Residual thoughts from the past weeks and the present; Also, favourite thoughts on writing from famous writers

I’ve neglected my personal writing for some weeks now since I caught the dengue virus, damn that mosquito. I’m behind on a playlist and a track review for my music blog commitments (frustrating!), apart from my own.

I refrain from streaming a lot of Bandcamp music at work because of the large bandwidth I use, but will definitely try to find some new music once in a while. In the last few weeks, I only updated my iPod’s library with a couple of albums from Minus the Bear and Bombay Bicycle Club. I can’t even find the time to type in my own computer, and I have been meaning to start learning how to use Garageband for all of two months since I bought my laptop, which also reminds me that it doesn’t have Microsoft Office programs installed yet. I must get on with that – quickly.

I get tired faster than usual since I got sick so I spend most of my time lax. Lax, though, does not mean sleeping. I try to sneak a couple of naps every now and then, but my consciousness wanders and steals away the time, so I’m awake for mostly 19 to 20 hours on weekdays. Thank goodness my new job allows me to tweak my schedule so I can have a four-day work week. But for now, I wanted to earn back the six days I lost due to my sick leave. That’s roughly seven thousand pesos, noh!

It’s already Friday early morning and I have it and the entire weekend dedicated to myself. That means gigs. God knows how much I need that adrenaline in my system and I miss my friends as well.

Right now, I finished my work and planning to do some more if my brain permits (okay, I want to sleep).  I’m just having a mental break from all the news writing and read stuff on the Internet, which is what this blog entry’s supposed to be about.

I just have to include this photo of Ernest Hemingway and his cat (Photo from http://www.brainpickings.org/)

I’m reading this Brain Pickings article on writers’ daily routines. Susan Sontag said something in a Paris Review interview that applies to myself as well:

“I write in spurts. I write when I have to because the pressure builds up and I feel enough confidence that something has matured in my head and I can write it down. But once something is really under way, I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t go out, much of the time I forget to eat, I sleep very little. It’s a very undisciplined way of working and makes me not very prolific. But I’m too interested in many other things.”

Another set of brilliant thoughts came from Henry Miller. He listed down 11 commandments of writing:

“MORNINGS:

If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.

If in fine fettle, write.

AFTERNOONS:

Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.

EVENINGS:

See friends. Read in cafés.

Explore unfamiliar sections — on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.

Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program.

Paint if empty or tired.

Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.”

A particular quote from Haruki Murakami also stuck to mind:

“I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.

Lastly, from Kurt Vonnegut:

“In an unmoored life like mine, sleep and hunger and work arrange themselves to suit themselves, without consulting me. I’m just as glad they haven’t consulted me about the tiresome details. What they have worked out is this: I awake at 5:30, work until 8:00, eat breakfast at home, work until 10:00, walk a few blocks into town, do errands, go to the nearby municipal swimming pool, which I have all to myself, and swim for half an hour, return home at 11:45, read the mail, eat lunch at noon. In the afternoon I do schoolwork, either teach or prepare. When I get home from school at about 5:30, I numb my twanging intellect with several belts of Scotch and water ($5.00/fifth at the State Liquor store, the only liquor store in town. There are loads of bars, though.), cook supper, read and listen to jazz (lots of good music on the radio here), slip off to sleep at ten. I do pushups and sit-ups all the time, and feel as though I am getting lean and sinewy, but maybe not. Last night, time and my body decided to take me to the movies. I saw The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which I took very hard. To an unmoored, middle-aged man like myself, it was heart-breaking. That’s all right. I like to have my heart broken.

I like to have my heart broken. To Vonnegut and the world, I say this without irony, “How inspiring.”

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