For The Glory & Fun Of It

by jkatejohnston

4 March 2014

Dear Max,

One of my lawyer pals told me I’m the most disciplined person she knows, and it sounded so grim. I don’t think I approve of discipline. I approve of habit, and if you can hitch a good habit (writing) to a bad one (too much coffee), at least you’re breaking even. I approve of morning and snacks. I guess I approve of work, but if there’s no joy in it, what’s even the point?

All this brought on because I miss my diary, my own true love. Not writing it is a different way to move through the world. I still take my notes, but less alertly, and then too much time passes, and when I read the notes (if I even can read them) I often can’t catch the feeling again.

My attention is all taken up with my crime story. It holds my interest. It’s a writing problem. It’s pretty fun, especially the time I spend fantasizing about who’s going to play me in the TV series and how much weight they would have to gain: (Stockard Channing; twenty pounds, though she is, I’m delighted to say, a little old for the part.)

A few weeks ago I read an essay by Annie Dillard, and she said something that seemed right, and it intimidated the shit out of me.

Writing a book is like rearing children—willpower has very little to do with it. If you have a little baby crying in the middle of the night, and if you depend only on willpower to get you out of bed to feed the baby, that baby will starve. You do it out of love. Willpower is a weak idea; love is strong. (Annie Dillard, To Fashion A Text, printed in the anthology Inventing The Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir by William Zinsser 59.)

So I’m not sure I have enough love for my mystery, but can’t think of any way to find out except to find out what happens next and then next after that and finish it. It’s going to take a long time, like more than a year.

*

Anyway, here are some diary notes from my phone, all Enzo-isms, natch:

 

“You are disturbing my peace. Would you like to just relax sometime?”

*

We made pizzas, small ones, each our own. “Pizza’s done. It may be small, but makes up for it in toxicity.”

*

 “If you want to make a successful not-dying situation, then you have to bend your legs a little. That’s the reason I actually jump from huge heights that I could someday get killed by—for the glory and fun of it.”

*

Enzo waking up: “Let’s get this hustle up grubbin”

“What?”

“It’s lingo. Grownups can never understand.”

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