Night's work done, time to have a glass of sake and decompress. I hate looking at old work. In fact, I rarely revise anything. Once I write something, I'm kind of creeped out by it and bored by it, and it's all so disappointing--improve it? How? Not because it's perfect, but because it's hopeless. I also get this weird feeling of "who wrote that?" as if someone else had taken over my mind and voice. So to avoid that, I rarely look at it at all.
Which makes an evening like this, once DD is in bed, dull and taxing, and more of it to come. I'm turning a series of old poems into a play in the hope that they can be useful somehow. On top of that, with our computer limping into senility, I now have to go through some 70,000 old emails, with all the mixed feelings that entails. I want to save some things, like emails from friends, those to my daughter from my mother, for instance.
Plus decide which poems, stories, outlines, drafts I need to save and keep somehow. Plus I guess I'm supposed to gather up things and try to publish them, but it's a horrible exercise--for all the reasons given, and larded with futility; publication is unlikely, even if publications themselves weren't keeling over daily.
I guess I should be glad that actual revising, cutting, pasting, tossing, changing--none of that is difficult. I don't have any sentimental attachment to what I've written. Maybe because I never feel like it's mine, like I really wrote it, anyway? And some 25 years of newspapering gets you used to being chopped up. This makes me unpopular in writing workshops, for instance, where I say unintentionally mean things like "you could just kill that middle section." Another side effect--if it's not from the past week or so, it's like I haven't written anything. I always hated it if I went for a week without my name on something new. A lot of poems I've just written on this blog, cold, and never looked at again. I'll have to sort through those and gather them up sometime, too, I know, I know. I know if I'm going to be a grownup writer, I'll have to show more respect for The Work, but it's a drag. I have so little time left, but even less time to waste in making excuses this way.
So going through old poems goes against my nature, but I know, even if it's to no use, it's something I'll have to learn to do, as a karmic exercise. It's just like sifting compost. I hope it will build up some muscles, at least.
Speaking of something new, the Post redesign--fail. Appalling in its willingness to scoop up scraps from other dying newspaper carcasses and paste them onto its thinning skin--an NYT logo here, a WSJ engraving there. It's like someone costumed out of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. And everywhere, column after column of underpaid people telling me I have to go out and buy overpriced vodka at some damn club. Glad the City Paper called them on their shit, but it's not like that's a hotbed of ingenuity either. Sigh. Nobody has any new ideas.
The crap happening with the LA Sheriff and TMZ is proof that the "new models" are no solution--unless you have a strongman with lots of money and lawyers sworn to watch your back, you'll be at the mercy of anyone who wants to sue, take your notes, whatever. Journalists at "new model" media will have to not only buy their own health insurance, but buy something akin to malpractice insurance, not to mention save up bail money.
Better drink up and clean the kitchen. Tomorrow: Write something new, even if it's just a wheeze of exhaust.