mad in pursuit notebook

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

 

Dangling, A Little

My big project finished for the moment, I'm launching headlong into another -- maybe a couple. But I'm in the airy transition zone -- knees hanging on to one trapeze, arms reaching for the next, thinking that the net is far away but kind of cozy looking.

Two possible projects are in the "why did I think this was a good idea?" phase.

First, I want to get another audio program done for :Vocalo before the year ends. The idea I'm trying to pump life into requires some really good writing, but it isn't coming.

Second, I'm working on the non-fiction counterpart to "Passion and Peril," the travel memoir mentioned last week. The novel was a "get it done" type of project -- basically already complete except for some polishing up and laying out. It reflects who I was in the early nineties, whatever I thought was exciting, romantic, sexy, chilling, intriguing, etc.

Turning my "Outta Control" (working title) into a genuine memoir feels more serious. We traveled to Central Asia in 1992. I wrote my web chronicles around 2000. It represented 8 years of percolation. Now another 8 years have passed. Who am I now? What does that wild, wild journey mean to me now? I can see now how it was a turning point for us: before the trip we were each staunchly single; a couple months after the trip, we decided to get married. I hadn't seen that so clearly before.

Virginia Woolf said that "life is a bowl which one fills and fills and fills" -- each new experience is added to the existing ones and displaces them slightly and alters their previous meaning by forcing them into new combinations. The present moment is enriched by the past but the past is also enriched by the present. The trick to memoirs is "to make them include the present -- or at least enough of the present to serve as a platform to stand upon... to make the two people, I now, I then, come out in contrast... What I write today I should not write in a year's time."

So, I'm rethinking. By chance last night I listened to an Oprah podcast where O. interviewed Maria Coffey, author of "Explorers of the Infinite." Why do extreme mountaineers and adventurers take such risks and endure such suffering? She looks through the "craziness" into the spiritual awakening. Jim and I did not do an "extreme" adventure, but I like to think it was "extreme enough." I downloaded the book to read.

12.2.2008

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Passion And Peril

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