Writing from a cramped position

It is really Neil Gaiman’s fault that I’m writing this blog post at all. Or rather, the fault of whoever wrote the wikipedia article about him who says Gaiman blogged continuously during the writing and revising of American Gods, which I haven’t read but perhaps I will as soon as I’m done with a couple of fat, expendable Sci-Fi books that I feel I should read as part of my research.

It’s not as if I had nothing  else to do, with various projects on my desk and the novel planned out as far as I want to plan it. But a couple of days ago, Nate, one of the members of my wonderful Berlin writers group (loosely connected to Sand, convened by its editor Jasoni), asked me about my progress wanting to read something and I didn’t have anything new to show to him.

Blogging, a way of talking to myself out loud, has always been a good whip to get me going again. Plus I think it’s unethical to get everybody excited via facebook and what have you about a blog and then not put anything in it (except flash).

Alas, this morning I started by reactivating my twitter account: a singularly stupid act of procrastination! I was instantly found by dozens of slime-shooting viral marketers whose interest in me was clearly motivated by my mentioning words such as “iPad” and “kindle”. (I don’t want to do the Flawnt thing all over again.)

Next, I opened my Tinderbox file, which contains all good things about my novel except the text itself – maps of locations, characters, synopsis, links, pictures etc.


Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 13.22.24

Tinderbox is (Mac-only) organising software that’s helpful when structuring books. I have a hunch that it can be used for a lot more but I’m too dumb or busy or impatient to try it. That I know about it at all is Susan Gibb‘s fault. That I thought about structuring the novel is Jasoni‘s fault. That I haven’t produced much in the past few weeks is solely my own fault. Funny, isn’t it, how writing turns into blaming when we don’t do it enough.

Currently, said file contains a lot of beginnings, links, ideas. The writing itself is done using yet another (Mac-only) tool, Ulysses, created by fellow Germans and pretty much the best writing software I’ve ever seen. If I don’t get anything done, my high-tech soft- or hardware environment cannot be blamed.

monsieur proust

Then I opened Proust’s The Way by Swann’s and found this which eerily reminded me of the birthing process of writing itself and finally got me writing

“Sometimes, as Eve was born from one of Adam’s ribs, a woman was born during my sleep from a cramped position of my thigh.”

… ending my detour from daintiness to determination.

Marcus Speh

6 thoughts on “Writing from a cramped position

  1. Ah, you are paving the way for great words. Flexing your muscles. All good. Your singularly stupid act has nothing on mine – I took a break from writing to play with my children, forgot to put down my pen, clapped my hands, and stabbed myself. Now I’m going to follow you on Twitter. Good luck with the book. M

    • i saw the picture just now – how did you have the presence of mind to take a picture. such a public life. leading to a lesson. reminds me that i haven’t clapped in a long time. must ask my family to give me reason for clapping. as for the book: it’s growing all the time which is pure pleasure – thanks for your wishes and speedy recovery!

  2. I don’t know what I would do with Tinderbox, but it looks most impressive. Very bony. But I don’t have a Mac anyway. You are on Twitter again? I haven’t had much stomach for aether chat lately. But it’s good to hear your writerly voice.

    • @karen – so true – “bony” is a perfect description. hence when the creative juices flow, i will not go near it. but a novel is a different beast from flash – it’s a continuously growing bush with new skeletons phoning in all the time…fun really and Tbox helps me keep the illusion of having an overview… twitter: yes, i am and i’m not. taking it really slowly but my sabbatical is beginning and i am tricking myself into believing that i have got all the time in the world…”writerly voice”: thanks! i’ll try to say something interesting here. “bad alice” really is a hard act to follow…

  3. I don’t see what’s unethical about a mostly flash blog, but I guess that’s just me. Free short fiction is always fun, or at least it should be. 🙂

    I can’t really relate to the Apple/Mac stuff as our household is staunchly Linux oriented, but I wish you well.

    • hi catherine – it’s not about the mac, it’s about the impact technology can make. even on a mac, the computer doesn’t do the actual work though…as for the “unethical” – nothing wrong with flash-only blog i just don’t write flash at the write anymore that i did (back in the flawnt days), at least one per day. need for change, i suppose. linux: applause! i’m all for open source.

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