Making and marking

Making: I don’t seem to be able to discipline myself to write during these last few weeks. Only routines that I can do mindlessly I can really do mindlessly and then I can forget them again, which is okay; I wish there was more in my life that had this hard to define quality of being mindless, a paradox to discuss using your mind, of course. All I know is that I sit down every morning very early as I’m used to, surrounded by the tools of my trade, but as soon as I hold the hammer, I freeze up: it is almost as if someone is continuously speaking in the background, but I can’t decipher what he says, or when I can decipher it, there’s no paper to put it on, or when I put it on paper, it disappears right away. This is how it is right now. If there’s any fun in the process then it’s of the grim kind. As soon as I stop talking to myself I can hear the blood rush through my ears down the veins of my neck to the heart where the blue blood and the red blood mix. In a way, writing is the brain eating itself. It’s important to bring fresh food to the mind plate.

Auden in Berlin by Mark B. Anstendig modified by Marcus Speh

Photo: Auden in Berlin © Mark B. Anstendig, modified by me on iPad. Click for larger image.

Marking: I like to draw, not necessarily in any original way: as in the image shows, I’m perfectly happy to make marks. Getting lost in the mark–making is pure relief from the pressure of word–shaping. It’s mindless all right. And while I am making those marks, even though I use an iPad, words, new words and sentences, are beginning to form like the foundations of buildings in the fog. It brings to mind words spoken by W H Auden into the void when the world was slipping into war. His diction and tone are almost as important as the words themselves. You can trace every mark in his face back to an unhappy thought or to a joyful rhyme.

 For about him to the very end were still
those he had studied, the fauna of the night,
and shades that still waited to enter
the bright circle of his recognition

(From: Auden, “In Memory of Sigmund Freud“, 1940).

All writing it seems to me is wrestling with the creatures who live in that “fauna of the night”. Who knows, perhaps I’ll simply retreat to making marks on the surface.

[Open this at One Thousand Shipwrecked Penguins][Original photo]

3 thoughts on “Making and marking

  1. Ah yes, my best thoughts come to me in the shower, or when gardening, or driving and I must quickly finish what I’m doing to write them down somehow. Yet I can sit at the laptop with a blank page and not have a single thought to inspire me.

    • I’m now experimenting with dictation whenever the thought or an idea may descend upon me. It’s helpful to be a gadget freak, of course. I use Dragon dictate and MacSpeech scribe to both directly dictate into the computer, and transcribe digital recordings. But about that more interesting aspect of how and where one gets inspiration… In front of the computer or recorder certainly is the least likely place for it.

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