I’m fighting a cold. And losing. Viruses seem to attack at times that I otherwise have both time and motivation to write (fiction, that is, not a quick blog post). One day, I’ll write an entire collection of vignettes under the influence of TheraFlu. Until then, I’ll stick to complaining that my body apparently doesn’t want me to write fiction.
Today’s bout comes at an especially bad time as I have two projects underway that I am damn excited about. One, I’ve hinted at a few times before (coded 4C until myself and the other writers involved come up with something better), which is about 80% complete. I can smell the maggots on the bloody horizon. The other, a project I haven’t much started but for sketching a few ideas and doing some homework reading, is already gnawing at me. The homework: read Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. The assignment: a dare to write something, anything really, immediately afterwards. The teacher: Sarah D’Stair, writer and wife of writer Pablo D’Stair. Together, they are a formidable peer pair of peer pressure.
A couple weeks ago in Chicago Sarah, Pablo, and myself (along with an entire host of friends and writers) sat down to a few drinks at Miller’s Pub. Conversation drifted to writing, then needled down to my own writing (Sarah’s insistence, not mine, I assure you), then further pricked at my style of writing, one which was described in variations of meticulous, precise, and, perhaps, over-wrought. So, a dare to write something more lose, more free-flowing, something to explore language rather than wring some beautiful (what I think is beautiful) language drug from it. I accepted. And now that I’ve had a few days to think about my drunken acceptance, I’ve leveled, but in a way that’s made me even more excited about the project than I was when first dared.
I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to loosen up the way Hoban did with Riddley Walker—the book reads like a mix between Middle English poetry and the ramblings of a dented waterhead—but the core concept, that of letting language, for lack of a better term, flow, is intriguing. I look forward to it. Once I get over this damn cold.
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About Caleb J. Ross
Caleb began writing his sophomore year of undergrad study when, tired of the formal art education then being taught, he abandoned the pursuit in the middle of a compositional drawing class. Major-less and fearful of losing his financial aid, he signed up to seek a degree in English Literature for no other reason than his lengthy history with the language. Coincidentally, this decision not only introduced him to writing but to reading as well. Prior this transition he had read three books. One of which he understood.