I am still working on two projects, switching back and forth when one gets to be too much. One is just starting, and the other is getting close to 100,000 words, but is still very vague in its overall structure. That’s keeping me busy, but it’s also taking all of my time, which is why I haven’t been updating much.
I have been obsessed with the movie Eraserhead for the last few days. This started because I went to Amoeba records this weekend, which is my favorite record store, although I usually associate the name with their big store in Hollywood, because it is the record store in LA. I don’t go record shopping anymore, and buy everything from iTunes, which I don’t tell musicians, because that’s sort of like telling old people about Obama. But I used to love going to record stores, and walking the racks from A to Z, looking for stuff I hadn’t seen elsewhere, rarities and imports and bootlegs and whatever other oddball stuff I could find in the wild. And Amoeba is a cool store, a wide selection with a lot of unique stuff and a cool staff, so I grabbed a few things I hadn’t seen lately.
One of the things was the soundtrack to Eraserhead, which is this twisted combination of ambient noise, wind sounds and radiator hissing and layer after layer of dialogue and dirge and destruction. It’s the perfect writing music, because it’s ambient, but isn’t new-agey and won’t put you to sleep. The only problem with it is that it pulls me down this rabbit hole where I need to watch the movie again, need to read all of these articles and interviews and find out what was in Lynch’s head as he put this whole thing together, and it’s an unanswerable question. I can’t even find the real script, which is some 20-page oddity, a prose poem with weird drawings all over it. But I find too many articles about the movie, and they keep me diving through the internet, coming up with more questions.
One of the things I wonder about with Eraserhead is if it’s possible to write such a minimalist surreal work in print. My writing tends to be the opposite, long sentences with lots of twists and turns and terminology, very manic and frenetic. I don’t even know if I could write something so subdued. But I wonder if it would even work without the film element or the soundtrack, just the text itself.
Music makes me think the same thing, because I listen to a lot of drone music, stuff like Boris or Sleep, where the same riff or guitar feedback is sustained or repeated over and over, building this long-form sonic texture. I don’t know the literary equivalent of doing that, because if I just repeated the same text over and over, it would get stupid fast.
Nothing else to report. I’m trying to cram in as much writing as possible before a flurry of appointments and travel and other distractions come up in the next couple of months. I’m also getting close to the book purchase lockdown that I have to enact before the holidays so I don’t buy duplicates of gifts. That means I’m buying too many things now, and I have a stack of reading taller than me. What about you?