Reflection, Uncategorized

A Project Begins…

So, here we go: I’m going to write a piece about reverse culture shock either in the third-person limited perspective or in first person. I am writing this opening muse-storm on December 9th of 2013, deciding to pursue the art and life-style of a writer even as I continue with other practices. However, this story is not about me…

…or isn’t it about me? In this piece, a young man is returning from the middle-East (like me) having had formative but legitimately harrowing experiences. The basic concept of the novel is to collapse orientalist assumptions by giving him a range of real but relatable encounters with the Arab community. As he is reflecting on normal life in the West Bank I want to build a climate of “occidentalism” through magical realism, a tint of the strange and surreal in the bustling city that will sharpen his longing for simpler places. Since Edward Said so correctly postulated that those of us in the ‘West’ project our darknesses onto the ‘East’, I want to hold a funhouse mirror up to life here, instead. What I want to bring that is different is a ‘normal’ orient as a reference point for a ‘weird’ occident. Ultimately, I need to collapse the occident and finish the piece by making both places simultaneously real/home and surreal/strange. It’s not going to be easy but it’s something I both want to do and that I think I am equipped to do by my experiences.

Meanwhile, my protagonist is going to be a permutation of my self in order to start channeling memories and feelings. The fictional parts will have to come with time. Up until now I have regretted putting so much more time into non-fiction reflection rather than being a daily fiction writer from the beginning but I know too well that regret does not metabolize into fiction, which is less than I can say for my body of blog entries while in Palestine. I think they will help me reconnect with the emotional content that I need for this piece.

Normally, I hide my intentions. I do not tell people that I plan to start a project, knowing how many times I rile myself into beginning something but lose impetus within a week. This time, I am going to risk being held accountable. At the time of writing this, I suspect that not very many people will care whether or not I continue. I am finally okay with that — people can care and be disappointed or not care and do whatever they like (for now). Traction will come for this and other projects, like it did musically. One day in 2010, I drove to Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan and started playing for no reason other than to stay sane in the wake of so many heart-breaks. Since that day I have struggled with stamina, with range, and with technique but rarely with tone and expression.
I just needed to let my heart out of its box. I hope writing is the same way…

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