Friday, August 26, 2016

6 Pages A Day; Set In Stone

I read a quote of Stephen King where he gave this post's title as the amount that he writes every morning, after a brisk walk, and a metaphor for how deeply ingrained the habit is for him.
And, so, I am going to try to do a similar thing; walk included.
I figure this could replace the "first cigarette in the morning" with good fresh air, and it may help me organize my ideas if the brain becomes conditioned to spitting them out on a regular schedule.

And, I think it would be important to force oneself to produce 6 pages even when one doesn't feel like writing or when it doesn't come easily. This would be like wearing an ankle weight on the morning walk -writing when it doesn't come easily- which would make the legs feel lighter once it was removed; making the task of writing seem even lighter on the good days.

I emulate Mr. King because he has, for the past 20 years, written books faster than I have read them. I have seldom finished reading the most recent King novel before it became the second most recent release. So, since it is set in stone that he is cranking out 6 pages a day, I guess I had been averaging less than that in my readings.

When I was in high school, we were assigned "summer reading." These were 3 books that we were to have read by the start of the next school year. It was homework to be done while on summer vacation, pure and simple.

I remember the 3 books, to be read before the start of sophomore year as, "Ivanhoe," by Sir Walter Scott, "Billy Budd," by Herman Melville, and "Silas Marner," by George Eliot. We were going to be administered a test of our knowledge and understanding of them, our first week back in school.
I did the math.

Our summer vacation ran 10 weeks. As a much younger child this seemed like a bright sunny eon; as if we would return to school a whole year older and grown accordingly. As a soon to be sophomore, and sooner than one might think, I was able to divide the number of pages which comprised the 3 books (with Ivanhoe being the gargantuan of the group with not only twice the number of pages as the Melville work, but with the text having been carefully crammed onto all thousand of them, with what must have been state of the art printing, back in Sir Walter's day) by the 72 days of our "endless summer," and arrived at the appalling conclusion that the student had to average 58 pages a day, throughout the entire summer without taking a day off to throw Jarts and run through the sprinkler.
The texts were written in the Queens English, and other sordid dialogues, like the one encountered  on the very first page of Billy Budd when a character say's: "I know der breed" (I know their breed).
 The books were hard to assimilate. They were good reflections upon the world as communicated through the pens of great writers, and they had to be swallowed whole over the course of the summer, which would have required 3 hours every night of biting and chewing.

 Add to my consternation the fact that I hadn't gotten to my calculations until I was already about a week into the vacation, after I noticed that the bookmark's advancement through Ivanhoe seemed out of proportion to the amount of summer vacation already squandered. The new figure was somewhere around 72 pages a day.

I was at a crossroads in my life, I think.

Our high school was ostensibly a preparation for our eventual matriculation to Harvard, Yale and or Oxford caliber universities, of which are said things such as; "If you don't study for at least 5 hours per night, you'll flunk out."

I could have hunkered down and bit the bullet and become a serious student, along with being an avid golfer and bike rider. But, I think I went out and bought the Monarch Notes® and told myself that the tests wouldn't be that hard, and I would be fine. I could have been Oxford material.

I think I could read Ivanhoe now, at 53, and get a lot out of it. Back then, it was just a matter of memorizing names and places and events and praying to the multiple choice gods, come test time.
So, if Stephen King can write 6 pages a day religiously, while being an avid guitarist and thespian, I guess I can.


alex carter said...

I think Silas Marner could be an interesting read. I could use a copy of it now. I'm staying in, getting over a cold - maybe it's on archive dot org.

There's a lot of neat stuff on archive dot org, but I want to read lying in bed so I'm reading "The Curve Of Binding Energy" for the umpteenth time, which I have in actual book form. Maybe I'll try reading something on the tablet.

I dunno how things are over there, but here, I've been using my sleeping bag-bedding all along here, haven't had to just use sheets, no days working just wearing undies, it's been cooling right down in the evenings, and summer's coming to an end now. Here it is August and with this cold, I'm wearing fleece I usually don't get out of the winter clothes box for another month or two.

Daniel McKenna said...

I got Silas Marner on "" which has public domain books to download in plain text on up...It's a good read, especially insightful of human nature; from a perspective that Dickens correctly recognized as being female, by George

Daniel McKenna said...

Yeah, I'd forgotten about the August nights, even last year when I wondered if it was too hot to busk; drenched in sweat. It was 90 degrees (and felt like 103) for about 5 days about a week ago; and now it is a perfect 78 and feels like 72 with the breeze.
There are a couple residents watching some movie on another computer and one of them is commenting out loud; reacting to everything with his own little editorial; annoying enough -the movie is called The Purge 3(!) and I guess has racial themes in it- and to make it worse it is almost impossible to ignore him because he is a black Archie Bunker, pure and simple; just as closed minded, only black; it's like that black and white picture where you can either see the face or the silhouette of the vase; and Archie would be the white face and this guy next to me would be the black vase (I know I over explained that) Very hard to ignore and work on my writing, as soon as I made the Bunker connection I have to keep listening to see how far a human being can put his foot in his mouth

alex carter said...

The black Archie Bunker sounds hilarious, really.

Daniel McKenna said...

He was taking the action of the movie as if it was true life:
A character said: "There's not enough for everybody," in reference to the resources in the world (hence the need to purge a portion of society and whittle down the competition for those resources) and the black Archie exclaimed: "There's not enough for everybody, you heard that?!? He's talking about us, the poor people! (I'm sure if I wasn't in the room he would have thrown the "n" word in).
It was as if the character in the movie articulated his beliefs and confirmed his world view; and that he now had proof that that was what was happening in his life and had come face to face (screen) with the enemy.
I didn't dare tell him it was only some writer's fantasy; because then he would have known that I was "one of them." LOL