The Stretch

22 01 2011

I started reading Gravity’s Rainbow last night: 700 plus pages of dense modern English, where every paragraph is a poem, and every line a segment of code that demands every synapse available to decode it. Pynchon’s writing reminds me of Rushdie, Midnight’s Children in particular. Thus, I know it will take an overwhelming commitment to make it all the way through, like all novels of this opus, but fifty pages in and I am already infected, so I am cool being in bed with this one for a while.

Earlier, I referred to blogging as yoga for my work ethic, as a slow and meditative training to restore and realign my mind and body, writing-wise. I would like to suggest another fitness analogy, one that came to me as I was not even to the final resting pose of my last proclamation. Seeing as how the ultimate goal of all my verbal jockeying is a work of longer breadth and deeper magnitude (read: screenplay/novel hybrid), blasting out short, pithy blogs is akin to running sprints when training for a marathon. It may be the same activity, but the approach is vastly different. Here I insert a small amount of assumption; for, I have never run or prepared for a marathon, but in my scholastic days I ran sprints for days. They both require the runner to subject himself to pain; yet, one is clearly extended out over longer periods, progressively so until the full segment is completed, while the other still revolves around short bursts of activity, however many of those bursts you chose to subject yourself to in a sitting, so to speak.

As agave can do the job but will never as good as sugar (although not in the case of margaritas), there can be no substitute for the real thing. Maintaining a running narrative 500 words at a time every day does not empower someone with the skills to complete a novel, let alone a novel that’s readable, just as someone who runs a 10 k everyday may not necessarily own it when it comes to a marathon, but they are great skills to have, experience to fall back on, and while blogs may not be novel quality writing, ever, the practice of doing it every day is quintessential to your discipline.

I laid awake for awhile after putting the book down, but it was not due to the lusty, supernatural intrigue of the introduction: I found I was completely shellshocked by Pynchon’s ability to keep up the pace for over 700 pages. If reading takes an overwhelming commitment, what kind of demonic possession does it take to actually write a novel of this scope?!




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