“It all means little, all the painting, sculpture, drawing, writing … it all has its place and nothing more. An attempt is everything. How marvellous!” – Alberto Giacometti.
Make the attempt.
This is today’s prompt from Monica Wood’s gorgeous, helpful little bible, The Pocket Muse. There is a stack of writing prompt books on the left-hand side of my writing desk, and they teeter. I cycle through these books – I do a different exercise each day, I use the words in these books as a way in to my writing, or to provide a new angle on my thoughts. Often the trick to writing an interesting, engaging, outward-looking piece lies in finding the right lens through which to view the content, and these books help me do that.
This morning I received a call from the program director of the Honours program I’m starting next week (holy hell, next week!), asking if I’d be at orientation and checking that I know where I need to go for it. I picked up the letter I received last week and double-check the address. The buildings of RMIT are familiar to me, but room numbers and wings get lost in the between-semester fog of my brain. I assured the program director that I’d find it, and see him then. This thing is real.
Last week, I had coffee with a kind and incomparably thoughtful food-loving friend. I’d shared with her the exciting news that I’d found an area of study for my Honours work – I’ll be writing about food. As a fantastic foodie, she provided me with a reading list. I now have in my possession the bag that she used to transport materials while writing her own thesis. I feel lucky to have it, for however short a time it takes me to get through the books it contains.
It’s a dark blue-green, the same kind of dark that stylish suede sofas are, and it’s lined with colourful printed silk. It’s so well-loved that one handle is torn and starting to fray. It’s a strong bag though, and it carries things that are useful to me. The bag itself is a reassurance that thesis-writing can be done. Honours and Masters courses can be completed. I’ll need to invest in a bag like this for my own material-toting.
(Current tote bag choices include Sookie Stackhouse final book promo, Text Classic promo, MWF/Dymocks promo and RMIT graduation bag. I might have to find something less overtly promotional.)
I’ve been trying to think my way into a question, considering things with my brain. However, today’s writing prompt quote has reminded me to try something different: writing my way into a question. This method has proven useful before. There’s a point where you over-research or over-think, until the idea loses its appeal. Instead, writing into the magic of what you’re passionate about means that you stumble upon what needs to be researched as road-blocks to your words. You write a bit, then encounter a road-block, then research, then write it in. Repeat ad infinitum.
So I’ve been writing about what it is about food that interests me, trying to write into any contradictions or uncomfortable parts of that story.
This tandem approach works best for me: reading and writing and reading and writing and eating a lot and writing. It’s the increased amount of doing in this approach that does it – and the changing nature of the doing at all times. It’s an attempt, a constant and unending and uninhibited attempt, and that is everything.