Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thousand explained some more

So far I have three tags for this blog, two of them are related to the ongoing “Thousand” project: thousand and thousand process

Thousand Process is the tag for posts like the very one you’re reading.

I just reread the process posts for myself. Not much has changed, even though I wrote the last more than two months ago. Writing 100 words a day is sometimes easy, sometimes difficult. It’s been at its most difficult when my husband Kent has been in the hospital or just home. That’s when I was so tired I could barely concentrate.

I began “Thousand” after Kent was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer. “Thousand” was to give me a practice demanding attention that had nothing to do with household tasks or medical procedures. I needed a distraction, a distraction that was also art, a distraction that would be an ambition – a 100,00 word prose work. Call it a novel? An improvisation?

My stepmother Jan was diagnosed with cancer this spring also. We went from accepting her sympathy over Kent’s diagnosis to expressing concern over hers. Jan’s disease was frighteningly far advanced, we learned. An obituary for Jan was published in the Anchorage Daily News this week. Two others I know faced cancer diagnoses this year. 2010 has been a year.

“Thousand” has been a helpful chore. I don’t know where it’s going, but it’s going somewhere with me. Having the sense that one is moving forward is a good sense. Even if the progress is on something as weird as a plotless hunk of prose and the progress consists of slapping a bit more prose on it.

When my brother David was here for a visit and I sat down to write my “Thousand” piece for the day he was surprised to see me stop writing and erase every word I’d written past one hundred. The work that appears on the blog is not written ahead of time. I write it. I post it immediately after writing it. This is not to say the posts go up completely first draft. I write, read the work over, revise (occasionally extensively), reread until it works for me, then post. But I do not write ahead.

David said he knew other people who were doing long projects but they produce a lot during short periods then parcel the work out over time on their blogs. I can’t work that way. Not to say Never. But the point of “Thousand” is the process. A product is created, yes, and that’s not incidental, but the work is not the result but the living it.

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