Notes to catch up on, and other directions pushing and pulling this morning. On a fast, for I believe 16 hours. For no other reason than discipline. Last night the discussion with students on Wright’s Black Boy coerced me to re-think memoir, to rethink writing in its principle territory. Writing, especially memoir or personal essay, or “creative nonfiction” a genre or type tag that I frankly loathe as what nonfiction isn’t in some degree and walk creative?—Demands more honestly. More boldness, more rawness and the moment itself in all its obtrusiveness and oscillation of concentration and code.
People walk into the room, this breakroom, I think new hires as I’ve never seen them before. Or– Friend Taj walks in. I tell him what I’m writing about more or less and what we spoke of last night in class on Wright. The Human dimension and collection of facets, emotions, observations. I tell him about the student last night who said he can’t relate to the characters in the book as he didn’t live as they did, or didn’t see what they saw. I disclose to Taj how I asked the student “Do you love anything?…Have you ever felt pain?…Do you have a mother?” The student I think felt a bit overwhelmed or confused maybe by my response, but I stood by my point and I at least wanted him to consider it. Taj sees where I’m going with the thought framing and delivery. He’s since left the room, after getting his tea. Now a lady makes coffee or something from one of the machines, and I think fixes it or installs a new filter, something.
I’d be not much a memoirist or narrator if I didn’t put to page I was again sparring, fencing, or just plain boxing with a mood this morning. Similar to the one I felt yesterday before the Pinballing piece, and very akin to what was over me last week. And, honestly, I’m bored of feeling like that. I need Newness. I need be crazy and more wild and flight-prone. Just taking off and not asking permission from any control tower. The JPR project here at work very much was not so much a cause of the mood but a set presence in the mood’s movement. I stop it all, taking this 30 minutes or so to this seat, these keys, going over in head what was discusses last night, and that one student, AGAIN, reading for class and having us wanting more of the words, more story, wherever it was going. And that’s just it, he had us not knowing but wanting to know. There was not so much excitement but obvious atmosphere and personality in the characters and what they may have been doing, or not doing. This student not only shows promise as a memoirist, essayist, but as a teller, narrator, truth-teller.
Now, I plan the day. This fast I’m on, what notes I have to input, and how the book’s going to tell EVERYTHING.
-Coffee cooling in old tumbler, black, bought as xmas present
-More people walk in for either eats or free coffee—eats, as I can’t see them, obstructed by newly-built wall which denies view of fridges
-Me, Mike Madigan, only one in here, certainly the only one writing memoir, story, any poetic effort to capture a Now
-No more oscillation, new code
-Sip coffee again