Aaron Cael

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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Bushman Lives. You Sit.

I was motivated to check just now and it has been 7 months since I last bothered to get anything up on Title of Magazine. It’s a site that has shrunk to a popular Twitter feed, now run by my dear friend Adam Orbit. For a long time, Title was my excuse to sit in the manner described by my lifelong favorite author Daniel Pinkwater in the (radio?) essay “And Zen I Wrote”. To surmount the problem of not being able to get started writing, Pinkwater reduced the assignment to simply sitting at a desk for an hour. Just sitting was enough. An accomplishment. There would, of course, be pencil and paper nearby and he would invariably get bored enough to start fooling around with them and inadvertently some writing would get done. After awhile, this one hour assignment would become two hours and on until eventually his body had learned the chief skill of any writer: sitting still long enough to bilge out the words to the page.

I’d love to offer a quote but my bookshelf lacks a copy of Fishwhistle at the moment. (Wasn’t aware until now that there’s a Fishwhistle restaurant down in Maryland)

Anyway, Title was my head-clearing/sit down for a bit and get started exercise for the better part of two years until it started becoming its own sort of work. A weird little beast. Since then, I’ve been retooling the whole song and dance around the act of sitting down and writing–different tools, routines, motivations, little games. Which loops back to Pinkwater again…

He’s serializing another novel, Bushman Lives! It’s a nice little motivating brain snack to sit down and read a chapter then get down to work. Doesn’t always go like that, what with the bottomless well of distraction that is sitting down to a computer but it’s something.


Not a whole lot of actual goddamn writing got done this weekend. More like digging around in what I had, getting reacquainted with some dirty corners of the narrative. Still, it’s work that needed to be done.

Googled up a solution to the Automator issue. Roughly: http://macs.about.com/od/usingyourmac/ss/Automate-Opening-Multiple-Applications-And-Folders_2.htm  Now to add that to the netbook so I can jump right into it.

Speaking of the Netbook, I’ve been taking it to work with me for the long commutes, especially the ferry. Fits about the same as a hardcover book so why not. Well, aside from needing to get through two hardcovers I’m trying to read right now. 1491 and American Gods.

Covered my desktop with paper so as to better write notes, inventories and to-dos. Looks the classier side of schizophrenic.

An idea that sprung upon me today: exploit the monkey-see/monkey-do wiring in the brain (mirroring neurons) by watching videos of behavior I want to emulate. Like sitting down at a desk and grinding it out. Rasterbated up a door sized image of Daniel Pinkwater at his typewriter. Not action packed enough, I think. Only found an active shot of Bukowski at his typewriter but a lifesize Bukowski in your room is a bit rough to look at every day, regardless of my admiration for his poems. Might be a cool idea for a project: taking portraits or videos of writers I admire at work, or even pretending to be.

Next up: assignments. Some sort of system for breaking down the tasks of filling out the first third of the novel and fleshing out some pieces that are sorta just assumed and left hanging. The Real Work of It.

Also: need more red wine. For motivation.

Also: get the website going. Use automation process for creating instant header images for posts from randoms craps I’ve got lying around. Crop, expand, filter, B&W then upload and open WordPress. Make it effortless and you might actually do it.


Worked (still working, actually) on the damn novel today for a few solid hours. Experimented with the sitting in a cafe full of other people typing on laptops thing. Went fairly well. This occurred at Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint. Pretty good ambiance. What it’s got over the library is better hours of operation, no children and an obligation to be constantly pouring caffeine down my gullet as the price of being there.

Mostly a meta day. Organizing notes, putting already written pieces together and stitching them together with words. Did a massive overhaul of where everything sits, creating a good number more folders. The idea is to make it seem less like a big heap of gibberish and more like a clean streamlined process, like on cooking shows where they have all their ingredients pre-chopped and sitting in nice neat bowls, ready for the pan.

The new major categories that everything is filed in are:
+ A NewOrg (the actual novel, separated into files that roughly correspond to unequal sized chapters)
+ Acts and Threads (writing not yet organized into chapters but split into where it generally fits in the narrative, chronologically or thematically. both reference and holding tank for writing that will get pasted into chapters)
+ Characters (writing/notes specifically about one character or another. both reference and holding tank for writing that will get pasted into chapters)
+ META Things (inside baseball. talk about themes, design, marketing, to-dos, schedules, etc. no words that will actually turn up in the finished text.)
+ Notes and Components (writing that has yet to find a home, scraps of dialog, mulch for creating something)
+ Previous Schemas (obsolete means of organization. Scrivener files, old chapter systems, archives)
+ Tangents and Research (background material, things to consult, media diet)

To take it to the next level, I think I’m going to define the sort of files I like to have open and at the ready when I’m writing and whip up a macro to open them all at one go. I’m familiar with doing that on Windows but I’m still Automator illiterate, despite using Macs since ’04. Time to fix that.


Alright, time to actually write something, instead of just shoving at all around.


What is this, clean slate no. 4? Nevermind… let’s try to keep this one around for awhile, shall we?

Hi, I’m Aaron. I write various things, mostly one lumbering beast of a novel at the moment. I also make some things useless enough to be called art. These usually end up tacked to plywood fences and hung from the reverse of street signs.

There is a Twitter and a Facebook, both of which are a little dusty right now. Oops, social networks.

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