Would it be possible to write about a different aspect of a very specific topic every single day? I tried it before a couple of times with very unsatisfying results. One time I decided to write about bananas every day for a week. I think I managed two days. A poem and something else. Another time it was squirrels. Maybe it was three days, consecutive. Squirrels have popped up in this blog many other times. I have no specific obsession with squirrels, I just see them every day and have grown quite fond of them. The way they move is a testament to the beauty of nature, as if one were needed.
Someone said something like, the smaller the canvas the greater the art needs to be to fill it. I don't know who. And many others have remarked that rules and limitations, structure, can lead to greater creativity than absolute freedom does. How many fourteen-year olds wrote like Anne Frank. To my shame I've never read her diary. And as a fourteen-year old I did nothing of any worth. Just sulking, smoking and listening to loud music. I wasn't even reading The Outsider or The Catcher in the Rye like I should have been.
I've just finininininininished reading Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. Like everything else I've read by him it was amazing, and intimidating but also instructional. His article 'Not Chasing Amy' about minimalism and the short story writer Amy Hempel remains the single best piece of writing about writing I have ever read. Minimalism. Restraint. Using simplicity to wield extraordinary power. Quite the opposite, it seems to me, of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, which I have again faltered into. My place is marked so I can return to it, as though it is made up of particularly challenging episodes in a series I can't really get into, but want to because of its stature.
But now I am off to try Thomas Pynchon for the first time, starting with Mason & Dixon. The dust jacket promises a talking dog and a robot duck along with its Age of Reason-era American historical-fiction. I'm excited to get started, but the fact that it is a nearly-800 page hardback, weighty enough to crack skulls if swung just so, makes me concerned about my hands, wrists and forearms, and the punishment they will take just holding the bloody thing. Give me paperback any day.