“Repetition” in words and in theme. “Tiresome.”
“Lacks flow and rhythm.”
“Lacking depth.” (This one cut.)
“Can’t produce more than 500 words?”
“Have you thought of a creative writing class?”
I’m two miles into my morning run. The unsolicited feedback is swamping Audible’s narration of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle: Book 5: Some Rain Must Fall. And chirping in, is Brian Blanchfield’s new book of essays written without the internet and any reference sources.
I twist the earbuds deeper into each drum, turn up the volume and hope to drown the sh*t out.
The words from Book 5 continue to pump. Knausgaard’s autobiographic detail and flow is hypnotic. There are five published books in his series, with each averaging more than 500 pages. He goes back more than 40 years and walks us forward stone, by stone, by stone. (There you go again, with the repetition.)
Here’s a reflection by Knausgaard on a moment from ~25 years ago in Book 2: “In the window before me I can vaguely see the image of my face. Apart from my eyes, which are shining, and the part directly beneath, which dimly reflects light, the whole of the left side lies in shade. Two deep furrows run down the forehead, one deep furrow runs down each cheek, all filled as it were with darkness, and when the eyes are staring and serious, and the mouth turned down at the corners it is impossible not to think of this face as somber. What is it that has etched itself into you?”
I ponder this passage for a moment, then try, and fail, to call up the color of the cereal box at this morning’s breakfast, or the title of the Netflix movie I watched last night – never mind trying to string the words to describe the two moments.
I release this chain of thoughts and call up Ted Hughes: “The first sign of disintegration — in a writer — is that the writing loses the unique stamp of his/her character, & loses its inner light…What matters, is to connect your own voice.”
What matters is to have my own voice. You’ve so matured.
I get back to Book 5.
I pick up the pace.
I’m 3/4s of a mile from home on Post Road and crossing Hollow Tree Ridge Road. I’m about to run through the intersection when out of the right corner of my eye, I see a late model Mercedes accelerate through the intersection, close enough for me to feel the wind gust.
The driver (male, middle age) and his spouse, sit stoic. He glances at me in the rear view mirror as he accelerates up the hill. I stop in the middle of the turn lane, raise my middle finger and hold it in the air long enough for him to see it.
There. Feel better? Yep.
Lacking depth, my A**.
Posted Inspired by Irving Stone:
It’s freezing up here.
What did you use to keep warm?
“Indignation,” said Michelangelo.
“Best fuel I know. Never burns out.”
~ Irving Stone, from The Agony and the Ecstasy
- Images by Szymon Swietochowski via Behance
- Irving Stone quote via Couvertures de serenity. Ted Hughes quote: Brain Pickings.
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