Saturday, August 5, 2017
on Stephen King and bullshit
Before I even began reading Stephen King's On Writing, one of my fiction students (actually, the final person in a ten-year stretch who has recommended this specific book) told me that King says journals are never for collecting amazing ideas-- no one ever returns to those ideas, picks them back up, and writes something stellar. Great ideas stay in the skull-- they can't be shaken loose, they can't be put away in wait.
Truly enlightening, lifting the veil kind of information. But what I actually gleaned from the conversation is that journals are, in fact, bullshit.
This was last week. Believing this truth, I stopped writing in my journal-- I actually threw my journal away. After being a steady journal writer since I was eight-years-old, I stopped.
It felt okay. I guess. It felt like the same jumbled anxiety that has been my normal state for the last 2 1/2 years. okay.
But last night, the gods must have been creeping through my dreams because I woke up this morning to an epiphany: I need a space for my bullshit.
Fact of the matter is, there is so much bullshit, so much chronicling of minutia in my mind, that if i don't stick it somewhere, the bullshit becomes fully animated, stomping around my skull in beatle boots, creating muck of my brain. so here I am-- back to the bullshit.
But also back to fiction.
And don't think these two things are not synonymous. When I quit writing fiction 2 1/2 years ago, and transitioned back into poetry, it was the beginning of when my pressure of chronicling began it's beating to the summit of my psyche. My journal writing changed. No longer a place to store bullshit, it became the bullshit itself: a space of obsessive lists and behaviors. It was the self under a microscope, a complete dissection of the spirit. ugh.
But thanks to Steven King (and Ira Levin too, actually) some stupid stone got kicked against the wall of my skull, and startled me back into the singular, cutting out the fascination that the distraction of bullshit can bring.