Artist’s Notebook 3.30.2020

I meant to keep up with this journal after the first post, a few months back, but as was clear to me from that dive into the topic, I’m not really interested in writing about the process of making art. But I am interested in keeping track of my own projects, and thinking what should happen as I work on them, so–maybe such a focus will help.

And, there’s this virus outside, making everyone stay indoors as much as possible, and, at least in theory, giving me plenty of time to work on my art. But in practice, it is very hard to focus without the rest of the world driving me back to my garret, angry pen in hand. So, a record of what I am working on will help:

  1. Book of poems. This one is done, except for a title, haven’t settled on that yet, and it needs to be laid out, and a cover selected. I will try to release it in Fall, but need to have it ready to go in the next few weeks.
  2. Book of poems by Alter Ego F. This one is nearly done, need a few more poems to round it out. I use this alter ego to explore a more experimental kind of poem, and to try to derange my psyche a bit with deep imagining of the mental patterns of this fictional person. Release in Fall.
  3. Noir Narrative poem book. This one should be long enough to be a full book, and is about a dirty little town where the local drunken prophet dude witnesses a murder, and a chase ensues. Try to finish by June, release in Fall.
  4. Novel. I am 30k words into a novel about 2 neighboring families having a squabble that gets ugly, finds common ground, and then even more tragic shit rolls over everyone. Assuming I can finish a few of the books above, this one could be done by Fall. Maybe later.
  5. 33 Songs. Friends and I, under the name Henrietta Toughlove, are releasing a gaggle of songs, 33 in all, all at once, for free or donation. We have 10 done and mixes, another 10 that are more than 75% done, and then 13 that need to be recorded. This might prove tricky to complete, given social distancing, but I am married to one of the friends, which helps immensely.
  6. Book length poem cycle, about the fracturing of self in the modern era. Just started this, am doing lots of reading and research (Julius Jaynes, Chuang Tzu, books on the surveillance state, Anatomy of Melancholy, etc) to prepare. No idea how long it will take, only 3 pages done, and the focus may well change given that the culture I am trying to explore might well change, too.
  7. Sonnets for the Sunken World. Sonnets, release valve poems when nothing else is clicking, or because inspiration.

I guess the lesson I should have learned from the post in January is that I could not stop making art anymore than I could stop breathing. I know it is more than simple compulsion, but I am no closer to knowing what, exactly, I mean by that.

I am glad I made this map, though. At least I have a better idea where I stand, as the virus lurks.