Monday, June 14, 2010


I had this thing last night where I felt a little mopey and left the party at 9:30 to come back and ostensibly work. People were playing Scrabble and pool and ping-pong and lounging around the big old leather couches drinking wine, but I felt conversed-out and unsure. Maybe I said I was going to work just to justify going home. 

So I sat down at my desk and turned on the lamp and listlessly added and subtracted a sentence here and there, just to have done at least something before I went to bed to read. I was transcribing things from my notebook, and it felt like transcription. And stitching these pieces in there felt like labor: requisite transition, requisite image, requisite zoom-out shot of analytical prose.

I sighed and glanced at the clock. 10:22? I'd done more than I thought. That gave me a little puff of energy so I thought I'd just go ahead and do one more thing. The next time I remembered to check, it was 11:30 and I had three new pages.

Time is the thing I had been wrangling all day--well, in fact, the main thing I keep having to wrangle with, writing long-form for the first time. What is a novel but a massive undertaking in time measurement and management? And I didn't expect to find it at that hour, but my favorite thing in writing is exactly that feeling of losing time altogether. It's maybe one of the only actual unequivocably pleasurable parts of writing, being so present in the work that the world falls away.

Whereas when that happens on the internet, it's total despair. I tell you, life without the internet--here in my remote outpost, I only use it once or twice a day, at the library--is life with a totally different experience of time. The day seems so much longer, in the best way. If you're in a chronically wifi-ed environment, without the luxury of premillennial levels of disconnection, download MacFreedom and you'll see what I mean.

You know what else moves shockingly fast? A fox. 
The Magnetic Fields, "When the Open Road is Closing In"


Amy said...

I'm loving this, Chels. You're in deep. But where are you? And when coming home?

CHELSEY said...

The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire! I'll be up in Park Rapids in mid-July--will call you to make plans.