To Reach The Green Light At The End Of The Pier
FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES: "We are saving ourselves through the words," says Eleanor, the leading lady of a novel-in-progress. This exploration into the creative process -- which includes plenty of distractions/tangents /thoughts & rants by Eleanor, her Biographer, and selected guest artists -- will continue until Eleanor is certain her story is "right." (But we dare not jump ahead of ourselves.)
There will be the occasional typo (as Eleanor points out), and much of this is intended to be "original draft" -- what comes out of our mouths (heads) first, and then set down in that order. Not all of it will be included in the novel, but all of it is happening in real time.
Friday, April 3, 2009
2 Hours, 40 Minutes
March 5, 1999, a Friday. (Ten years and one month ago, give or take a few days.)
He positioned a camcorder on a stack of books. He drank vodka. He took two Tylenol PM caplets. When he was ready, he leaned forward and he pushed the record button. He rested his head on two pillows. The vodka made his head spin. The Tylenol PM made his eyes heavy. For 2 hours and 40 minutes, he slept.
-- Let's begin with the obvious. Why?
-- I needed to see myself. As I slept. I needed proof.
-- Proof that you were sleeping?
-- No, not that.
-- Proof that you were able to dream?
-- Of course I was able to dream.
-- I'm not talking about sleep dreams.
-- Of course I was able to dream, of course.
-- But you still needed proof, that you could.
-- I suppose so, yes.
-- You thought you had lost everything.
-- My world. My life. (He tries to muffle an uncomfortable laugh.)
-- Your life was maybe too complicated. Your life seemed so surreal.
-- My whole world was surreal. No. Listen, I was just tired. I was so tired, you know?
-- You couldn't trust yourself.
-- I had to see it. I had to see what I looked like.
-- You wanted to see if you were tortured.
-- Tormented is more like the word. I needed proof of the torment, yes.
-- So that's why you did it.
-- You know, you can think you're going places, and instead, you're sinking. You're not even running in place. It's worse than that.
-- Eventually the sinking stops. You hit a bottom.
-- No, I was still in motion. I was still sinking. There was nothing to stop my sinking.
-- Did you really lose everything?
-- Well of course nobody ever loses everything. But things do change.
-- Like evolution change?
-- I mean, sometimes it isn't evolving. It isn't that easy to define, I mean. Sometimes I guess it's just changing. And sometimes it goes too fast, and you have to find a way to step back.
-- And watching yourself sleep?
-- It took the thoughts from my head and put them outside of me. It gave me a sort of perspective I'd been missing. It allowed me to see, even with my eyes closed. But that wasn't real either, because I had to force myself to sleep.
-- So you could isolate your torment.
-- Maybe torture was the word after all. Maybe I was torturing myself. Or allowing myself to be tortured? Who could tell. Not me, I'll say that. Not me.
-- What happened then?
-- I didn't feel well. I didn't feel ... right.
-- Was this before or after you watched the videotape?
-- So how do you feel now, 10 years later?
-- Funny you should ask that.
ELEANOR says: "Please turn the page. Keep reading."
For more of Eleanor and her Biographer -- as well as the work of our many guest artists -- check out the older postings. "Everything is part of the process, and the process is the journey," Eleanor says.