Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bestial wail

(Click on the graphic to enlarge: Things to Say During Sex)

"I'm not another forget-me-not in a field full of daisies. The first step--especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money-- the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you d e m a n d to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art."

--Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club is one of my favorite books (and movies) of all time. Chuck's a Pac Northwesterner and has since moved to another city, but used to work out a my gym. I never spoke to him, just watched him from afar, in awe, while he rowed rhythmically or worked with a trainer. I also saw him speak several years ago at a professional communicator's group I attended. Of course he had lots to say, but the one thing I remember the most was his advice for fueling the creative mind. "Turn it off," he said. "If you want to be a good writer, turn it all off. Turn off the noise. Go outside. Build a stone wall. Make things with your hands. Use your muscles."

I was thinking about all of that at the gym this morning. I went for a run and then went to a new "yoga for runners" class. I was feeling rather giddy about the opportunity to walk out the door for a couple of hours and let my mind roam. My stories tend to write themselves when my body is moving and my mind is along for the ride. Once at the gym, I stripped out of cold weather running clothes down to my little yoga outfit (skull print spandex and stretchy pants!) walked into the room and panicked. The room was packed. I ended up right in front. And I suddenly remembered I'd forgotten to shave my arm pits. Like a freaking fool, I obsessed over my hairy armpits the entire session. My brain was frozen. I imagined the hair creeping down my sides and crawling along the floor and wrapping around people's ankles while they teetered in their balance poses. When I got home and flung my arms in the air in the bathroom, nothing. Not even any cute stubble. Lesson learned! Who the fuck cares!

So much for that. Now I am obsessing over all the things I might do with Meyer Lemons. I invented a blackberry lemon tart with my own miracle crust. It's still in the oven....hope it comes out as good as one of Maury Rubin's -- I certainly subscribe to his philosophy -- I like to get my hands dirty. I didn't see the Infant Jesus of Prague in my dough, but I'm pretty sure I saw Pinocchio's nose. I hope that's a good sign.

You don't need a food processor or even a mixer. You're not scrutinizing your dough, hoping to see what looks like snowy peas or barley or the Infant Jesus of Prague. You don't have to worry about overworking the dough because even if you knead it and slap it and press into it to patch up some torn spots, it turns out great.

I'm a fan of the bestial wail. I'm glad it's on the good side. (Graphic above). Unfortunately, I'm also a fan of yabba dabba do. Oh well!


Craig Sorensen said...

Sadly, I haven't read Fight Club but I'm a fan of the movie, and keep vowing some day to read the book.

I agree with stepping away from the act of writing. Let it go. It's an idea I've been kicking around in my head for a blog for some time now. I may have to be a poseur and post my thoughts sometime soon.

Then you can stop by my blog and say "copycat!"

Kirsten Monroe said...

Good morning Craig!

Chuck told us at that meeting that he wrote most of Fight Club under a truck when he was doing technical writing for Freightliner. He had no time to write then, but the words just kept coming, so he found ways to get them on paper. He talked about turning off the television and the computer and even music and letting everything go silent....maybe the bamboo chimes are OK :)I tell my boys that boredom is just what happens right before your brain does something amazing. They have a fit when I say that, but it's true! When the video games, etc. are off, they do cool things with cardboard boxes and make up crazy tag games in the woods and read and draw.

I can almost guarantee that you will absolutely love Fight Club. The movie is great, but there's magic in the writing. The way it's written will turn you inside out.

I want to see your new blog! No way Craig, Craigster, the Craigmaster, Craig-a-licious could ever be a copycat.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Tart update: OMG the blackberry tart made my boys smack their lips and make all the right nummy noises.

I don't know why I feel compelled to share, but the crust was 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 stick butter, 2 T. olive oil, sprinkling of kosher salt, 1 T. heavy whipping cream, lemon zest. "Crumb" the dry ingredients with the oils, then ad the zest and cream. Press the dough into a tart crust and top with 2 cups of frozen blackberries. Sprinkle with sugar and spices and a little flour. Top with four or five very thin meyer lemon slices. (Remove slices before serving).

Serve hot on a cold night with the best vanilla ice cream you can get your hands on.

Neve Black said...

LOL, Kirsten!

When I lived in Seattle, I attened a writer's conference. Damned if I can recall the name of the conference - but anyway Chuck Palahniuk was a guest speaker. This was several years after Fight Club had come out- love the was so well casted.

I did read the book after listening to him on that notorious, rainy Saturday afternoon. He was so easy and touchable. It appears he has had the same affect on you also.

Enjoy the discovery of all your new creations, K!

Nice post. As always. :-)

BadAssKona said...

Some of my best writing happens in a rush of energy. It just pours out, like an orgasm that's been building for days. And it happens when I least expect it, after things have reached a point of critical mass in my small brain. Down time, silent time, outwardly "unproductive" time is anything but....

Kirsten Monroe said...

Neve -- that's so cool. The casting is perfect in that movie, isn't it? Love Brad, but Marla's character. Wow! I thought Chuck was very approachable too, quietly strong and intensely passionate about life and exploration.

Hey BadAss Kona man -- for me it's a very slow build-up of thoughts and words, but it all plays out like a movie or theater -- actually, honestly, in the right side of my mind's eye, never the left. Sometimes I can see actual words and sometimes the characters and action being played out, but it's all there, on a reel, very visual and it really gets going when I'm outdoors. Funny how these things work.

Erobintica said...

Kirsten - you love Chuck too! I found him about the time Choke came out and then went to the library and read every book of his they had. They are all good - I love the way his mind works and how he uses words. His book of essays, Stranger Than Fiction is also a fave. I know if I ever get a chance to hear him read in person I'll just be a little melting fangirl. Hehehe.

Yeah, stepping away is always good. Often the most interesting ideas will come to me when I'm busy with something else. We turned our television off permanently a number of years ago - best decision ever.

I love the Things To Say During Sex - could spend way too much time following all the lines.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi Robin,

Cool! A Chuck fan club right here. Maybe he's reading. Hi Chuck! Well, maybe :)

Thanks for stopping by Robin!