Selections from The Green Journal

April 1, 2014

It's been a topsy turvy day, awake at midnight on my birthday, out watching the new Wes Anderson movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a convoluted story of the kind I set out to write back in Guatemala when I became fascinated with an old white hotel ruin on the shores of Livingston. (Was the name really The Hotel Flamingo, or did I make that up, or am I remembering it wrong?)  If only I wouldn't have taken myself so seriously, maybe it would have worked out.

I was reading Jorge Amado's Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands and was under it's intoxicating spell, but once I finished and moved onto other writers, the voice I was using to write The Grand Flamingo Hotel faded and so did the story, since the stories I was writing weren't really stories, but explorations of voices, tendrils that sprouted from the books I read.

I've spent the last two days reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, losing myself in the story of how she found herself on the Pacific Crest Trail.  I am impressed with how unimpressed she is with herself.  One moment she says she is beautiful, the next, a gargoyle.  I am impressed with how she is able to control her mind, convincing herself that she is not afraid until she isn't.

Why does she never in 315 pages refer to the act of writing on the trail?  She repeatedly mentions the books she carries, tearing them apart and burning the sections she's read in order to lighten her load. Only twice does she mention the oversized journal she carries.  But never do we see her writing, unimpressed with that part of herself too.  She writes because she does, and that's all that needs to be said about that.

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