Monday

Listening: Ólafur Arnalds, Island Songs

Reading: Annie Dillard, For the Time Being

This week is starting with a clear blue sky. Steam curls up from the columns of Columbia University Medical Center and New York Presbyterian, stark white against the blue, as I look out across my fire escape during another morning full of emails and organization. This weekend I had the apartment to myself and was temporarily knocked out by a surprisingly strong cold, so I had a lot of time to stare at the wall with a strong cup of lemon and ginger and think. 

As of last night, I've landed on a strong direction for my more outward-facing website. I'm excited to get started building the platform and continue to develop ideas for material and collaborative writing possibilities. I also found and leafed through a few guides to approaching traumatic memory from memoir writers. All this as research for the presentation in two weeks. It's time to start putting it all together into something I can bring into the world, pour out the ideas that have been percolating. 

Issues of craft and process still fully occupy my writing headspace. I probe myself with questions and poke holes in my own ideas until I goad myself into choosing not to write. The advice I've found out there for this issue tends to suggest separation from yourself: tending to your "artist self" or "creative self", dividing yourself between "writer" and "editor" to put off the critical thinking, temporarily (or, in elated can-do rhetoric, permanently) suspending judgment by imagining the productive part of you as a child. I don't know for sure, but I think these methods don't work well for me because I don't happen to have a strong sense of empathy for myself as a child. For some reason, I have a hard time feeling protective or even cherishing towards a conjured image of my younger self. I also don't like schemata that attempt to disintegrate or re-order my personality, even for strategic benefit. Dividing my writer and editor, my creative self and my critical self, my outer adult and an imagined inner child doesn't make sense to me. It's difficult enough to smooth myself into all the varied grooves that I'm obligated to fit into on a daily basis; even for the purposes of an experiment, performing further psychological segmentation on myself just doesn't feel good. The real challenge is not how to artificially delegate tasks onto different "parts" of me, but how to empty out the hidden pockets of accumulated knowledge and integrate them with the whole into something new. 

Now, to write what I need to write.