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Public and Private Writing

I notice that lots of folks describe their LiveJournals as something they do for themselves; that what they write in them they write for their own benefit; not caring, so they say, whether anyone else even reads what they write. This strikes me as a pretty good attitude to take, but I don't take it myself. The things I post here I mean for folks to read. I have another journal that I keep just for my own benefit.

Every morning, as per the prescription of creativity guru Julia Cameron, I write three pages by hand in a hardcover journal. Having done this for years, I now have a whole shelf of books I've filled with whatever comes spilling out of my freshly rested brain. I used to write pretty coherently when completing my "morning pages," but over the last couple of years, I've drifted more and more into automatic gibberish transcription mode. I'll give you a sample:

22 January 2001 (excerpt)

Chase me. Place me. Tag along and grate grave and game plan placard on a pile of passion in the heart of hamby panky mamby stanky.

Grief and grime, hearth of crime, spill my guts upon the time of day when the shots pierce the ear with their rapport. Plan a party and please the puppet pink paddy pork. Amen.

Ideally, I complete my morning pages in bed as soon as I wake up. That doesn't always happen, and the longer I wait, the more self-conscious and coherent the writing becomes. For example, compare the excerpt above with an entry I made a few weeks later while sitting on the couch in the living room after having spent some time awake and drinking coffee.

14 Feb 2001

Logan's Buddhist Birthday

Logan came into being as a living, growing entity roughly one year ago, so we've decided to celebrate his Buddhist Birthday today. The celebration will remain a subdued one this year, but we can expand on it in years to come.

C-day. Conception day.

Create a cowboy basin in your bath.

Logan may not let me write much more. Lara has left the room and he's starting to fuss. Okay, time to pick up the baby and read to him from "Tomorrow's Children" by Riane Eisler.

I didn't read to the boy. I got him on my lap in the reading position, and then his mother came into the room and offered to breast feed him. I wouldn't pass up that opportunity. So, now I have a few minutes in which to write. What's my goal? Just to have words flowing from my brain into the world of publicly accessible objects and experiences. Where the waters wander, there too skates the scrubber.

Of the things I think about, the oldest agents are according to my creative contrast, the caliber of corn on a cloudy day. Drive me and deride me. Mate with movement. March on the outgoing express.

Lara, made up for work, presents her beautiful profile to me. Her fingers raking her hair from her face, her head cocked to the right. Logan suckles from her right breast, and I can hear the heater in the wall kicking warm air into the room.

What else can I notice about this moment? The creases in the couch leather, my stomach and the slight pain I feel there.

I think a good way to get both Lara and I focused on productive work would be for me to unilaterally stop smoking pot. I'll do that when?

I can feel Lara's hand on my left ankle. I just stopped writing to tell her how beautiful she looks. How could I have landed a beautiful, brilliant, creative, hyper-sexual woman who digs women and who, best of all, absolutely adores me?

I found her. It amazes me now that we sat next to each other for so long without much interaction. Basically, the year I spent with Soyon, Lara sat next to me at work. What a year! What a jewel in the turban through a long hard journey, with riches so close at hand, so available and ready but outside of my awareness. Change. Challenge. Humility. Humility. Remain, regard, release. Repent. Reflect. React. Retrace. Reactivate. Reproduce. Reinforce. Reduce. Require. Reflex. Okay, that's enough re's. Just 2 pages today. Not a time for loquaciousness.

I do all of my public writing in E-Prime, but I don't hold myself to that standard when I do my morning pages. I use the morning pages to let anything and everything pour out as it will, but even so, sometimes I notice myself using some form of "to be" in my morning writing. When I do, I usually finish the sentence as it spontaneously forms itself and then immediately repeat it in E-Prime.

29 December 2000 (excerpt)

We went to the big grocery store in Poulsbo last night. We took the boy in the sling. He kept quiet. Awake and alert at first, all that walking put him to sleep fairly quickly. There were lots of people there with children. Lots of people had children with them. Some babies, some slightly older. None as small or as adorable as Logan.

Sometimes I fall into a particular rhythm as I write and my non-sense flows out in verse. Sometimes, it almost makes sense.

25 April 2001 (excerpt)

A passion, a principle, a token of taste. A sacrifice, a sister, a thing out of place. A gelatinous resin, a particular passion, a famous obsession. A kind of kid heaven. Of what and in what and of how and of why, the miraculous mission of the most humble guy. Take pain, and take pleasure, turn fame into fortune, resist every measure to listen and worry.

Prepare and parade. Unknown and afraid. Request a kiss from the Goddess of love. Return and revert to a stone's throw above. Excite a commitment. Resort to a tower. Require a tablet in this final hour. Remain in the window. Reflect on the path. Improve your results and make this your task. Write, my friend, as the good spirit moves you. Rewrite and refine till the cadence does sooth you.

There exists on a mountain a monk with no name. He parties with pigeons, he takes much cocaine. He pleasures his senses, he dabbles with drugs that tap into a collective unconscious above, and as the systemic relation comes back, it's certain to satisfy every one of your tacks.

Oh and remember, the measure of man remains his obsession with hours of sand falling from one chamber above to another below, or ticks on a timer that cause the whistle to blow. He examines his instincts, he resorts to his measure of malice and magic and another on task. His motion remains, his mother united, the right and the sound of one who's excited to learn.

I have more to say on this topic, but the hour grows late and I still have a comic to complete. I could even do two comics tonight and get caught up. Unlikely.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2001 03:30 pm (UTC)
would eprime inlude not using "like" for obvious simile as well, for example, would:

"he lies like a dog"

need to become:

"sometimes he tells the lies a dog would tell."

Apr. 27th, 2001 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: eprime
Hey St. Monkey,

No, I don't know of any interpretation of e' that would ban the use of similes. Why do you ask? Do you think that the statement, "He lies like a dog," implies that he IS dog-like in his behavior, i.e. he possesses the non-material quality of BEING dog-like?

It strikes me that one could paraphrase any e’ statement so that it seems to ascribe spooky Aristotelean essences to an entity or object.

Also, when practiced with consciousness of purpose rather than with an automatic rule-following mentality, e' doesn't even proscribe all uses of the verb "to be."

Gerands, for example, seem, at first glance, to violate e', eg "He IS running for office," "She WAS thinking about sex," but if you think about the reason for adopting e' you will realize that these sentences describe actions rather than ascribe essences.

I call using E-Prime with consciousness intent, rather than in an unthinking rule-based mode, "C-Prime." C-Prime (the name of my incipient new website) implies taking responsibility for the judgments we make rather than succumbing to the ever-present temptation to report our judgments and opinions as facts about the world.


English: "Your position on X is morally wrong."

E-Prime: "Your position on X violates common moral principles."

C-Prime: "Your position on X runs counter to my own moral standards."

Or, more simply, "I disagree with you about X."
Apr. 29th, 2001 10:49 am (UTC)
Re: eprime
yeah, you got it in one, to me the reason for excluding "is" in certain contexts seemed to naturally include that type of "like" simile. It seemed to me, when reading about e-prime, that is, that the use of "like" is a soft use of "is." You make an analogy that reflects your subject in a certain negative light.

I am for this e-prime, now that i've thought about it, any negatives that i saw are far outweighed by the fact that people have to think about what they say. But I don't think i will be a very good practitioner, i can not censor myself very well.

May. 1st, 2001 04:32 am (UTC)
Completely off topic
Came across your journal through the Libertarian community. Do you mind if I add you to my friends list?
May. 1st, 2001 02:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Completely off topic
Please do. I hope LiveJournal etiquette doesn't require asking permission before adding folks to your friends list. I've been adding people whose work I want to read without asking their permission first.

I take your request as a compliment and a curtesy. Thanks, Nick.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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