUNE IN AND STAY TUNED TO WATCH DRAMA.

QUESTION:WHAT IS DRAMA? DRAMA, AGAIN, IS THE QUEST OF THE HERO TO OVERCOME THOSE THINGS WHICH PREVENT HIM FROM ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, ACUTE GOAL.

SO: WE, THE WRITERS, MUST ASK OURSELVES OF EVERY SCENE THESE THREE QUESTIONS.

1) WHO WANTS WHAT?

2) WHAT HAPPENS IF HER DON’T GET IT?

3) WHY NOW?

THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS ARE LITMUS PAPER. APPLY THEM, AND THEIR ANSWER WILL TELL YOU IF THE SCENE IS DRAMATIC OR NOT.

IF THE SCENE IS NOT DRAMATICALLY WRITTEN, IT WILL NOT BE DRAMATICALLY ACTED.

THERE IS NO MAGIC FAIRY DUST WHICH WILL MAKE A BORING, USELESS, REDUNDANT, OR MERELY INFORMATIVE SCENE AFTER IT LEAVES YOUR TYPEWRITER. YOU THE WRITERS, ARE IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE EVERY SCENE IS DRAMATIC.

THIS MEANS ALL THE “LITTLE” EXPOSITIONAL SCENES OF TWO PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD. THIS BUSHWAH (AND WE ALL TEND TO WRITE IT ON THE FIRST DRAFT) IS LESS THAN USELESS, SHOULD IT FINALLY, GOD FORBID, GET FILMED.

IF THE SCENE BORES YOU WHEN YOU READ IT, REST ASSURED IT WILL BORE THE ACTORS, AND WILL, THEN, BORE THE AUDIENCE, AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE BACK IN THE BREADLINE.

SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE SCENE DRAMATIC. IT IS NOT THE ACTORS JOB (THE ACTORS JOB IS TO BE TRUTHFUL). IT IS NOT THE DIRECTORS JOB. HIS OR HER JOB IS TO FILM IT STRAIGHTFORWARDLY AND REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST. IT IS YOUR JOB.

EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.

THIS NEED IS WHY THEY CAME. IT IS WHAT THE SCENE IS ABOUT. THEIR ATTEMPT TO GET THIS NEED MET WILL LEAD, AT THE END OF THE SCENE,TO FAILURE – THIS IS HOW THE SCENE IS OVER. IT, THIS FAILURE, WILL, THEN, OF NECESSITY, PROPEL US INTO THE NEXT SCENE.

ALL THESE ATTEMPTS, TAKEN TOGETHER, WILL, OVER THE COURSE OF THE EPISODE, CONSTITUTE THE PLOT.

ANY SCENE, THUS, WHICH DOES NOT BOTH ADVANCE THE PLOT, AND STANDALONE (THAT IS, DRAMATICALLY, BY ITSELF, ON ITS OWN MERITS) IS EITHER SUPERFLUOUS, OR INCORRECTLY WRITTEN.

YES BUT YES BUT YES BUT, YOU SAY: WHAT ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF WRITING IN ALL THAT “INFORMATION?”

AND I RESPOND “FIGURE IT OUT” ANY DICKHEAD WITH A BLUESUIT CAN BE (AND IS) TAUGHT TO SAY “MAKE IT CLEARER”, AND “I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM”.

WHEN YOU’VE MADE IT SO CLEAR THAT EVEN THIS BLUESUITED PENGUIN IS HAPPY, BOTH YOU AND HE OR SHE WILL BE OUT OF A JOB.

THE JOB OF THE DRAMATIST IS TO MAKE THE AUDIENCE WONDER WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. NOT TO EXPLAIN TO THEM WHAT JUST HAPPENED, OR TO*SUGGEST* TO THEM WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

ANY DICKHEAD, AS ABOVE, CAN WRITE, “BUT, JIM, IF WE DON’T ASSASSINATE THE PRIME MINISTER IN THE NEXT SCENE, ALL EUROPE WILL BE ENGULFED IN FLAME”

WE ARE NOT GETTING PAID TO REALIZE THAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS THIS INFORMATION TO UNDERSTAND THE NEXT SCENE, BUT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO WRITE THE SCENE BEFORE US SUCH THAT THE AUDIENCE WILL BE INTERESTED IN WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

YES BUT, YES BUT YES BUT YOU REITERATE.

AND I RESPOND FIGURE IT OUT.

HOW DOES ONE STRIKE THE BALANCE BETWEEN WITHHOLDING AND VOUCHSAFING INFORMATION? THAT IS THE ESSENTIAL TASK OF THE DRAMATIST. AND THE ABILITY TO DO THAT IS WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM THE LESSER SPECIES IN THEIR BLUE SUITS.

FIGURE IT OUT.

START, EVERY TIME, WITH THIS INVIOLABLE RULE: THE SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. it must start because the hero HAS A PROBLEM, AND IT MUST CULMINATE WITH THE HERO FINDING HIM OR HERSELF EITHER THWARTED OR EDUCATED THAT ANOTHER WAY EXISTS.

LOOK AT YOUR LOG LINES. ANY LOGLINE READING “BOB AND SUE DISCUSS…” IS NOT DESCRIBING A DRAMATIC SCENE.

PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR OUTLINES ARE, GENERALLY, SPECTACULAR. THE DRAMA FLOWS OUT BETWEEN THE OUTLINE AND THE FIRST DRAFT.

THINK LIKE A FILMMAKER RATHER THAN A FUNCTIONARY, BECAUSE, IN TRUTH, YOUARE MAKING THE FILM. WHAT YOU WRITE, THEY WILL SHOOT.

HERE ARE THE DANGER SIGNALS. ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

ANY TIME ANY CHARACTER IS SAYING TO ANOTHER “AS YOU KNOW”, THAT IS, TELLING ANOTHER CHARACTER WHAT YOU, THE WRITER, NEED THE AUDIENCE TO KNOW, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

DO NOT WRITE A CROCK OF SHIT. WRITE A RIPPING THREE, FOUR, SEVEN MINUTE SCENE WHICH MOVES THE STORY ALONG, AND YOU CAN, VERY SOON, BUY A HOUSE IN BEL AIR AND HIRE SOMEONE TO LIVE THERE FOR YOU.

REMEMBER YOU ARE WRITING FOR A VISUAL MEDIUM. MOST TELEVISION WRITING, OURS INCLUDED, SOUNDS LIKE RADIO. THE CAMERA CAN DO THE EXPLAINING FOR YOU. LET IT. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERS DOING -*LITERALLY*. WHAT ARE THEY HANDLING, WHAT ARE THEY READING. WHAT ARE THEY WATCHING ON TELEVISION, WHAT ARE THEY SEEING.

IF YOU PRETEND THE CHARACTERS CANT SPEAK, AND WRITE A SILENT MOVIE, YOU WILL BE WRITING GREAT DRAMA.

IF YOU DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF THE CRUTCH OF NARRATION, EXPOSITION,INDEED, OFSPEECH. YOU WILL BE FORGED TO WORK IN A NEW MEDIUM – TELLING THE STORY IN PICTURES (ALSO KNOWN AS SCREENWRITING)

THIS IS A NEW SKILL. NO ONE DOES IT NATURALLY. YOU CAN TRAIN YOURSELVES TO DO IT, BUT YOU NEED TO START.

I CLOSE WITH THE ONE THOUGHT: LOOK AT THE SCENE AND ASK YOURSELF “IS IT DRAMATIC? IS IT ESSENTIAL? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT?

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY.

IF THE ANSWER IS “NO” WRITE IT AGAIN OR THROW IT OUT. IF YOU’VE GOT ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME UP.

LOVE, DAVE MAMET

SANTA MONICA 19 OCTO 05

(IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW THE ANSWERS, BUT IT IS YOUR, AND MY, RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW AND TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS OVER AND OVER. UNTIL IT BECOMES SECOND NATURE. I BELIEVE THEY ARE LISTED ABOVE.)”

It could be said that Mamet doesn’t follow these rules in his plays. It could also be said that this is all grossly oversimplifying, unintentionally-ironically overwritten, and that some of this just ain’t right. This doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the memo.


Photo Credit: Andrew H. Walker, LA Times

I love the romantic image that he gives: the writer and team of writers, like prophets, in direct communication with truths-of-stories. The bigwig fatcat penguins will never understand their language. But they must heed the writer’s warnings, lest we all end up in the breadline.

I think the memo is a great addition to any discussion of story structure. It certainly stimulates my thoughts on my own current work, even if it’s all broad, blunt, and basic.

(at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

(I wish I’d written this.)

RIta Dove on Clifton: In contrast to much of the poetry being written today—intellectualized lyricism characterized by an application of inductive thought to unusual images—Lucille Clifton’s poems are compact and self-sufficient…Her revelations then resemble the epiphanies of childhood and early adolescence, when one’s lack of preconceptions about the self allowed for brilliant slippage into the metaphysical, a glimpse into an egoless, utterly thingful and serene world.

We have just 10 days left in Malawi, before heading to South Africa. On Tuesday our wayward hosts who we’re housesitting for return to Lilongwe. We’ll be heading over to UNC cohousing then, which will be good for me. Partially because I’m a positive person, so when a change in plans happens you’ll hear me mention why this is becoming the best of all possible worlds. If I’m by myself and I spill my tea, I’ll mutter to myself out loud “It’s okay,” to sidecoach my way through this minicrisis. But it really might be good. Even if it’s not the luxury island of tranquility we’re in now, I anticipate being into it. It’ll also encourage me to get out more, come out to the clinic with Kathryn more often, and just get out in Lilongwe. It’ll shake things up.

We’ve also been carless, which makes us say no to lots of social happenings that we’d otherwise say yes to. Where we’re moving to, though, there’s other folks who we’d want to do fun things with, and a shared car. It’ll be great to have friends to cook and bake for/with as well.

Kathryn’s been quite busy since well before I arrived. Waking up this morning realizing how soon we’re leaving, we’ve taken a moment to determine what the best way to spend these days. How to rearrange her priorities for the best impact she could have at the clinic here. It seems she and Jeff (the doctor at the clinic & charming family-man extraordinaire) had the concurrent idea of a video project. I’m very excited about her idea, but won’t go into details yet. Maybe the next time I mention it, I’ll be showing you a link.

I’ll need to explore the same question. With Malawi’s border as a benchmark, what do I want to have accomplished by the time I leave?

I’m posting in order to teach myself to write. I’m trying to post frequently, still doing enough edits to make this legible, while making sure this is isn’t taking over my life. I’m not all that experienced with writing prose. I freewrite every day, which creates an echo chamber of compounding habits and cycles. I usually think in stuttering fragments and write in rambling unwieldy sentences. I’m loving this process of learning to articulate and focus a thought.

This is all part of a disclaimer. To say, I’m not a writing expert, this isn’t my forte, I can take criticism but I don’t want to be judged on this. I didn’t go to real college like a real boy. It’s a cop out.

There are all sorts of ways in which I’ll do this. When I return to the States this August and get back in the restaurant, I’ll make comments on my first day or two back about how long it’s been for me whenever I make mistakes. When I pick up a guitar around other people I’ll mention offhand how rusty I am and long it’s been since I’ve picked one up. Even when I give someone a copy of my play these days, I’ll want to tell them that it’s not perfect and I’ve got things I need to fix, parts I’m rewriting. Just imagine it’s better than it actually is, when forming your opinion. 

I am insecure that I didn’t go to school. Acting conservatory gave me buckets of acting training, but I’ve never really received critiques on my writing on a regular basis. High school was forever ago, but even then I wasted most of my opportunities to grow as a writer, in or out of class. I’m happy, and delighted about who I am and where I am. But I certainly have deep regrets about a lot of time that could have been better spent in line with my goals. And even in the field I’m claiming as my own, I’ve got real gaps in my knowledge.

Noted insecure man Woody Allen feels similarly in some regards. Like most Paris Review interviews, the whole interview is a great read.

Image

I’m not sure I have the background and understanding to write a novel. The book that I have been working on, or planning, is amusing but serious, and I’ll see what happens. I’m so uneducated really—so autodidactic. That’s a tricky thing, because there are certain areas the autodidact knows about but there are also great gaps that are really shocking. It comes from not having a structured education. People will send me film scripts or essays or even a page of jokes and they’ll say, Is this anything—is this a short story? Is this a comedy sketch? They’ll have no idea if it is or isn’t. To a degree, I feel the same way about the world of prose. When I brought something into The New Yorker, I didn’t know what I was standing there with. Their reaction could have been, Oh, this is nothing. You’ve written a lot of words, but this isn’t really anything, or, Young man, this thing is really wonderful. I was happy to accept their judgment of it. If they had said, when I first took those pieces into The New Yorker, We’re sorry, but this isn’t really anything, I would have accepted that. I would have said, Oh really? OK. I would have thrown the stuff away and never batted an eyelash. The one or two things they’ve turned down over the years, they were always so tentative and polite about; they always said, Look, we may publish something else a little too close to this, or something tactful like that. And I always felt, hey—just tear it up, I don’t care. In that sense, I never found writing delicate or sacred. I think that’s what would happen if I finished the novel. If the people I brought it to said, We don’t think this is anything, it would never occur to me to say, You fools. I just don’t know enough. I’m not speaking with the authority of someone like James Joyce who’d read everything and knew more than his critics did. There’s only one or two areas where I feel that kind of security, where I feel my judgment is as good and maybe even better than most people’s judgment. Comedy is one. I feel confident when I’m dealing with things that are funny, whatever the medium. And I know a lot about New Orleans jazz music even though I’m a poor musician. Poor but dedicated.

I’ve got a few areas of my expertise. Here’s a couple:

  • If you’ve got an idea you’re building, especially for something story-based, I can help construct it.
  • If I’m not playing a professional, I can give anyone some good competition in poker, and to a lesser extent, chess.
  • I’d also like to wash restaurant dishes in a competitive setting, I think I can hang with anyone there.

I’ve got a much bigger list of things which are off-limits to me, interests of mine which I won’t stand behind. I’m getting better these days at not allowing this to limit my choices in terms of my projects I’ll attempt to tackle. It’s main function, these insecurities, are to allow me to behave tentatively in social or exposed settings, like writing a blog. I’ll write weaker statements, or shy away from saying things that might be shot down by the experts, and of course, pepper my paragraphs with disclaimers.

A part of me would love to be a James Joyce, who as Allen says, knew more than all of his critics. Or even like Thomas “by God, I have genius–I know it too well to blush behind it” Wolfe. Whether or not he’d read everything, he definitely wasn’t a meek little turtle. I do have huge plans and a strong self-opinion, when I’m working by myself in a dark closet away from social niceties. The important thing is to, (as me, not anyone else,) do what I need to do anyway to get these projects to line up with my vision for them.