Sunday, February 3, 2008

on writing on creating on lists

i was looking at my planner and saw a little note at the top of the week that says, djerassi. this is my system for applying for things. write it in the week before. i guess that's what i'll be working on, the application for the djerassi residency. a very prestigious AIR program. right now, i'm tempted to apply for the composition residency, mostly because they have a special scholarship in honor of a japanese american composer. but, i also think it would be good to work on "una corda" musical musings at this residency. so, composition, right?

this is the multi-disciplinary perennial problem. i COULD apply as a composer. i COULD apply as a writer. i COULD apply as a performer in the "new media" category. hell, i COULD apply as a visual artist, although my portfolio of visual art is, in my opinion, "meh" at best. and then their's the whole time issue. it's an application for next year. what WILL kt be doing in 2009?

yes, i'll still be working on the opera. of course. but there are other things. may i take this opportunity to delineate my other projects? thanks. i knew you would say yes.

firstly, i have three short stories in my head at the moment. one is about half written. it has taken me a full year to finally find the voice of the narrator. she's a jerk. and it's hard to let the jerk come through and still make her sympathetic. i put that story on hold because two other stories suddenly decided to burst forth from my fingertips about a month ago. rude, rude stories! i wish i could tell my ideas to WAIT IN LINE!

the second short story, i've written about a page, and the voice is just not quite right. it's also difficult because for some reason, my characters want to be set in places that i don't know very well. i mean, i've known these places as an interloper, but i am not native to them (whatever that means). so that's what i'm grappling with for that.

and the third story only recently began to haunt me. when i was in high school, i was in love with this woman who was five years older than me. (she was in mathematical education at a prestigious teachers' college in japan, i needed help in math.) it was such a sordid relationship, i often forget that it happened. anyway, memories of this woman sometimes come back to me, in jagged fragments. and just the other day, i suddenly remembered one thing she told me, "you know what you should REALLY do if you ever want revenge..." so this short story is about what she told me i should do. the funny thing is, her suggestion was quite innocuous, really. unless you know what kind of person this woman was...

three short stories. and that's not covering the "novel." ah, yes. the novel. she started as a short story. a poetic, brief short story. then i started writing it and realized that the main character refused to reveal herself unless i went deeper and deeper into her past. upon reading the first five pages of my short story, my writing buddy looked at me, cocked her head, bit her lip, and said, "this is too much for a short story." shit. a novel. a fucking novel. i did a lot of research sometime in late summer. historical research. and then i tried writing while i was researching and the voice changed too much. writing buddy said, you have to let it sink into your subconscious. let it sit for six months. so that's what i've been doing. over christmas, i found a pendant at a craft fair that had the name of my main character on it. i grabbed the pendant and as i went up to the cashier, wonderful partner said, "what's that?" i said, "it's for my character. to remind me that i am still writing a novel about her." the pendant is hooked on my computer screen.

that's the fiction. and the opera. then there's that damn mail art piece i started a year ago. i have a few postcards, finished but sitting in my office unsent. and i have about 30 names still to send things to. i love this piece a lot. the thing is, i can see it going unfinished for some time. because i can't ever really see it stop being relevant. and new creative people come into my life by the day. proliferating creative types! can't you just stop reproducing so that i can organize and control you!

hmm. then there are the other pieces. like this george bush piece i started in 2002. it's the ugliest piece of shit ever. i've embraced the ugliness, but it's still not quite done. i keep telling myself, just pour some lighter fluid on it and set fire to it. run over it with the car. let the dog chew on it. i'm sure if i did any of these things, i would feel like it's done. but do i?

there's that video piece that i'd really like to start working on with my very talented video artist/puppeteer friend. and then there's a cache of videos that my alter ego DJ KeN-bO did for me. i have about five more clips like that. and all i need to do is take two afternoons and edit them down.

i suppose i AM doing one piece rather religiously. that piece is "artist wins the lotto." even though i don't care whether or not i hit the lotto anymore. but that's interesting, too, right?

oh. and i have two piano pieces. one started as a mistake when i was trying to practice chopin in Robertson in 1996. the other. when did i start that one? well, it was when i first became fascinated with stacked open fifths, so let's venture a guess of.... 1997? 1998? i think i'd need a commission to finish them. as i've written before, i'm scared shitless to finish music i can play myself. nothing like a little cash to get the creative juices, uh, flowing. i could commission myself. but the opera's already tying up my funds.

and then other things. fragments, bits and pieces. little secrets and soliloquies and confessions. strewn about my office, in my journals, across the wrinkles of my frontal lobe. so i ask you, in 2009 what CAN i possibly do?

(the wise question would be: what can't i?)

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