Page 1

muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

THE ART STUDENT AND THE PLOT WITHOUT ZOMBIES OR THE ART SCHOOL AND THE PLOT WITH ZOMBIES

-1-

By the yellow clad mannequin she rushes, to the applestore, takes a peak @ the new ipad, pushes some buttons, slithers on into holt renfrew, hot pink everywhere, finally outside in the rain, thru Vancouver in October, by Dunsmuir, bikes on the new bike-lane, finally, at the computer to the very right, in vcc, the learning center, jotting down her sketches. Next to her a painter, or something, sketching a myriad of slightly differing upside-down rectangles, with a mechanical pen, very professional, tomorrow’s Milton Glaser. The author types and types. This will be her seventh non-novel, half a million words over the last three years, thirty agents that would not take her on, we are getting somewhere here, getting it. Her plot does not have good zombies, not yet, not yet. No blood, not enough, no s-e-x on the very first page. A book for the g-rated crowd, the pre-geriatric g-rated crowd. The rock-in-your-chair on the porch, while the sun sets over maine. Or Vermont. New England it is. A very white crowd, with privilege dripping thru its toes, voting for john kerry is a must. The draft dodgers who were above dodging the draft. Way above. The author ponders, zombies are her subject matter, not some Hyannisport set that she knows outta mags and stuff. Does she care about what constitutes the makers, the shakers

1


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

of the American Century. Why does she even type in English? Something is amiss, weird, so very strange here. Ah, the zombies, ah the zombies, the art school, the like. Stick to the theme, stick and stick and stick. An outline would be good, why not, why not. She saves this under “artstudent zombie #1� AND SCENE TWO University of Toronto, he sits in his brown, long , well, dress, aba, he is twenty-three, third year of engineering. He knows, he should have finished school by now, but he hung out a tad too long in Poli Sci-classes and Psych 101-classes, the one with a biological bent. A lot of writing about neurotransmitters, dendrites, axioms, the like, synapses firing, not enough Freud and Adler and C.G. Jung. Science is always good, quantifiable stuffimuffi. He grew up in a typical suburb, his clothes belie that, or cement that. He scrolls over his Arabic 101 homework, he will show them, islamophobic movers and shakers of media et.al. He chuckles, he knows that he is not a fighter, he is a geek to the bones, talking forever is his M.O., changing the system from within is what he does best. He adjusts his purple-rimmed glasses, that slide down his crooked nose, the nose he broke in badminton when an equally bookish tennis partner bumped his racket on him in a wannabe-Roger-Federer-like swoosh. AND ON TO SCENE THREE The so utterly middle-aged animator sits at her desk, trying her hand at writing. She really has to pen her NEXT GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL at some time, her Walter Mitty dreams are just plain falling flat. She mumbles to herself, ponders, if she should still try her hand at painting, renting a studio in downtown San Francisco or not, would it be too expensive or not. She should skedaddle back to REAL ESTATE, she was pretty

2


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

good at that. She still lives of her allowance, that is what happens if your Taiwanese parents support their divorced off-spring, who didn’t make it in marriage-land. AND SCENE FOUR The former art student is sitting still in VCC, jotting down all her colorful characters, somehow they are all weird and strange, they all live in the same century though, on the same planet, the year is 2010, the planet is earth. The author ponders, how do all these ppl relate to each other and where should the locale be? Tabriz or Shanghai. Amsterdam or Reykjavic. Nairobi or Kasakhstan, ah, that Borat, she types, types. Ponders, she’d rather type stuff sans zombies, sans exotic mix, she’d rather pen a love story. Something tittilating. With heaving bosoms, nonetheless. Heaving, huh, funny, funny. She should talk to her NYC agent, to her London-agent, her Tokio- agent. But first and foremost, she should type and type and type. Nano-month is coming near, so very very near. And she has 718 words already. Ah, not that bad, for a rainy day in Vancouver, here, in the learning center at VCC, facing the lunch crowd passing by, in the lobby, loud, happy and, hmm, something else. AND ANOTHER SCENE In the art school library: she types pretty fast, while facing the wall, she is surrounded by 4th year students who are all writing their proposals for their grad films, on another note, the Vancouver INTERNATIONAL film festival is in full swing, the author wonders, ponders if she should sprinkle her text with negative sarcastic remarks of the like as “ah, Vancouver grows up, Vancouver, post-olympic this, post-olympic that, Vancouver, a newer city, a better city”? Is that what she is stooping to, nope, zombies is her subject matter, zombies of Vancouver. And the art school, well, it just flows into the text,

3


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

because she is sitting here on Granville Island, typing away, her zombie treatise. He lives in Maryland, the boy with the red soles said to his girl friend, the author ponders how she could use that in her plot. At this point, her story is not there, yet, no girl with no dragon tattoo, nothing, nada, zilch, zip, she looks down at her light-purple key chain, she is so afraid that her story is boring, there are no whistles, no bells, she should barf, all over the key board, that would hiccup her text, maybe, so very maybe. She tries to remember the cast of this text, the ones she painted in the beginning, the quasi-muslim from T-dot, the reluctant WASP in Maine, the over-aged writer in Frisco. Somehow all these figures vanish from the storyscape, the zombies are still there, they are in the title after all, the art school is still there, in the title, you know, the writer notices that this story somehow skedaddled back to being one big fat monstrous selfportrait, seeping and oozing with ego mania, ego-centric, well, observations. She ponders, what she will say to Fanny Kiefer on her show, she ponders, what she will say to the nobel prize crowd, in Stockholm, what, ah, what. There are too many typos in this, she will write it fast, furiously, send it off to 37 NYC-agents at once, you can do that, with a push of the button, with the push of a button, let the queries sail thru cyber space. She types, types, types. She has 828 words, somehow she lost some words on the way, she must retrieve them and paste them in. and save, and spellcheck. Outta here, outta here. The pistachio financier in the culinary skool awaits. In the rain, in Vancouver, on october fifth, in 2010. something like that, something like that, and the plot thickens. Reluctantly. Outta here, outta here, For now, for now. --SCENE 79 b

4


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

So now she is once more in the library, she feels that she should write about her alterpersona, a tall woman in a red sweater, from Portland, Oregon, with auburn curly hair cascading. Or something, or something. Anyhoo, the pistachio financier in the cooking school was divine, so was the walk by the Granville Island Brewery, her eyes fixated on the ROBSON STREET BUCHWEIZEN banner. Writers succumb to alcohol, not to sugar and grease, they drink themselves into stupor, so the legend goes, not that she cares, not that she cares. She walks thru her old alma mater, not really knowing why, it is just a way to kill time, until the next rush of writing sets in, there should be another master piece penned by the end of the month, just in time for nano month. A novel to start nano-month, for warming up. The writer ponders, she should paint more characters, forceful ones, subdued ones, artists writers painters, candle stick makers, too. There should be a plot, a reluctant one, a quivering narrative that does not make it, sans cliffhangers, one that holpers along, stolpers along. Well, if the plot is thin, we might always vie for neologisms. ANOTHER SCENE A woman in a black and white shirt, sits down, starts typing. There is no plot, though, just another person who feeds her words to the computer. The writer ponders, her figures and characters should interact, the storyline should move forward, there has to be a controversy or something, and then the story resolves, she should have listened in scriptwriting, instead of doodling on the table, instead of rubbing chewing gum under her chair, instead of planning her next spit ball attack. She should have done that, should have acted a tad more mature, she would be in grad school by now. Instead of typing stories about zombies and art schools, she scratches her right arm, with her ruby red-

5


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

painted fingernails, she ponders, what are zombies anyways? And why are stories about zombies interesting for the North American literary crowd. And are they? Should one not write about BIGGER ISSUES, about, well, bigger issues. Her head starts swimming, that is not good, not that good. And stop , wordcount and spell check, save, too. -

--

ANOTHER SCENE @ 4:37, PM, THAT IS In VCC, again, again. The writer took the bus on the Granville bridge, walked thru Yaletown, thru Dunsmuir. She ponders, is this Rick Steven’s Vancouver, is it a meta narrative full of suspense, is it the typical anti-saga of the struggling artist wrestled down by demons or something? Someone accused her of writing too many questions, she feels like barfing all over the keyboard. WELCOME TO THE LEARNING CENTER, in yellow, on the wall. Her original protagonists were 30 per cent female, 60 per cent male, which does not really make sense. She should go up to the pastry place, have some of the remnants of today’s cooking galore. The words sprinkle onto the monitor, and that is it and that is it. --The alarm clock ringles, she reaches over, hits the snooze button, gets back to sleep. Finally, half an hour she rolls out of bed and makes it downstairs. She takes out her notebook and starts writing, even before coffee, before eggs and bacon. – the writer stops, her words stall, they are so non-fluid, there is no story, no plot. -

--

ANOTHER SCENE A class in UBC. Creative writing. It is a requirement for her degree. She types two pages,

6


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

a very lukewarm story. She hands it in, reluctantly. She wishes she was a better writer, but she is not. Outside, the drizzle that comes down and douses the city, the wet mist, so very Vancitay. Her story does not make sense, not yet. It does not go anywhere. -

--

Somehow she is once more back in the library of the art school, she is wearing a too thick sweater, which looks very pretty though, so very pretty, she types away, wondering how she can smush this ah so very fragmented text together, make it flow in unison, that way or the other. Her characters are outta wack, unrelated, the plot is non-existent, she ponders, she will change the title of this text, MUSE, that will be what it is called, no more zombies, no more, no more. She will glorify all those films that have no ending, all those songs that break up in the middle, all those stories that fluctuate, that are incoherent, she will praise the process, the art students, the ones who try and never succeed, she will laude the novels that are picked apart, literally, the ones that are shredded or smushed in the recycling bin, all those ideas that never were and never will be, the failures, those, those. SCENE SOMETHING In a walk-up in Reykjavik, a young writer, her laptop, her painted fingernails over the laptop, a gauloise dangling from her rubyred lips. SCENE VANCOUVER The author in the art school hates the incoherence of her texts, she sends them off to agents, that refuse to take her on, she hates being a writer, she’d rather paint, rather sing, rather, dance for a dime. Her art career is non-existent, so is her painting career, so is her writing career. She types oxymoronic texts, bordering on moronic, Indian summer is

7


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

happening on Granville Island, why not, why not? Her words take her into the land of incoherence, something like that, she feels like barfing, a keyboard full of vomit, that is an art piece, the muse will love it, and who knows what a muse is anyways. Ppl more well-read, people slightly smarter that her, they know, they know. Males, maybe, because females in academia stay no chance. Well, maybe they do, but academia did not work out for the writer, so maybe everything sucks. Lets throw tomatoes and rotten eggs, why not why not why not? Why not. She ponders if this would call for an exclamation mark or a question mark. She should spellcheck or something, and something. She feels like a pianist, shortly before closing time, feeding her words to the unsuspecting typing machine, her metaphors are off, they always are, always are. Time to go for tea, or something, and something. --In the library again, writing pretty fast, the narrative, the plot, it is non-existent, she ponders how to justify the non-plot-driven narrative, maybe the term in itself is good enough, she ponders, ponders, ponders, tries to fragment the text as much as she can, that is what words are for, language is for, an artistic tool to be molded, like clay, like clay. Behind the writer, people talk, in hushed tones, the author should leave, leave. --once more, back in the art school library. this keyboard is slightly off, the writer ponders how much longer she can fill page after page with complaining about the different keyboards in the different libraries of the lower mainland. she should put images of all her characters on a storyboard, sketch out a story, a plot, stories that make sense, better, so much better than stories that don’t make sense. you cannot just move the words

8


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

around, you should make up scenes, where stuff happens, action, something or anything. the writer ponders, would be nice to know why this software on this computer refuses to capitalize the first word of the sentence. a woman in white sits down next to the writer, the author, there is a scene, a scene just itching to be described. outside the ocean factory, the author ponders, this is her worst text, her worst novel. there should be love or something, there is a hiccup instead. and she types, types, types. 2499, 2500 words. she needs a tad more to make it to 100 000, but, hey, seems doable, doable, feasible. she uses words borrowed from economics, to give her words more weight, to smush them into the world of marketable goods, literature as commodity, why not, why not. songs are not just for the birds, they need consumers, readers, readers, readers. AND STILL ANOTHER SCENE a day in august, a KGB wannabe in Calgary, cigarette smoke, alcohol, the like, the like. a lowly reader moves on to the podium, takes hold of the microphone, starts reading into the crowd. the author ponders, knows that this scene has ah so many glitches, cigarette smoke? in today’s world? and who even knows that KGB is THE literary cafÊ in NYC, so the wordings are way too off. and what does she want to achieve, take the reader into the world of aspiring artists, why, why? everything seems so futile, like the rumblings of the printer to her left, like the constant typing of all these essay writers around her. who work on their degrees. somehow nothing makes sense, the malaise that grips her by the throat is so very palpable. she types and types and types. she is at page 2707, she should try to make it to 3000 by the end of the day, why not, why not. she could describe some more individuals, their jobs etcetera, she could, she should. she should describe plumbers, at

9


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

least they are successful, at least they get compensated. a woman with a very heavy whiff of parfum sis down near to the author, nausea sets in, slightly, steadily. and she types, types, types. page 2778, page 2779. her words are non-sensical, they always are, always are. spellcheck, save, the like, the like. -

--

a short hiccup of words, some more, some more. she ponders how the query for her text should sound, the elevator pitch, that one, that one. it is not a travel logue, maybe a staycation logue. she types, types, she could call this “the alienation of the typist”, “existential angst of writer”, something, ah, something. her words splatter onto the keyboard, forcefully, outside sun and ocean factory, 2867 words. -

--

AND STILL ANOTHER SCENE a snowboarder, she ponders why she wants to describe a snowboarder? this text is so utterly fragmented, nothing goes with nothing, like a turquoise top with gold lame shoes. with a green fedora and a black hat. she types, types, the words do not make sense, they depict her insanity for the world to see. which is just fine, who would be a writer anyways? a novelist to boot. in today’s world. in a country without readers. and she types, types, types, soldiering on in lit land, on to word count of 3000. 2967, 2968, nothing, 2700. she ponders, she always does. her words are meaningless, on this sunny October day on Granville Island. in 2010, in 2010. we are losing it here, but that is just fine. she types and types and types. and 3011 it is, the reluctant novel marches forward, despite the lack of plot, the deafening plot less ness. and she types and types and types. at the top of page eleven, the whiff of the perfume of the typist next to her is slightly

10


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

sickening, she should stop, ah, stop. --AND ONCE MORE, ANOTHER SCENE She had this too cold bread pudding with custard, that still makes her teeth quiver, she is now in the vcc penning her formidable novel, that has no real cast members, the only constant is the author, who roams aimlessly all over town, fighting with the muse, struggling with the words. Must be easier if one has to follow a charted path, to write without outline or anything, kinda tough, tough. She looks at the monitor, all the different icons, colourful, she has to go home, 3154 words already, her novel marches forward, forward. WELCOME TO THE LEARNING CENTER, in yellow on green, hovering over the computer station, she types and types, and types some more. Woman to right, in serious black leather jacket, man to left, with green orange mango and a French baret. She types, types, types. She ponders, how many chapters should her text have, the novel that is not yet, that somehow evolves organically, the one that will make it, hopefully. And she types, types. --NO Food or Open Drink Containers at the Computers. Thank You. All of this is in black on red, she ponders if the periods should be there, she wishes for a nice plot, a good one, but, hey, her storyline whimpers along, somehow, somehow. This is not good enough, but, hey, not too bad either. It is late, she will go home, home. ---

11

--


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

Once more in the vcc, she jots down her observations, tries to be as succinct as possible, it is October seventh, today the winner of the literary nobel prize was announced. Hmm. She types fast, knows that it is not her, but, hey, writing should be fun, shouldn’t it be? It is not a career, at least not for her. Her words are too half-baked, her oeuvre is too small, she will not be able to write enough books in her lifetime to shoot for laurels, awards, the like. And then there is always the snubbing of the snubbed, the, ah, whatever. Trinkets, huh. She ponders if she wants to give writing her best shot, if, if? She ponders, where does she stand in literature land, shouldn’t she paint, animate, illustrate, the like, the like. Self doubt ad nauseum, it goes with October weather, October in Vancouver. Flirting with nihilism, that should do it, do it. And she types, types. Two pages, two pages. Long gone are the days when she tried to fashion a plot, with distinct players, she ended up where she started, portraying her own whereabouts, her surroundings, her thoughts. A huge, humongous self portrait. In words. First novels are strongly autobiographical, angsty, she read that somewhere. This is not her first novel, it is her tenth, so it seems, so it seems. She lost count, all those half-baked manuscripts float somewhere in cyber space, some of them printed out, some bound, it is all a big mess. Just like her paintings, like her animations, her drawings. Artists should be organized, organized. And they should be booze-hounds. And, the obvious, they should all be male. If not, they will not make it, ah, excuses, cop outs, that is the tide we ride on here. And why the royal we, and why so many questions, why despair, despair, on an October morning in Vancouver. She types away, types away. One more page and her work for today is done. Her day awaits, all her other stuff, writing should be over in a jiffy. Writing is just a chore, like brushing your teeth. She should send this out, she will send this out. To be published, to

12


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

be shared with the world. With all 7 billion inhabitants of this planet. This better be good, better be good. Better be expressive, but not too expressive. A tad meek, a tad non-meek. That is how writers do it, do it. There should be violence, a tad sex, love, the like. Illustrations of reality, or something/and something. Maybe she should take a writing class, but she has problems with authority. And if the authority is too good-looking, Greek god like, that will do her in. she types, types. Serious it should be, not too comical. This is a serious world, and writing is a serious biz. A very underpaid biz. In her case, a non-paid gig. Like a hobby. She could do embroidery, something, something, she types, fast, ponders, ponders. It is near ten, upstairs the pastries should accumulate. Given, that vcc courses start at nine, the desserts should not be in yet. How long does a crème brule take to set? She types, types. Should staccato this with A SCENE, number the scenes, have some action, action, a plot, something. VIFF is halfway thru, films have plots, they are not just accumulations of different scenes. She hates writing, sucks at writing, desolate, destitute, she is the poet who can’t, can’t. the unpublished one, and unpublication equals : YOUR WORK SUCKS. And publication equals YOUR WORK IS GREAT. So it seems, so it seems so it seems. Erudite words elude her, she ponders if that sentence makes any sense. That is what she does these days, takes the Canada line as if she comes to work, feeds her words to the machine, heads home for the rest of her day, these are her days, her days. Post art school, she wishes she was a student again. Ah, to read Xeroxed syllabi, again and again and again. Now she has to write her own stuff, now she is utterly confused, now she finished two pages and now she is outta here. For now, for NOW. ---

13


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

She is sitting in langara and typing. She wants to finish this text as soon as possible. Another manuscript. Writing as obsession, there are better obsessions, worse obsessions. Writing as vice. She knows she has to be in other places, meet her commitments, slither into appointments. She is way too sleepy, though, the only thing worth pursuing seems to be writing. The library is bustling, hustling. The author makes up words as she goes. She could make up a story, full of suspense, mystery, love, lust. That seems what sells these days, not just observations. Unless you are sarah palin. Ah, what has this world come to? Poets don’t make it, random writers, she types types, awaits the perfect formulation of words, the one perfect sentence, the one that never comes. So she just types, types, types anyways. One day she will nail it nail it. That day is not today, not tomorrow, maybe never. The one sentence, the one quip that holds true, true. And she types, and she types. Had tuna for lunch, not that that is what should be included in her greatest novel, the greatest novel ever. She types, she types. Slithers beside the 4213 word count. Nano month is so near, she hasn’t registered yet. Might never register, she still has to type out last year’s nanomonth treatise. People walk down the grey steps in the langara library, the author wishes she had a camera. How can she possibly document what she sees with words? And she types, types. SCENE TWENTY She staccatos her text with random scenes, at this point a desolate place somewhere near a harbor, at five in the morning, the night slowly shifting into day, it looks like a scene outta MY FAIR LADY, purple, black, the day awaits, but is not there yet, and the night seems to fade away. Everything is purple, red, with hinges of black and turquoise. SCENE TWENTY-ONE

14


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

Back to reality. Back to 2010, back to the typer in front of the computer. The one, that nears the 5000 word mark, slowly, steadily. -

--

SCENE TWENTY-THREE A poet in a room under the attic, whooshing thru his hair with his hands, he has no talent whatsoever. The New Yorker sent him, ah, so many rejection letters, emails, the like. He loves rejection land, has a romantic existence as a bus-boy. That’s why he went to Brown. Or Princeton. Or MIT. Let’s make it MIT, because it underscores the inability of becoming a man of letters. A poet, a poet. The author ponders, is her prose too convoluted, too confusing? Well, good. That should make for good and artsy prose. It should, it should, it would. Why write straightforward stuff, when you can throw words at the moniotor at random and hope that they stick. The author is missing her appointment, but writing takes precedence, she is like a gambler who cannot wean herself from the slotmachine, from the horsetrack,. Words seem to be her crack-cocaine here, she misses all her appointments, it’s the end of the world as we know it, and she types, types, types. 4537 words, 4537 words. She will have a donut or something once she is finished with 5000 words, some sugar, some grease, some vodka, some beer. And she types, types, purple clad lady in black talks, author knows she is typing rubbish, purple is not black, her words are nonsensical, and happily so, happily so. One day she will be a great writer, at this point though she sucks. And we have 4610, she made a mistake she had made a mistake with the wordcount, but, hey, she types, types, types. Nothing makes sense, nada, zilch, her artistic career is non-existent, she should have become a plumber. Married rich. The like, the like.

15


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

AND ON TO SCENE ONE HUNDRED A jungle, a rainforest, toucans chirping. The author ponders, do toucans chirp? Anyhoo, there are all these trees that are big, she ponders if her mis-en-scene is slightly off, if she should do research, instead of heaping random words onto the screen. Does she want to recreate reality or does she want to create a new reality? Should she write sci-fi or romance, seems easier than what she does. She types, types, in between genres. Mixedgenre, she likes that term. It is so ambiguous, she types, types, types. This is a novel, dammit, any text that is 100 000 words long is a novel in her book. She types and types and types. Fast, obsessed, hunted, haunted. --Life is dull, she hates her writing, the pictures she paints, the terms she uses. Her words will never make it never make it. They are, ah, so bad, bad. She should be a musician, a singer. Anything but writing. No writing chops here, none, none. And we have 4827 words, 5000 is so near, so near. Words are so conspicuous, you use the wrong ones just to make a grand gesture. You use meaningless words just because the rhythm of the sentence calls for it. And nothing makes sense and nothing makes sense. 4870 words, 4873. One day she will be a great writer, one day, one day. She said that already, she is good at repetitions, she types and types and types. Ponders if she can still make her 4 o’clock appointment, probably not, probably not. She hates to be late, and if she rushes home now, she will only be way too late. She might as well keep on sitting here and feed her words to the computer. 4 9 4 9 words, so very, very near to 5000. And she types, types, types. The artist as a young, whatever, the typist that can’t, her words are nonsensical, waiving to insanity, 4 9 7 9, the goal is so near, near. 5000, I can see thee

16


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

from here, 4 9 9 6 and … 5000. We’re outta here, outta here. --It is a tad later, still here in the library, a blue piece of paper on the table, black letters on it, a drawing, it is a manual, PRINTING IN THE LIBRARY. The afternoon marches forward, she missed the rehearsal, which is just fine, she types, types. It is too late, she will never make it. She looks up at the sign that says RESEARCH COMPUTERS, the library is so very busy, study groups everywhere, she really likes this library with its new open floor plan. Seems to be the way that libraries are built these days, anyhoo, she types, types. She should leave this place, has nothing to say, nothing worth writing about. Her shoulder cramps up, she penned a lot of pages today, not that she really knows, how many, how many. The red EXIT sign, more ppl walking up the stairs, she looks up at the ceiling, wishes for a better plot, this is how writer’s block feels like. --STILL A TAD LATER She stares at the monitor, is pissed off that her text does not flow, the non-story, nonstory. A text that stalls, a text, that refuses to go, go. --ANOTHER SCENE The author automatically types in the ANOTHER SCENE wordings, thus she keeps the illusion alive that her text is a logically constructed story, something worth making a movie out, something adaptable to the big screen, something where action is, where individuals interact, something thought thru, thought thru. Nope, this is not just an ungifted writer that rolls outta bed and takes the Canada line downtown, eats something

17


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

from the dessert place in vcc, on the third floor, where food happens, where all the concoctions by the various cooking programs are there for the grab, and then puts herself plompingly in front of one of the computers and starts typing, typing away. Nope, these words are premeditated, part of an outline that is reworked and reworked ad nauseum, this is not a plot that is made up on the fly, one that might or might not flow, one that is quintessentially hit and miss. Her words, her words. Here in ANOTHER SCENE, while the learning center happens all around her, while she is slightly scared with butterflies in her tummy, that someone will throw her out of this place what with not being a student, nor staff, she makes sure that she holds herself straight, looking entitled comes easy when you’re old. Age does that to you. Along with wrinkles and turkey neck, liver spots, and she types, types, types. Ah, and a bad knee, while we are at listing all the ailments of a fifty-five year old existence, somewhere here on this planet, and, as mentioned before, she types, she types. She will end up like Jack Kerouac, who had all his manuscripts in his backpack, lodging them all over town, so the legend goes, a myth, myth. And she types and she types. Spellcheck would be fine, saving this, editing this. A Friday in October, pre- Canadian thanxgiving. Pumpkin and turkeys in the air, whiffs of brussel sprouts forgotten, cranberries, cranberries. She types, types, fragmented sentences, word count 5 5 4 3. And she types and she types. Some more, some more, some more. --She watches the don’t get caught in a bad hotel outta the corner of her eyes, ah, technology, she can make a quarter of the monitor filled with the film, she can listen in to the music, she can type at the same time, all by using the same machine, she ponders if this makes for better writing or for super fragmented writing, anyhoo, the words stolper

18


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

forward, 5 6 2 9, 5 6 3 3. She cheats, writes each number by itself, that counts for one word. She ponders, why word count is this important, do publishers say, well, we are going to print this many words per year, that will cost this much ink, this much paper. Ah numbers, numbers. She types and types and types. Feels, well, nothing, she watches her fingers pump at the square keys, she stares into space, tries to make up a story, an interesting one. A grocery list is not interesting literature, a manual about how to assemble a cabinet from ikea, not great literature. Nothing to win a nobel prize with. Though both are Swedish, the ikea manual and the nobel prize. She ponders if her reasoning is off, maybe, maybe not. All that counts, is the word count, the almighty word count. 5 7 7 5, 5 7 7 7. She will make it to 8000 by the end of the day, she should sprinkle something of the heaving bosom kind in here, what exactly are heaving bosoms, do they heave at the same time, where comes the word heaving from, does it even exist, it sounds very unappetizing, she types, types, types. 5 8 3 7, 5 8 4 1. A day in October, in 2010, the math/science tutor sign is still in place, so is the English tutor sign, she barely remembers that this story was supposed to be about zombies and art school, somehow that did not work out what with too short attention span of the writer, the narrative did its own thing and glid off the charted path, describing the troubles and tribulations of the writer herself. Self portrait, ah, self portrait. A tad less ah-ing and ooh-ing might benefit the text, she types, types, types. While murmuring to herself, which is just fine the person next to her is doing the same thing, he has a book and spells out each word and then compares it with the writing on the monitor in front of him, ppl talk behind her, someone makes a lot of noise with rulers and metal and paper, ah, the learning center, women walk by her in ballerina shoes and opaque tights, she is past 600 0, 6003, ah. Enough 4 today,

19


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

enough, enough. --And now she is back in the cold room on the green couch, watching KING OF QUEENS and trying to pen da perrfekt novel. She is outta ideas, but that happens 2 US WRITAS. She definitely is not at her most eloquentest, the syntax is off, the words are non-existent, sitcom-laughtracks have the propensity to wipe out deep thoughts and beautiful style. It doesn’t help that the laptop has to be secured with a pillow, so not to slide down, she has to put her wrists firmly on the laptop, so that it rests secure. And, of course, she has to watch a paint ball fight in the catskills, TV is so fascinating and golden girls will be on later. This is what her novelwriting has stooped to, maybe because she has a nagging bias towards fiction, she prefers non-fiction and she has enough of mindless hammering away at the keys, her story is not good not good. 6 1 7 7 words. She should take her laptop with her, on the bus, all over town, start typing and typing and typing, let the different locales of the city flow into the text, why not why not why not. --Outside, the afternoon slides slowly into evening, red and orange on the trees, the lowly author tries to come up with a good yarn, full of cliffhangers and deep thoughts, full of wisdom and the like, why not, ah, why not. And if nothing else woks, melodrama will save the book. She types, she types, she types. ---

ANOTHER SCENE, ANOTHER SCENE A day in reykjavic, the author ponders, if she really has what it takes to describe

20


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

reykjavik given that she has never been there. She once knew a lady who had lived there and she met someone whose family had emigrated from Iceland. She listened to an artist talk from a bearded guy from Iceland, he looked like a reluctant viking, which cannot be said for BJORK. The author ponders, why does she write slightly nonsensical stuff, golden girls will be on, after the commercials. She has 6 3 7 3 words. Oh well, ah well. --ANOTHER SCENE He is sitting in his living room in Vermont. His weathered face somehow belies his 63 years, which is kinda weird when you have a lot of wrinkles and snow-white hair, it is more his demeanor that is boyish. Anyhoo, he is sitting at his computer, on the second floor, it is his sabbatical, which kind of bores him to death, he likes the structure that school provides. Publish or perish, whatever. He ponders if contemporary lit was a good choice, it sure provided him with a nice living, but somehow he would have preferred to go into science. He merely slithered into literature, went into the family business, both his parents were English teachers. He scratches his grey and red sweater, the woolen one, that is coming off at the seams, he types, types. He is working on this thick tomb about Samuel Beckett, not that he is that fascinated by Godot et.al., he just knows that it will sell well, MIT-press really loved his proposal, he cannot go wrong, whatever bullshit he’ll write will fly, based on his distinguished career, his age and his propensity to sound utterly intelligent, even when he has no clue what is going on. Sometimes it is good to be a WASP. He doesn’t know it any other way. --ANOTHER SCENE

21


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

His Brooklyn accent is the first thing you notice, he lived in New York all his 59 years. He makes a very good living as a plumber. ANOTHER SCENE The author is sitting at her laptop, a rainy day in Vancitay, she tries to describe ppl. That are not like her, other gender, other nationality, it does not work very well, she just draws caricatures, stereotypes, she cannot describe dimensionality, layers, she cannot put herself in other people’s heads, it is not possible. The author ponders, maybe she should stick to non-fiction, describe concrete stuff, things she can see, her inventing of fictional personae just is impossible, she can describe in detail a place where she is actually in, but to conjure up fictional places, not her cuppa tea, not, not. Maybe she should leave writing to, well, writers, the ones who have the right stuff, she should skedaddle back to painting and animation, visual stuff, stuff. At least on a piece of canvas she can do whatever she feels like, no gallerist can make her repaint a painting, whereas editors can command her around however they feel. She types, types, types. Her writing career is so non-existent, she tends to inform agents and publishers alike that she will not change even an apostrophe, somehow this kind of attitude brands her as a troublemaker from the get-go. Hmmm. The day moves forward, slowly, rain in October, rain in vancouver, always, always rain, the wet, ah, so wet city. Upstairs the washer rumples away, she types and types and types. Time to walk the dog, or something, and something. Not that she owns a dog, she just tries to reinvent a new persona for herself. Probably that is what fiction writers tend to do, the ones with published novels, not the ones like her, whose stuff no one reads, the successful ones, not that it really matters, matters. And she types, types, types her days

22


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

away. All through 2010. The washer stopped, for now, for now. 6 9 4 2 words. 6947. And stop, and STOP. 6955, ah, a really round number, how nice, how nice. --On tv, two and a half men. The words come so very reluctant, it is kinda difficult to write something while listening in to laughtracks. One cannot really fashion a bunch of words into something philosophical while the telly moves from advertisements to sitcom and back, the flimmering, ever changing images have their own life, she ponders if she should write something anti-media, pro-media, whatever. Whatever does not seem like a good choice of words, whatever. The antagonist could be the remote control, sitting firmly near the laptop, outside green, the day motions slowly over into evening. 7062 words. 23 pages, the story motions forward, reluctantly. She should have gone downtown, moved around the city, trying to come up with an interesting story. Something, something. Writer’s block, ah, writer’s block. She could walk by the beach, think about a story that has something to do with nature, birds, sand, the like. At this time, the only thing that informs her writing practice, is this constant laughtracking on the idiotbox. That is not how great words are made, she looks at the Kleenex box on the table, at the brown paperbasket with the white lace around it, she really prefers to write stuff about inanimate objects, something philosophical, she types, types. 7177 words, she ponders if she can pass 8000 by the end of the day. She could go back to her ANOTHER SCENE modus, describe something far away, interesting scenes, and the meaning of INTERESTING is so very debatable. She longs for those days when she churned out very premeditated, paint by numberish treatises about impressionism and the like, so very predictable discourses, she types, types, types.

23


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi ---

7246 words, another one of TWO AND A HALF MEN episodes. Writer’s block, so palpable, like always. 6:47, in the evening, she heaps on all these words until she reaches 8000. Nanomonth requires a minimum of 50 000 words, it is not November yet, but she seems to be right on her way. --She ponders, she wants to put 700 words in, the story is non-existent, but that is fine, just fine. All the meta narratives have been told already, what does she really have to add? Grocery lists, to-do-lists, the like, the like. She looks up at the books in the bookshelf, ponders what she should write about that, somehow the funny stuff on the tv-screen interferes with her writing. 7 3 7 1, 630 more to go. A pizza commercial on TV, now a flooring commercial. What exactly is FLOORING? And she types, types. Against the boredom, the quietness that is there, even though the sounds and sights of the TV are incessant. Now “the Cleveland Show”, animation. And she types, types, types. --ANOTHER SCENE A grocery store, the IGA on the corner of 41st and Dunbar, an early morning, in spring. An elderly woman with a walker, - the author stops, pauses her writing, knows that she cannot really weave a story out of a so very redundant scene. There is no mystery, no fascinating stuff, groceries are bought and put in a shopping cart, the cashier in her dark green shirt rings in the bill. The author ponders, maybe she can make a story out of the flowers near the entrance door, somehow she knows that there is no story there. But she types away, anyways, 7 5 3 4 words, her writing stalls, stalls.

24


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

Outside the night has set in, she watches the icons on her monitor, watches the animation on the telly, types, types. Now, another image on the idiot box, she stares at the brown paper basket, a criminal drama on TV, fast talking detectives, not exactly an everyday occurrence. She ponders why people are so fascinated with all these scenes full of blood and violence, she feels nauseated, would really prefer to watch something more peaceful, she takes her laptop and starts writing at the kitchen table. She can complain some more about writer’s block, somehow a story will start, will construct itself, if you keep on writing, typing, a story, a narrative should crystallize, or not, or not. This is so insane, the pushing down of the keys of the keyboard, when there is nothing to say, nothing to be described, every poem, every essay has to have a theme, a thesis , an antithesis, her words are just splatters in the air, like an abstract painting, no real silhouettes, abstract writing, something like that, something of that kind. There are rules for writing, she would learn them if she enrolled in an MFA program for creative writing, but somehow she thinks that she can manage to learn the rules of good writing just by doing, by writing and writing and writing. The day moves forward, slowly, the words heap onto the keyboard, 230 words is all she needs, all she needs. She looks up at the clock that flickers the time, in green, she types and types and types. Her shoulder starts to cramp up, it is inevitable, writing does that to you, does that to you. And she types, types, 7 8 2 0 words, only 200 more, short utterings, mutterings, nothing special, a grocery list has more content, more, more. She could write love poems, but she knows she is no love poem writer, she prefers to leave the personal out of her writing, she likes to hold her writing near to math and science, if that makes sense, makes sense. Probably not. She pushed some button, the screen suddenly became so small, she is still flabbergasted by what the software does, it

25


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

is so temperamental, she types, types. The tea maker boils, makes its funny noises, she ponders if she wants to describe domesticity, not really, not really. The clock with the green numbers flickers away, she is approaching 8000, at least, she wrote some more words, she can always go back and edit this, put in high tones, low tones, exaggerate stuff, tone it down, like a painter or a filmmaker in the editing studio, anyhoo, she types, types, types. Molds the words, wishes for the best. Language like clay, like clay. 7 999, 8000, she made a mistake, the little blue number is way too small, now we are at 8014, outta here, outta here. Save, spellcheck, and nothing more to say. For now, for now. --Another day in the tv-room, she watches tv while trying to pen her new text. She will classify it as a novel, because hey, if you think it is a novel, we think it is a novel, so the founder of nano month says. The author likes that definition, any text of a certain length can be called a novel, something like that, something like that. The author types away, outside rain, overcast, maybe more overcast than rain. A typical vancouver day, vancity in October. On tv one ad after the next, in between wolf blitzer, it is somewhere in midafternoon. She should make her way to starbucks, a coffee shop crowd is always conducive to writing, ppl come, ppl leave, doors open, the cappuccino machine, she has a scene just waiting to be described. Whereas here there is nothing happening, her only entertainment is her constant typing, typing. 8183 words, she ponders iof she can really pull it off to write 100 000 words of describing her constant struggle with the words, the language, the word count. Somehow she subscribes to the notion that quantity begets quality, if you manage to write 100 000 words, they will be good, by virtue of the sheer number of words, at least that is what she hopes for, that is what she is shooting for here.

26


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

At one time she will enroll in a program that teaches her how to construct a certain quality of work, she has to stop her writing to answer the phone, which is always a drag, and stop, and spellcheck. 8299, 8300. --On a Tuesday morning in vancity, she stops, it is actually 12:36, early afternoon or something, she types, types. Upstairs, washer and dryer, outside green, the sky white, all those clouds, she ponders, ponders. She did a reading, to friends, they made fun of her writing, and this is when you have to either make new friends or not to try to impress your friends, they know you, they will never be impressed. You have to find new markets, keep sending these texts out, find agents, publishers, they are out there, somewhere. Marketing is where it’s at, improving your craft, that’s where it’s at, the usual, the usual. Writing interesting stuff, that’s where it’s at. She ponders, she had a ricotta lemon muffin for lunch, with peppermint tea, somehow this does not seem like the most interesting fact, the miners in the Chilean mine, the trapped ones, they will be rescued on Wednesday, now that is news. Not some very regular, predictable life, but, hey, if you are a good, an utterly gifted orator/narrator, then and only then can you make the everyday sparkle, make it sing, make it halt the breath of the reader, the listener, only then can you mesmerize the viewer. Philosophical waxing about what constitutes art with merit, she can do that, can, can. How many words are there in the English language, will she be able to make them shine, by arranging and rearranging them? She puts time in, at her laptop, each and every day, somehow they will form nice enough sentences, meaningful insights, the like, the like. Stories not told yet, stories waiting to be told, words so near to science, to math, not that she is good with numbers, she just is

27


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

fascinated by the abstract logic, that cannot be mimicked with words alone. The rules of the language, the rules of the numbers. She took a GRE- prep course, in june and july, twice a week at six on the corner of broadway and Granville. It was a fun group, but the sad truth was that ppl were either good with numbers or good with words. One of her classmates stated it eloquently, I feel sorry for the math persons who have to do the verbal stuff, and feel equally sorry for the math ppl who have to do the verbal stuff. In that little group there were definately clear divisions between math ppl and verbal ppl. The author ponders, nature or nurture, but, hey, you can debate stuff like that ad nauseum. And she types, types. At this time she tries to conquer the world of words, but, hey, if that doesn’t work out, we can always wait tables, or something/ and something. You have to keep on moving, that seems to be the slogan these days. Retire and expire, who knows, who knows, who knows. She will stand in the middle of 41st. stop traffic, sell her words, twenty bucks per sheet. That is how newspapers started, anyhoo, she types, types, she should take a course on media writing, she does not really feel like that, the washer stopped with a click, the dryer motions and rumples forward. These are her days, humming to herself while feeding her substandard words to the machine, she should venture out, find something worth writing about, citizen journalism about the everyday, a city happening, slowly, steadily, anyhoo, she types. Types. Her boring passages have to appear on the monitor, they should sail thru cyberspace, all over the world, all over the world. And she types. Types. Ponders if she should adopt a different persona, older, younger, from another time, in the future, in the past, another gender, another language. How about Italian, arrividerci, the like. 8 9 25 words, finishing the end here, aren’t we? painting with words, this is what art school taught her, painting with words. While paint

28


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

tubes dry out, while canvasses rot away, she types, types, types. 8 9 62, how nice, how nice. The dryer makes funny noses, clickers, clackers, she should find a nice laundromat, she could do it all in one whoosh, she should let her stuff dry outside, not that feasible what with rain and October weather. The text marches forward, nine oh ten, hooray, how nice. And stop and spellcheck, today seems not her day, no eloquent super fancy writing, only blah and blah and blah. The everyday of a writer, writing against boredom, against uninspiredness, against the absence of the muse. And she types, types, anyways, anyways. -

--

ANOTHER SCENE

The former art student sits, well, in the art school, it is Wednesday, it is October 13, 2010, it is happening on Granville island. It is sometime in the afternoon, she tries to feed her words to the computer, painting is not her thing anymore, animation is not her thing anymore, writing is, these days, these days. Not that writing really goes anywhere, if publishing is what you vie for, and everywhere are all those complaints that publishing is in flux, it will be reinvented, online books will eliminate paper books, all kinds of apocalyptic talk, but apparently, if herstory has taught us anything, apocalyptic talk has been with our species since day one, it is only fuelled by our own mortality, that is why doomsday saying, conpiracy theory mumbo-jumbo is hot, hot. She types, types, knows that her writing will get better, if that is even possible, she is happy with her writing, even if no one else is. Eventually she will get her nyc agent, if that is what will further her writing career, and it seems like that, seems like that. She ponders, should it be a nyc

29


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

agent, should it be a Toronto agent, a London agent, a Sydney/Melbourne/christchurch agent, a shanghai agent? Do they have to live in English-speaking locales, how does this work, how, how? She ponders, ponders, her words make it onto the page, two pages will be enough, she will go for another walk to the public market, she types, she types. She types some more, more. AND STILL ANOTHER SCENE At the end of her academic career, she will retire next year, live the high life, she has been in a school environment since age five. It is time to stop, smell the roses, learn how the other half lives, all those ppl who live in the real world, not in ivory towers. Hers has been either teaching or/and studying, as has been her parents life before, teaching is the family biz. Could have been real estate, could have been farming. Could have been running a restaurant, could have been the mafia. Standing in front of ppl for a fee has been her family business, hurling words into space, to an audience, bowing at the end of the performance, that is how she made her living. She has no nurturing bone in her body, it is funny how everyone thinks that she knows what she is doing, must be her glasses and her grey hair in a bun. AND BACK TO THE WRITER The author typing away, pretty fast, she wants to finish this, then go to the Belgian waffle place on second, she wants to have a waffle and a peppermint tea, this is how she lives her life, some words to the computer, some eating, she will gain a lot of weight, maybe that this kinda lifestyle is so very bad, so very very bad. And she types and types and types. 9555 words, she is marching forward to ten thousand, to ten thousand. Maybe she should

30


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

go for a trip to Toronto, to nyc, something like that, something like that. She types, types, types. She writes, writes, writes. Her days away, her days, days away. ---

I SIT HERE AND MOPE So, finally she found the perfect title for this her treatise, if this was a dissertation, she would call it that, no more ZOMBIEMUSE, she does not even have to write a good query letter, the title says it all, Kafkaesque musings extraordinaire, that is what this text is about, that, that. There is a market for this, existentialistic texts, nihilistic texts, black and white films, it is definitely better than the quasi-religious texts that have swept the world for the last ten years, thirty years. She types, types, she suddenly had this eureka moment in the caf, rushed back to the library to change the title in her last sribd doc- the caveat being that there will be a next eureka moment, and she will change the title again, that is how she writes, that is how she writes. Hopefully this time she will grab a title and run with it, who needs another text about MUSE, sounds like a film with Sharon Stone, except that it lacks the THE, I sit here and mope is so much more what this is all about, it is 300 pages in a nutshell, it is her genre, nihilism in 2010. She types, types, types. Ventured thru an exhibition in the concourse gallery, called GO EAST, lots of architectural models, 30 of them, famous ones, stuff designed by Herzog and Meuron, OMA, SANAA, Alsop, the like, the writer is not even sure if she spells the architectural firms correctly, she knows most of the examples, she read about them. Wrote about them,

31


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

all thru her I LOVE ARCHITECTURE phase, she types, types, types. At this point she prefers to pen stuff, amass words, coherently and incoherently, fragmented sentences that dance thru space, thru space. She sits here with some hate for her alma mater, more hate than love, her piece of paper did not really work out 4 her, she became a writer, and a shitty one at that. And typing, and typing. Moving forward, or something/ and something. 9947; 53 more, and we’ll be there. She looks at her tea cup, she knows she should not have tea next to the keyboard, but she tries to somehow not to spill it and hold a conversation, that must not be that good for coherence, but definitely good for fragmentation, fragmented texts rock, rock. Nihilistic fragmented texts, you could call it experimental, but experimental seems to have sailed its course, now it is more like innovative, that seems to be the buzz word of the day, and she types, types, nothing but bullshit, nothing but bullshit. Self doubting dribble, ahh, arrghh, it rocks, she is losing it here, in the art school library, in October, in 2010. Ten. And we are @ 10 066. Not bad, not that that bad. -

--

she is once more in the art school library, she sits at one of the computers that face the wall, which is not that good, apparently. She makes random value judgments that have no merit whatsoever. She had a Belgian waffle in the Belgian waffle place on second, she walked by false creek, a boy and a girl next to her, talking in a thick quebecois accent, she ponders, she might have misspelled quebecois, anyhoo, she types, types. 10 156 words, that is nice, if she types 40 000 more, it will be a full-fledged novel, one ready to be emailed to various publishers, hooray, hooray. The author ponders, she does not feel like going on booktours, what should one wear, what should one say, how should one

32


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

combat flightfear, how, hmm, why and where. It is that time of day, her syntax is slightly off, woman next to her makes funny noises and eats cucumber, author type, types, tries to block out the noises, which is kind of tough, tough. She types, types, her text marches forward, which is just fine, fine. And spellcheck, the like, the like. --once more in the vcc learning center, trying to type as many words as possible, fast, fast, fast. She had made up a new title for this text, forgot it already, this cannot be good, not that good. She has to type out all the ANOTHER SCENES of this text, put them on the living room floor, mix them up, change the chronological flow of the 2 pages increments, she could fashion a totally new narrative, something like that, something like that. Her text does not have a clear storyline anyways, it is just a reflection on writing, a constant whining about writing, about not being able to do visual art, it is just a reflection on the creative process. She types, types, that she knows, she puts in two pages, each and every day, she will stop, once she reached 100 000 words, that is the plan, that is the master plan. She will email it to thirty agents at once, she will, will. She will publish this, she will, will. She reminds herself that she did one detour after the next in her writing, her subject matter fluctuates, with the time of the day (this is when the computer froze, froze.) and on to another day, sitting in the art school, finding oneselve, finding oneselve. Okeedok, that doesn’t really make sense, which is not good if you are a writer. Words should have meanings, they should be clear and concise. Like images, like films, like pics. Then again, most films make you chat up your neighbor in the movie theater, what happened, who is that, who shot whom? The author ponders, soaps are the most toughest

33


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

to decipher, to take track of who slept with whom, that takes a lot of presence of thought. Sitcoms are easier, the laughtracks tell you precisely when to laugh. And she types, types, ponders, what to name her text, AN IRANIAN IN VANCOUVER would be a good title, what with everything Iranian being in these days, besides, there is the obvious connotation of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, anyhoo, she types, types, types. She ponders, if she should talk one of her relatives into being a lit agent, she ponders, ponders, ponders some more. And types, and types. Her sleeping pattern is totally outta whack, she sleeps from 12 to 3, wakes up, is awake until 6, falls asleep from 6 to 10. this is not good, not that good. One should sleep in one big whoosh, so it seems, so it seems. She ponders, is it old age, probably, probably, probably. And she types, types. The ocean factory, majestic as always, thee typing machine, a tad filthy as always. The day marches forward, forward. She has a meeting at six. So she has to kill time, time. Two pages, two pages, typing and typing and typing. A walk by false creek, maybe, fresh air, the like, the like. Page 34, page 34, 10758 words, she knows she is no nanomonth material, and she types, types, fast and fast and fast, spellcheck, save, the like, the like stop and stop and stop. --once more in the art school, hardly anyone here, she has until eleven thirty, to be here, she sits at the keyboard that is so very resistant, such a trouble maker of a key board, she is slightly elated that she makes the keys go down, kind of like putting an unruly child, or an unruly adult in line, come to think of it, kids are so much better behaved than adults, she types, types, against the hunger pangs, against her weary eyes that are tearing over because she read too much without glasses, script in a too small font, copyediting or something, anyhow, she types, types, outside Granville island, sun, the like, the like, the

34


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

ocean factory, the like, the like. Fast jots of amassing two pages, fast, fast, fast. Hardly anyone in here, a stocky bespectacled man with serious eyes and a blue shirt, very buttoned up. Anyhoo, author type, types, another figure comes in, in a touque and swagger, author types, types, types. A lowly saturday in a lowly library, words outta kilter, somehow, somehow. Stabs at poetic waxings that do not make it, not yet not yet not yet. She should go to the market, some tea, or something or something. And stop, spellcheck, save to scribd, why not why not. This is how she stumbles thru her Saturdays, october, or something, or something. And the ocean factory sings away. -

--

back in the art school library, her words slowly, outside overcast, the ocean factory slowly, or something like that, something like that. Monday morning, her writing stalls. --she is sitting in the library, somehow she cannot use the vcc library anymore, this very nice, very polite, very soft-spoken lady showed her very politely the door, that's nice, she could enroll in a continuing ed course to use the typewriter, she is busted, her life of crime has come to an end, thus she will use the central library from now on, which is not that nice, there are no earphones and the software is OPEN OFFICE, which is kinda off, so she types a tad, she cannot use this place more than one hour at a time, time limit, she has to type fast, fast, anyhoo, this is how it is, this is how it is. --And back in langara, two twenty six, the tuna on rye was a tad too much, what with the donut and the bread pudding and the banana loaf, her non-existent hour glass figure will slither more and more towards dumlingdom, writing seems not to be good for her

35


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

waistline, she should hit the gym, writing is so sedentary, you have to stationarybike a lot, a lot. Just walking from house to car to transit seems not to cut it, not, not, not. A woman at the other computer station eats a lot of chicken fingers, with a plastic fork, the chicken fingers are actually chicken triangles, triangular strips, she has a tartar sauce with it and a coke, not a diet one though, she is rail thin and very doll like, how is this possible, how, how? The author types, types, langara in the after lunch, there is nothing to say, nothing, nada , zilch. She types mechanically, while watching the world hustle by, out of the corner of her eyes, that kinda stuff, that, that. Her writing is substandard, she feels exhausted and like barfing, though barfing needs more energy than she can muster, she types, types, types. Spellcheck, spellcheck. How can someone that thin eat such a fattening food, in such an immense quantity, how, how? And French fries, too. Must be that she eats very slowly and with a fork, finger food with fork, that must be the secret, the secret. And the author types, types, types. She is getting hungry, the whiff of the French fries and chicken strips is so overwhelming, she ponders, if she should find out where it is sold. She types, types, ponders if she should go to the gym or to the chicken strip place? Really thin women can eat chicken strips and French fries, dumpling women should chew carrot strips, that is how it is how it is. There are more important issues, more important issues. And she types, types, types. Love, lust, that should be part of the equation, how can you possibly sell books sans love and lust? Sans blood? And should you really use SANS in an English text? Should you should you should you. Overkill of questions, this better be good, better be good. She should take a writing course, or something/and something. She feels sick, well, or something/and something. Time to stop this, the insanity of typing has to wait, wait. 11 587 words, for now, for now, for now.

36


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi ---

So, once more in the art school library. No wait let’s go 4 ANOTHER SCENE She is very beautiful, just because that is how her genes are, the luck of the draw, the luck of the draw. Sometimes she ponders how the other half lives, but, hey, who cares. She wears her beauty very nonchalantly, in the same way that other ppl wear their ugliness, it is just a part of her that she does not really think of, ppl are ppl in her mind, we are all the same all the same. Or something/and something. She is an exchange student in nyc, here for the fall semester, her original school is in Milan, that is how it is, how it is. She usually tries to spend time by herself, she is not shy, she just wants to get the best grade possible. Especially ‘cause she is an art student, that is such a fickle field, you have to be extraordinarily good, very hard working, the like the like. Sometimes she makes sure that her accent is utterly pronounced, a la sofia loren, it might help, then again, it might backfire. She rushes up the stairs of the SVA, the animation lab is on the fourth floor, which is kinda inconvenient, she opens the door with her card, starts up the Acrobat program, this is kinda boring, who loves post production? Shooting the stuff itself is so much more fun, fun. She ponders if there is really a market for black and white line-based art films, it worked for kentridge, but then again his stuff had a political bent, whereas politics is not anything she would infuse into her drawings, she is way too interested in lines and shapes, politics for her is the stuff of half-drunken discussions in cigar filled taverns, pubs, that is how it is how it is. Political discussions have to be underscored by thumping one’s fist on the table, to make a point, to make a point, it is forceful whereas animation is the beautifully choreographed dance of shapes over the monitor, animation

37


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

is art, politics is function. That is how it is that is how it is. AnD Once MORE ANOTHER SCENE Author on Granville Island, at the black typing key board, the one she never uses. Because she has the back to the ocean factory. She feeds her words to the machine, just gave her resume to one of the coffee shops in the market, she might as well do that, her writing career is way too fickle, besides she can only prosper from the constant work with the PUBLIC, it is good for a writer, good and good and good. Artists, they have to interact with as many ppl as possible, she read that somewhere, the day before yesterday, she is not quite sure, where, who cares, who cares, who cares. She types, fast, furiously, she wants to finish up her daily allotment, of words, of words. She will go downtown, she has to run an errand, rush back, do another errand, whatever an errand is, is. Another scene, huh. As if our lives are divided by scenes, that is so artificial, so artificial. Stoically she stares down at the keyboard, as if she is a pianist, she types, types, types,. Too fast., too fast. Types in typo after type after typo. And pause- and spell check. Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck. One of these days she will write better stuff, but not today, not now, her fingers fly over the keyboard, fast, fast, linger over letter after letter, her hands are becoming numb, she is losing it, losing it. Happily so, happily so. --Not many lines left until the end of the page, she scribbles with the type writer, watches the words appear on the monitor. There are so many books in this place, on the black shelves, against the grey walls. All those exhibition catalogues, full of images, full of hopes, full of those cumulations of ppl’s daily works, ah, who needs art, what is it good for, what is it good for. And she types, types, types. Nanomonth is coming near, and she

38


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

types, types, types. --ANOTHER SCENE In the langara library, while outside wind and rain, an octoberday like many, full of coldness etcetera, waiting to be described, to be eternalized in words, fastness happening, reluctantly, stoically. The writer and her words, fighting against each other, while study groups happen lively and happily, while the day murmurs forward, while poetry finds its readers, reluctantly, reluctantly. Too late for soaps and seinfeld, too late for a meaningful day, too late for doing laundry or/and the like. Only time to poetize along, spinning a yarn that refuses to happen, she stares @ the monitor, waits for the kiss of the muse, good luck with that, good luck, good luck. On the third floor of this place, tolstoi, dostojevski, the like, the like. The white and black building in the distance, the elegant ferns moving silently in the breeze, the day is waiting to happen, not yet, not yet. Just another Friday that does not want to happen, that wants to be quiet, with a good book at a fire place, that refuses hyperness, that happens in the midst of old age, old age. Where rocking chairs are so very there, a blackbird sailing thru the blue sky filled with clouds, white et. al. Her poetry stinks up the room, the grassgreen chairs in the distance, nothing left to write, nothing, nothing, nothing. Her hiccups enliven the text, slightly, slightly. Her writing is substandard, ah, why not, why not, why not? Writers’ fest happening on granville island, how nice, nice. Nobody invited her for a reading, how sad, how sad. Writing and typing and typing. Against the incompetence that is so inherent in her writing, it seems, it seems, it seems. She wishes for better writing, better words, eloquence, the like, the like. No angst-ridden non-narratives. No quivering of the letters, no more, no more. So many

39


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

studygroups, full of laughter and happiness, she types, types, types. The text marches forward, the day marches forward, into the night or something/and something, 12 631 words , for now, for now. --On tv, Cameron, bbc, miliband, outside slight rain, drizzle, drizzle. She was reading mordecai richler’s autobiography, wondering how different writing is with a typewriter, how easy it is now, or is it, or is it? She feels slightly sick, like barfing, barfing, that is not the language she should use, not , not. Her words are substandard, it seems, seems. She types away, trying to amass words, words, she knows that nano month will start up in 8 days, she will just forge on with this very text, forget about throwing her hat into the ring for the one month long writing frenzy, she should be able to do just fine without the socialization with total strangers in either the Granville street blenz or/and the downtown library. She can write by herself, why not, why not. 12 799 words, nexting towards 13 thou, she ponders if NEXTING and THOU are even words, if they can be legitimate neologisms, or if they are too bizarre. On tv, some news about equestrian life, the author ponders what to write about, there is not much to describe here, she cannot really write about what she sees on the telly, there is nothing to describe in this room, except for the ubiquitous keyboard, she should move around town, watch people, make up stories, trying to imagine their lives, trying to phantom a plot, and any plot will do, should do. Film making seems so far away, painting, drawing. She should do laundry, it is the weekend, time to do that kind of stuff, that kind, that kind. Her words are not good enough, too meek, way too meek. No drama, no action, the day stands still, slightly, slightly. Short, very fast sketches, notes on the

40


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

monitor, on the monitor. Her back is hunched over, while she types, fast, fast. 12 948, 12 950. She catches herself staring down at the monitor, searching for words, yearning for words. 12 966, 12969. She could stop once she reaches 13 000, there is nothing to say any more, she will wait for the muse to kiss her, later, later. Until then, this is typing, not writing. Yuh. And 13 007 it is. --back in the library of the art school, writing fast, typing fast, she just wants to put in as much words as she possibly can, she feels hungry, lunch time, she just listened in to a talk about creativity, which was kind of annoying, because, hey, how do you define creativity, innovation, the like, can one even train a person to become more creative, less creative, anyhoo, any hoo. --Not many lines left until the end of the page, she scribbles with the type writer, watches the words appear on the monitor. There are so many books in this place, on the black shelves, against the grey walls. All those exhibition catalogues, full of images, full of hopes, full of those cumulations of ppl’s daily works, ah, who needs art, what is it good for, what is it good for. And she types, types, types. Nanomonth is coming near, and she types, types, types. --she rolled outta bed, found something green to wear, sleepily she sat behind the wheel, off to the place where commuters get off, she takes the train downtown, thru the rain, she goes up to the third floor, finds herself in front of the computer. Starts typing, typing.

41


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

This is her life, life. Automatically pushing down of buttons, this cannot be good, cannot be good, cannot be that good. She could do anything else, the most important thing is the routine, the doing of something as if you have to, as if your livelihood depends on it. Which is not how authors work, they first have to write their 110 000 words and then find a market, they have to be able to churn this out, before getting compensated. She ponders, she could do the same with paint, smush it on canvas, find a gallerist, she could do the same with animation, make a film, send it off to the festival circuit, something like that, something like that. Or, maybe, she is like a farmer, who harvests his goods and then takes them to the market. She ponders, philosophically, while the day happens slowly, while the green-turquoise round sign is on the wall, the one that reads find it @ vpl.ca. The author notices that the round thing is actually an apple, a green apple, jonathan smith, she thought it is the earth or something, but, hey, why not, something round could be an apple, she ponders how library and apple mix with each other, what are the connotations, what, what. She ponders if she should sprinkle this with elaborations about how vpl stands 4 vancouver public library, she scratches her head, automatically, just because the person next to her scratches his head, he mumbles too. Well, at least, he is clean shaven, and that is so very important, clean shavenness, we cannot have non-cleanshavenness here, she types, in nothing but bullshit, nothing but, nothing but. Her words climper into the monitor, the library is happening, she ponders, ponders. Person next to her coughs, hey, take your germs and leave, the author looks up at the TELEPHONE BOOKS sign, red on white, must mean that there are telephone books in that beige shelf, ah, her ability to deduce is second to none. And she types, types, types, forward to nanomonth. No time for nano month meetings, every day is nanomonth, which

42


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

does not really make sense, every month is nano month, that is how the sentence should go, if you shoot for sensical, at the border of nonsensical, she types, types, types. And stop and spellcheck, spellcheck. She ponders , do textmessagers have spell check, does a blackberry have spellcheck, she types, types, types. Who would be in the central library at ten in the morning, retirees, the unemployed, and the very employed library staff, she types and types and types. This is her painting studio, her animation studio, her writing studio, this better be good, better be good. And stop, and outta here, and spellcheck, something like that, something of that kind. 13 607 words, 13 607, 13 607. her writing teacher said, hey, that is your thing, the wordcount, the mentioning of the word count, yep, must be her niche, what with literary incompetence, what with writerly disorientation, what with this, that, and the other. Her words, her words, her words. --ANOTHER SCENE The so very old overaged writer in his writing nook, trying to pen his final masterpiece, the crowning of his long and illustrious career, he used to bang the keys of the old rusty typewriter in his father’s garage next to the model T- he stops, he used to live in a onebedroom apartment in reykjavik, so some things in this story do not make sense, there are all these loose ends in his inventions and reinventions of his own persona and he never had a fashionable plot, he did not write about tattoos, dragon or otherwise, he refused to drink ale, dark or otherwise, he was not even quite sure of his own gender. He was as much a she as the next he. Authors are androgynous, that is why non-fiction stuffi muffi does not even mention the omnipresent author, the author hides behind the story of the facts, and the facts hide the story, or something/and something. Sitting here typing,

43


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

typing, the author picks cheap gimmicks out of thin air, this month seems to be the OR SOMETHING/ AND SOMETHING month. AND STILL ANOTHER SCENE: Author, hunched over, in a shabby, red striped shirt, hunched over, typing, typing. In the distance, on the bookshelf, a cat stevens CD, before his yussuf islam time. The author ponders, there should be a Dianne Krall CD somehere, between Moka Only and Offspring stuff. Some Linkin Park. Some Beethoven, some Bach. Some kind of music. Who cares, who cares. The author is falling asleep at the type writer, she has not heard back from any agent. They ignore her, her stupendous writing is doomed to rot in the basement. Better then rotting in a landfill. She can save it to a usb-stick, tons of novels on a usb-stick, hanging around her neck. She read somewhere that jack Kerouac used to have various manuscripts in his back pack, carrying them around nyc. Some kind of weird urban myth, histories invented, lives that never were. She ponders, who makes up stories about literary figures, anyhoo, she ponders, ponders. Types And types and types. To the edge of nanomonth, she has 14 zero twenty words, she is out of words, has no plot, none, not yet, not yet. Her text hiccups in silent contradiction, that is how it is, that is how it is. She will take the bus downtown, walk through the drizzling day, tired from her literary output, the one that is not, not yet, not yet, not yet. Sleep would be nice, insomnia sucks, the like, the like, the like. Sentence fragments have to do, have to do. For now, yep, 4 NOW. And spellcheck and save. --Inside the room with closed curtains, nothing interesting to describe, the author is fresh and ready to put down two pages, it is beginning of nanomonth, author did not register,

44


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

she will pen her stuff by her own, all by her own. Who needs socializing, the only thing that matters is her laptop and her daily input. She looks up at the glasses in the, well, glasses drawer, all transparent, all lined up, waiting to be taken out and filled with water, the author ponders, is there an amazing plot somewhere in those glasses, is that what we are shooting for here, a plot, a plot. The author ponders, describing the banal, the everyday, how high does that rank in the hierarchy of subject matters? The inanimate, can it hold itself against car chases, against the 007’s of this world, against cliffhangers, the like, the like, against dragontattoed girls, can it, can it? The prosaic, squeezed like a lemon, permeating the air with whiffs of literary greatness, author ponders, ponders. Her fate is too sisyphian, not sisyphian enough, outside of this room, vancouver is waking up, against the downpour of the rain, against remnants of Halloween, a Monday morning, like so many, like so many. The city getting ready to work, or something, and something. Canada line, trains, buses, the like, the like. Her fingers over the key board, fast and fast and fast. This is her car chase, the typing, the typing. Monotony, the chase does not accelerate, it is one long movement, the whiff of coffee. Of hash browns at mac donalds, a Monday morning, one Monday morning of many. How many words, how many words. She should go out, take her laptop with her, somewhere on commercial, where the poets live, roaming thru coffeehouses, ready to start a new artistic movement, ah, she types and types and types. She does not need gatherings of artists and poets, she can type and write and type in a vacuum, drunken with her own thoughts, her words that feed upon each other, she does not need subject matter, a fine-tuned plot, she just needs her ability, to sit straight, to hold her neck high, to write, to type,., she ignores her aching back, her hunched over shoulders, she types, types, these are her words, these are her days. She

45


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

should write better words, better and better, but at this time, this is enough, ah, so good enough. She will find readers, eventually, eventually. Bored ones, hyper ones, readers who hate her stuff, readers who love her stuff, anyhoo, she types, types, types her days away. And spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck forever, frorever. The breadmaker on the counter, the flickering light on the wake-up machine, another day moves forward, moves forward. Two pages should be finished by now, this better be good, better be good, she will edit this, maybe, so very maybe, some more words, ah, some more words. A sing song about love, drama, the like, she listens in to her typing, she stops, stops. These are her days, these are her days. -

--

once more in the art school library, looking up at the ocean factory, she types fast, that seems to be the only thing she does these days, fast typing, fast typing. Not good typing, not fabricating of some manifestation of great ideas, only the pressing down of the buttons is what counts, counts. Like working at a machine, the words do not really count, what is fascinating is the process, the process, the end result is irrelevant, so very irrelevant. She ponders, this kind of flippant attitude will shoo away even the most motivated readers, she ponders, a good writer should not think about the reader, a good writer writes, period, disregarding the target audience, so it seems, so it seems. Is literature art, is it communications, is it the struggle with words, is it a trade? What is it exactly, exactly? And she types, types, there should be antagonists, protagonists, that is how writing should be, she pushes down the keys, is sitting at the bad keyboard again, types, and types and types. She had enough of writing, the word count does not really count, her writing is off, so off, she will never publish this, no one wants to read this,

46


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

everything sucks, sucks, sucks. Somehow there should be a tad more positivity, a tad a tad a tad. 14 935 words, she could hit 15 000, easily, easily. If this strong feel of nausea subsides, must be the too greasy cake, the too greasy dollop, her writing sucks, but, hey, she is moving forward here, and maybe that is all that counts, counts. She should take the bus downtown, apply for a job, that kinda stuff, writing will go nowhere, besides it is too boring, sitting and typing, what kind of a job is that, is that? 15003, ah, finally, 15000 words of whining. There is a title, there is a great new title for this text, it changes constantly anyways. --a day, rainy, back in the art school library, writing, typing. the author ponders if writing and typing is the same, obviously the famous Truman capote quip comes to mind, but, hey, writing is typing, these are the days of emoticons and tweets, of texting and touchy ipads, these are other times, better times. these are the days of spellchecks, of 30 simultaneous e-queries, these are other days, better days. so she hopes, so she feels. authors have changed, their backgrounds have changed, roll over, she pauses, contemplates, who should roll over. her writing is incoherent, incoherence wins, always, always. --a somber morning at the keyboard, her back is acting up, it is only her and the tastatur, black with some white thin letters, some blue stuff, some red, her fingers with rubyred nailpolish, beige fingers, red tips, the dark black lines on her weathered fingers, blue veins, she ponders, if that is enough subject matter, strong enuf, strong enuf, is this what readers want, probably not, probably not. Her kitchen table, in its omnipresent kitchen

47


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

table existence, the breadmaker on the counter, the green potholder, with blue checkers, hanging near the oven, this is not stuff to write about, the light on the cd-player, the roaring of the laptop, the clicker-clacker of the pushed-down keys, her humming, the words that appear on the monitor, letter by letter, letter by letter. 15 thousand words she has, already, already, she might as well join the nanomonthers, run with them, to the bitter end, one of many 50 000 word treatises, at the end of november, the end of november. It will be a quasi-nano-novel, she will query agents, who are used to the December-influx of nano-month- works, she will do that, compete against first-timenonomonthers, this is insane, ah, so insane. She looks up at the oranges on the counter, two of them, against the quince from the neighbor’s garden, the one that no one knows how to use, one could chop it into a stew, it just tastes sweet and blah, anyhoo, she types, types, how many words here, how many, how many. She ponders, if she should put a question mark at the end of a question, a quasi-question, a rhetorical question. Who are Chicago-manualers, do they get ahead, are they too conservative, the author is sure, there are more pressing issues, world issues, peace-war-issues, her writing is substandard, substandard, she will never make it as a writer, never, never, never. 15 442 words, aha, words that do not count, words that whimper along, that struggle, each and every one of them without consequence, words that will not change the world, that will not instigate courage and/or heroism, words that are way too female, or/and way too masculine, too yesterday and/or too tomorrow. Whatever they are, they are TOO, too, too much. Ah, herwords, ah, her words. 15 508, she should go out, have a brisk walk, she feels a toothache coming up, this is not the stuff of greater lit, it is lower lit, she feels exhausted, blinded by her own prose, the words, the words, the words. The morning that marches

48


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

into the day, forcefully, reluctantly, she needs to go and take the bus, she needs to take the Canada line, she needs to hurl thru the world in a metal container, with others, with people with jobs, non-writers, non-writers. Potential readers, she will convince them one by one to read her prose, whatdoyouthink, isitgood, isitbad, am I a gifted writer, a shitty writer, what, what. She should instigate focus groups, are these words better, are these worse, what is the target audience, how does this work how does this work. Ah, the lowly writer at her keyboard, at least it is free, said the painter, no storage, no upkeep, no studio cost, free, free, only you and your art. Hmm, maybe, maybe. 15679 words, slight ones, forceful ones. A protagonist that isn’t, an antagonist, that isn’t, it is man against the machine, woman against the typewriter, her eyes are starting to burn, tear up, enough of this, enough of this, enough already, enough already. 15 729, on a cold november morning, words and words and words. And stop and spellcheck. That is how it is that is how it is. --inside the library, on the third floor, typing away, typing away. The author is busy emulating different personae, she is trying to construct a plot, she ponders, if she should overuse or underuse the word “try”. She forges forward with the text, there are so many words waiting to be typed, the library is happening, pretty forcefully, on this late november morning in downtown vancouver. The hum of the freshly opened library, the constant typing, typing, all these ppl, like ants, like ants. The author took the canada line, standing neck to neck with other minions that are loaded into the metal box, swirling thru the tunnels into downtown, downtown. And she types, types. Next to her a schoolgirl, typing away fast, fast. This is the day @ the library, where words are hammered into the

49


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

machines, fast and fast and faster. Rush hour in the library, outside in the far, quivering yellow-ochre leaves in front of the oversized earth picture, which on second glance is a blue aqua budget sign. Budget as in the car rental place. She types, types, wishes for a camera, her words seem to be off, so very, very off. It is nanomonth, her second nanomonth, but her text is slow, way to slow for this november. Ah, well, at least, she will feed two pages to the machine, each and every day. That should be fine what with upholding her remnants of sanity, what with not slithering too close into the abyss of insanity. How nice, how nice. She ponders, she should construct sex-laden narratives, oozing with violence, political intrigue, the like, the like. That is what sells, sells, sells. So they say, so they say. And God only knows who THEY are. 50 pages, ah, not bad, not bad. Fifty pages of suspended poetry, fifty pages of glances of the writer @ herself, fifty, ah, 50. the day marches forward, forcefully, reluctantly. Something like that, something like this. She formulates her words as if she is sketching a fashion model, as if she is designing, her own spring collection, to be on the runway in milan and tokio. That is how it feels to be a writer, that is how it feels to be an author. She should start drinking, heavily, hard liquor, that is what poets do, that is what writers do, they have bigger than life personalities, grand gestures is what they do, so she heard, so she read. No bookish types for you, no slim built creatures who are wrestling down words, timidly, timidly. Words are not butterflies that you run after over a sunny meadow, they have to be strong and forceful. The author stops, enough of this bullshit, bullshit. Today is not her day, she fells like barfing all over the keyboard, she should stop, stop, yep, she has to stop. For now, for now, 4 Now. ---

50


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

maybe some more words, maybe some more words. The slight beginning of page 51, fast, fast. Only 19 minutes left to save this, writing under the gun, that is not how words should be flowing, they have to have fluidity, have to be elegant, eloquent. The author types away, against the nausea that sets in, so very automatically. She looks up at the quivering leaves in front of the aqua sign, writing is not good for the system, it annoys the hell outta her, outta her. Some more words, ah, some more words. Maybe an antagonist will smush itself into her lines. Maybe a nice, fluid storyline will arise outta this, by accident or something, maybe, so very maybe. 50 pages and a half, she types and types, and types some more. Looks down at the black keyboard, her ruby red nails, the aqua budget sign, the day marches forward, forward. Her words are reluctant, that is how it is, that is how it is. Her refusal to write a strong outline is not good for marketability, it depreciates the sellability, so it seems, so it seems. She has two pages by now, she might as well stop, stop. Have tea or something, go back to oakridge, leave literature alone, alone. For now for now 4 noW. --A reluctant day in an overcluttered house, she ponders, wonders, where her glasses are, she cannot really make out the text on the monitor, there is not enough light here, not enough to illuminate the screen. She debates if she should take her laptop with her and once more slither down to the starbucks on arbutus, if she can type better words there, so much better, so much better ones. Is writing in a crowded public place more conducive to writing, especially to writing that you want to put in the public domain? She walks thru her place, starts gesticulating to herself, talking to herself, oviding away, grand gestures,

51


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

this cannot be good, not that good. She sits down once more at the kitchentable, starts typing, typing. Ah, the subject matter of the hapless artist, the writer with the unkempt hair, the 7 year old orange sweater with holes, the jeans with frays, the epitome of an artist who cares about her work and - she finally found her glasses and puts them on - she pauses, this is not true, her glasses are somewhere in her purse - but she slips into a persona, the persona she describes in her text, the fictional writer, that has shades and traits of her, but that is fictional, fictional by the mere representation in another medium, with words, with letters on a dimly lit screen, utterings that are supposed to conjure up this so very immediate moment some time, so very far away, in the future. Insanity is palpable, she should venture out, feel the drizzle of the rain on her forehead, she should take the bus to the ferry terminal, horseshoe bay, tsawwassen, either way should be just fine, she should stare out at the water, she should listen to the silence within herself, she should stop making up bullshitty words that are too poetic, too laden with sugary pathos that smushes the fresh and sudden pangs of eloquence, the lingering wishes for highly intellectual glimmers of trying to articulate the unarticulatable, she overuses words to make a point, she shoots this highly convoluted ammunition of sentences at the inexplicable, the short feel that cannot be described, ever, ever, ever. And 16 824 words we have. --In the slightly cold room, watching tv, bbc international, she types types. Thinks about what to write about, knows that she has to make up a story, ah, a story. A good story, a good enough story should do, should do. She looks up at the bookshelf, her book should be just as good, or better, or better. She ponders what else to write about, there is not

52


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

much to see in this room, a television, that is all there is. The movement on the screen, colours, the like, the like. Boredom suspended. She could do some cooking, some baking, some cleaning, or she could just go on with her typing, her typing. The green plant on the brown table, she could describe each and every leaf. Could do this, that, the other. Her writing, her writing. Fragmented, reluctant, the like, the like. And another documentary piece on tv. 16 978 words, rushing towards 17 000, fast, fast, faster. Spellcheck, save, the night so near, so near, the end of the page so near, so near. Tomorrow, another day, what with delicately constructed plot, tomorrow, ah, tomorrow. And 17 zero nineteen it is. And stop, and save. --ANOTHER SCENE A reluctant morning in the langara library, some sunny weather with sprinkles of rain, a blue-ish sky with darkish featherballs that can pass as clouds, some woman in a purple jacket made out of cheap cotton, sitting at the computer, typing, typing. Her writer-career is stalling, as is her art career, her painting career, her film career. Somewhere in some drawer she has her little degree, tucked away, she should venture out, find a waitressing job, a retail job. That is what happens to cultural workers, which seems to be a slightly weird, slightly strange term, bizarre, what is culture, where does it exist, what is the exact physical location. The author, she writes, her words rain down on the keyboard, the sun comes up, she types and types and types. Propelled forward by the constant clickerclacker of the keyboard next to her, the library makes her type, type. 17 181 words, 17 185. This is her subject matter, to bemoan the lack of good enough subject matter, her whining must masquerade as good enuf prose, good enuf, good enough. She should use

53


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

the social networks, put her stuff on facebook, for the world to see, for the world to see. Her writing should be able to withstand scrutiny, it should hold up, has to hold up. She will not hide from critiques and the critics who dispense them, she will not run to her room under the attic, and curl up under the woolen sheets, in embryonic position, she will face everyone who dares to criticize her words, everyone, anyone. Her craft, so very, very debatable, so “not quite there” as of yet, her perpetual “works in progress”, that clutter her basement, that take up space on the redbrown usb-stick in her night stand, that float thru cyberspace, along with her films, her images, her blogs, a museum of work, that exists in the clouds, the clouds. No tactile stuff. Maybe words have come full–circle, they exist for a moment, a moment in time. Just like us, we are all mere mortals, and she types and types and types. Here, on this so very reluctant morning in november, overreaching into late afternoon. She weaves her filigree words that are so very slight, that quiver in the wind, 4 a moment, for a moment. She is hungry, time to get a donut, some tea, that kinda stuff, that kind of stuff. Time to board the canada line, take the train to the airport, look at the airplanes, while they take off, that is how writers kill time between typing-stunts, that is what they do, while rejectionletters arrive in the mail and in the inbox, and she types and types and types, types, types, types some more. Last year’s nanomonth novel is still waiting to be typed up, this how it is and this is how it is. --in the central library, looking up at the floor above, she is writing, writing. Pencils on the table, an amnesty international film festival flyer on the table, she is writing, writing. The words are slightly outta kilter, not polished enough, not yet, not yet. How do you polish

54


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

words, a text, how do you make it readable, understandable, how do you choreograph the perfect sequences of elegant forays into eloquence, how do you write great stuff without sounding redundant, without sounding inadequate. She pauses, looks up the spelling of flyer, apparently flyer is as good as flier, or even better, the typing is coming along, she has now near to 55 pages, she will finish at 300 pages, thus, still a long way to go, still a long long way to go. Who will read this, ever, ever. It will rot away somewhere in cyberspace, no book tours, no slight spectacles at the KGB, no giller prize, nothing, nada, zip, zilch. She ponders, is trinkets what she wants, silver mugs that she can hold in one hand while thanking the audience, while smiling, while trying to say something intelligent, something new. Who needs a stanley cup, a gold medal, who needs it, who, who. Who needs recognition, who, who. And she types, types - her questions are answerless, rhetorical, unsolvable, that kinda stuff, that kind, that kind. And the day in the library marches forward, her days in front of all these computers, she types, types, types. 34 minutes are left on this computer, she will type fast, see what can be said, under the gun, under the gun. No thoroughly thought-thru sentences, ah, no time, no time. Fast, fast, fast typing, that's where it's @, fast, fast and faster. The process of penning a piece of lit, a text that stabs at coherence and utterly fails, utterly fails. So it seems, so it seems. Protagonists with minds of their own, scenes that stop in mid-air, climaxes that never are and never will be. That is how we write, that is how we write. And 17 870 words it is. --another day in the downtown library. She looks up at the yellow sign over the monitor, she ponders, she could describe the black letters on the yellow sign, she could describe everything here, she could, she could. There are no limitations, she could write random

55


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

sentences, all somehow going with the main theme, not that she is that sure what the main theme is. First it was about zombies, but zombies were never mentioned. Then it was about the status of the hapless writer, who struggles with words. Then - she pauses, it still seems about the hapless writer, it always is, always is. The persona of a writer, described in detail, a selfportrait, a selfportrait. Hapless writer, there is a good enuf title 4 this. She ponders, what does hapless even mean? She could google it, bolster her lingo with facts or/and semifacts. Everything seems so redundant, what with the too wet fleece that she can feel thru her thin t-shirt, the one that is on the back of her seat. She notices that her syntax is off, ah, that happens to hapless writers, day-in, day-out. Outside rain, outside november fifteen. Which does not really make sense, it is just as much november 15 inside here as it is outside of here. Ah, her so very profound insights, her words, ah, her words. She could spellcheck a tad, she could save this a tad, she could email this to agents in nyc, she could, she should. Her stupid little art career, the one that lets her run after butterflies that plunker away. Her words, her words, her words. Her so very shitty writings. On a rainy day, in downtown vancouver. Moments on paper, moments in cyberspace. Somehow she has 2 figure out a way 2 monetize this, she will, will. Eventually, that is. Half of nanomonth is over, that is just a fact, a fact. The author knows that she still has to typo up last years naNO NOVEL, SHE IS EXHAUSTED WITH THIS WRITING CAREER THAT SEEMS TO STALL, STALL, STALL. WHAT BIG BREAK, THERE IS NO BIG BREAK. NONE, NONE, THIS IS HOW IT IS, THIS IS HOW IT WILL BE, SHE WILL BE WRITING, AND NO ONE WILL READ THIS. SHE WILL PUT IT INTO CUYBERSPACE, RELUCTANTLY- and she has no clue which button she pushed, so very much by accident, her words are suddenly capitalized,

56


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

that is how it is that is how it is. She should make up scenes , she should construct plots, she should, she should. Writing is not about watching your fingers dance over the keyboard, it has to make sense, sense. It has to be insightful, a tad, a tad. Serious stuff, full of grit and determination. Not just playing the keyboard as if it is a piano, it has to be a well constructed symphony., one that moves the reader, that makes us cry, reluctantly, ever so. She hates writing, this is not her day, her words are stalling, who knows why, anyhoo, she types, types. Someone is putting coin after coin into the printer, the author ponders, how many words, she should call it a day, a day. This is not going anywhere, not today, not today. Must be the rain, must be, must be. The muse does her own thing today, is on vacation, that kinda thing, stop the typing, stop and stop and stop. 57 pages, ah well, in times new roman, 12 point, doublespaced, november marches forward, and we write, write, write. And write some more. --At the computer in langara, she types, types. Her shoes are rained in, her feet wet, it is not that intelligent to wear croqs and grey woolen socks, while rain is prasseling down on the city. A woman in pink walks by, the whole library is likea bee-hive. The author types in here, on and off, since beginning of april, this is her second book this year. This better be good better be good better. Still no protagonist, no antagonist, still just the city, rain and the like. Still only keyboards waiting for her input. This better be good better be good better be good. One of these days she will manage to get published, one of these days, one of these days. She ponders how will her days be different, is it even relevant, important, does it make any dif if one is published or not. Should one use words like dif, and she types, types, the day marches forward, still wet feet, somewhere, sometime in

57


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

mid-november, mid-november of 2010. 18 629 words, ah well, ah well. -

--

the rain is just a tad too much, once more in the library of the art school, the author rolled out of bed, in the morning, put on some clothes, sleepily brushing her teeth, having a coffee in the supermarket that reluctantly was coming awake, watching people going ahead with their daily routines, she somehow made it down here, she starts to type, the ocean factory looks down upon her, her words are so very, very off today, ah, one more day of whining and crying into the computer, bemoaning the incessant internal nag of the little engine that couldn’t, and she types, types, yep, what else is there left to do. Her words might as well dance in perfect formation, by sheer accident, who knows, who knows. How would you know how good you are with words, if you don’t try don’t try. One day she will go to pick out the Chicago manual that sits on the shelf behind the computers, she will polish up these words, one day an agent in nyc will take her on, one day she will be an accomplished writer, maybe even a published one. But, hey, obscurity is more fun, more dramatic, with tinges of hope that will never be, how can you possibly write good stuff while pompom girls rara a tad too deafening, the only good writers are the ones that no one knows and no one reads, those are the chosen ones, the chosen ones. Who needs popularity when you can work in utter unpopularity, when there is nothing to lose and nothing to gain, you know, as in freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, that is how writers should work, artists should paint, in studios that lack heating, romanticized, bohemian, like that, like that. And she types, ah, types, and if nothing else works, a strategically placed AH will always pull the text into the right direction. Time 2 go down to the market, go down to the

58


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

market. The printer noises away, rain pours down, that is how it is that is how it is. She could count the words, but why, yep, why. Why indeedy. Yep and indeedi, that is how we write here, feminine with mom jeans and momhaircut, too suburban, or something/and something. Words like gravy, too slow, 2 slow, way too slow. And save, and spell check, the like, da likE. Words that never were and never will be. Thatkind, that kind. 19057. nineteen ZERO FIVE SEVEn. And a dot and a dot. --she is sitting in the vancouver public library, eleven forty seven, she ponders if she should document everything and anything, the orange-brown paper-coffeemug on the computerstation opposite of her, the brown writing on the mug that reads “c'est ca que j'm...”, which does not make sense, any sense whatsoever, anyhoo, she types types types. Ponders, wonders if she should change the title of this text once more, this time it should be called “mallcat”, and mallcat is a tad betta than “mallrat”. - she ponders, there was a film with that name, she should look it up, anyhoo, she types types types. Feels tired, the sun in her eyes is deeply annoying, this is not good not good. Apparently the highrise next to the library did not exist when the library went up, so the reflection of the sun in the window of an apartment was not foreseeable, well, apparently the sun moved a tad and the sun is not in the author's eyes anymore, she ponders why she types up all these trivial observations, she feels like barfing all over the key board, writing sucks, sucks. Especially hers, especially hers. The words are non-eloquent, stalling, this is how it is that is how it is. 19 292, 19293. if this was nanomonth, she should still put in 30 000 more by the end of the month. 30 000 in 12 days, hmm, good luck with that, good luck with that. She should pen 5000 words per day, she looks at her hands, her knuckles would hurt,

59


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

something like that, something, something. A novel, huh, what exactly is a novel? The observations of a mallcat, how is that 4 a plot. A non-plot. She should type, write something fascinating. Whatever that is whatever that is. And 19 382 it is. At the fringe of nanomonth, the edge of nanomonth, something like that, something like that. Nonsensical sentences, words that do not go anywhere, sentences under the gun, utterings, mutterings. A lowly writer, without a publishing contract, a writer that cannot, cannot deliver. One that is feeling like barfing. Like crying, that is utterly exhausted and so very, very- she pauses -is not quite sure what “so very, very� she is, she just likes to sprinkle dramatic phrases into the text, tries to foreshadow a climax, something like that, something of that kind. Ah, how many words, how many words? Word. Word in a rap kinda way, with arms in front of the chest, looking down. Yep, that kinda word, with origins in oakland, slight affirmations of a fist strut into the air, somewhere on an olympian podium, somewhere in the seventies, dissent forever, 4 Eva, something like that, something of that kind. Utterings, mutterings, slight inklings, a song, asong. Ah, how many words, how many many words? --she is not quite sure if it is good 4 her body to be keeping sitting here and typing. A walk would be good, a brisk one, a change in position, a fresh breeze against the face, wind, slight on, all over the nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, hair in your face, she types, types, though, not moving, sitting here, so very sedentary, trying to sit slightly arched to the front, she watches her rubyred nail-polished fingers moving over the black keyboard, the one with the white letters, she ponders, if she should ask the librarian to pull down the blinds over the window, the sun is in my eyes the sun is in my eyes. She typos, types

60


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

types. Should be 20 000 by now, by now. She checks, yes, indeedy. Ah, words of the like of yep and indeedi, you cannot write hi lit with words like that. Indeedi, that will never make it into the new yorker, mall talk, suburban words, omgd, amgwd. And she types, types, forward marching text, slightly, slightly. Her writing, her writings. While sitting put, while tilting her head, a tad, a tad. She will save this, will go to tim hortons, a donut to cure the mid autumn blues, sugarr, grease, ah, the like, the like. Better than gin aND TONIC, ARTISTS AND THEIR VICES, COMES WITH THE TERRIRTORY COMES with the TERRITORY YOU FOOL. AND WE TyPE AND WE TYPE. Words on paper, good ones, bad ones. Ah, nanomonth, ah nanomonth. Going insane is fun, fun. --It is exactly three PM. The author is sitting in her derelict studio in a walk-up in reykjavic, at least that is how she sees it. Writers do have to live in bohemian circumstances, that is how literature is made, that is how it is how it is. Walk-up, that sounds good, the author is not quite sure what a walk-up is, but she assumes that that is the location that makes for superb wordings, that is where the next great novel is penned. She looks out the window, no more rain, how nice for vancouver in november, the author ponders if she is getting insaner, what with having fictional and real personae, anyhoo, she types and types. Maybe if she can will herself she will pass the 50 000 word limit by november 30, yeah, why not why not why not. Four more words, four more words. 20 000 is so very near, one can almost touch it, almost smell it. She types types types. Omits commas, tells herself that that is artistic, yeah yeah, why not why not why not. 19 977, oh well, ah well. Good enuf 4 now, this is it, she is outta words outta words. 5 more five, five. One more ‌ and 20 000 it is. Hooray and the like, the like.

61


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi ---

She sits on the upright chair with the green-checkered back, she watches family guy and thinks about the new title she found for her novel. THE YEAR I JOINED PIXAR- how about that? She is not quite sure what she should write about other than that she filled out an online-application for pixar but, hey, there is a start. Chances are she will not be hired thus she can just make up stuff. And it would be a catchy title for a book. Authordom is so tough these days, publishers are very cautious, so she heard, so she heard. That seems to be the myth about publishers since day one, she doesn’t believe in it. Good stuff will always be published, she likes that myth more. Keeps her going, type, type, until she hits jackpot. Until the amazing narrative will flow from her pen, like magic, like magic. And her syntax is off, like always, like always. And we write, and we type. Type and type and type. 20 and 184. 20184. --Another scene, one that does not fit in with the other scenes. The author ponders, somehow all these scenes are kind of disjointed, they each march to its own kind of drummer, the author types away, while cnn does its own thing on the telly, Anderson 360, Jeffrey toobin, ah, talking heads, talking heads. The night is upon us, the author uses much too much pathos when choosing her words, she tries to hammer in as many words as she can, she would like to produce 30 000 words by the end of november, which means basically 2500 words per day, ten pages per day, fast, fast sentences. She ponders if she should drive down to the starbucks on arbutus, there is so much to see there, one can just look around, and there are ample things to describe, which cannot be said for this place, she is sitting hunched over, the tv does its own thing, nothing is happening,

62


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

nothing worth describing. She starts staring into space, she has to come up with a good story, at least a good enough story, a love interest, some s-e-x, the like, the like. Her shoulder is acting up, too much typing, way too much, way too much. Would be good if one could take the laptop on a bike ride, maybe she should start talking into a dictaphone, it feels so very strange to be chained to a computer, when writing, when writing. Too stationary, way too stationary. She should tackle big issues, should do this, should do that. Should wander out, look around, find stuff to write about, she should drive down to the supermarket, walk down the aisles, put that into her text, let it flow into her writing, somehow, somehow. 20 483 words, fast sentences, fast sentences. She could make her way down to UBC, not now, but in the morning, to one of the nano wrimo meetings, either in the blenz at ubc village or in the room on the second floor to the right, somewhere in the irving k. barber building. And she types, types. There is another talking head now, they change constantly, this is not what one should listen to while writing. Music would be good, instrumental, beautiful music, that would translate into equally beautiful words. And she types, types. --20 577 words, the author heaps on more words, fast, faster. While the telly yelps away, she looks up at the books on the upper book shelf, a book with the letters E A R T H on the spine, earth. There should be stories here to be penned, interesting ones, banal ones. Epics and short, short moments. --The author is out of words, nothing to describe, nothing to describe. She ponders how she will produce 50 000 words by the end of november, but she said that already, wrote that

63


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

already. To write about not being able to come up with a good narrative, that is actually a way too thin premise for an interesting novel. The author scratches her head, pondering how she can combat writer’s block, her complete inability to fashion a well-crafted story, the green flowerpot in the distance seems to be the most interesting object worth describing in this room. Her words are way too stocky, nothing fluent or eloquent here, no glimmering dots in the lingo, nothing, nothing, nothing poetic, nothing poetic enough. She feels like barfing all over the keyboard, maybe the constant interaction with a computer is not that good for the system, the sitting hunched over, the sitting with cramped up shoulders. The mechanistic pushing of all these keys, her neck is too contorted, she types, types, types. --And now there are 20 817 words, the author ponders, she will have to start editing this, come December, come January. --THE YEAR I WANTED TO JOIN PIXAR- the author stares at the screen of her laptop, she ponders, this is not exactly a catchy title. Or is it? INSOMNIA- now that seems more like it. These days of constant writing are marked by her weird sleeping patterns, she sleeps for about four hours, only to find herself wide awake in the middle of the night. Tossing and turning and a final ending up at the laptop, with a glass of warm milk, typing, typing. The author ponders, poetry does not do her good, is too tough on her system, all this relentless pushing down of all these square keys, the epic that somehow eludes her, the epic that should be written, but is still so off, so weirdly, strangely elusive,

64


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

the epic that cannot, that does not hold up, does not hold up. And who would make writer’s block a subject matter? Who would turn the constant yelping for words into a narrative. Stories have to be constructed solidly, to hold up, to weather criticism. The author ponders, her writing is more solid footedly based in the genre of non-fiction writing, she learned her craft by churning out essay after essay, she does not come from a tradition of storytelling. Storytelling, that is what you do when you want to lullaby children, it does not have this grown-uppy dimension that fits non-fiction writing so readily. And the author types, types. The word count is 21 000 by now, give or take some, the font of this text changes automatically to Cambria instead of Times new roman, something is wrong here, ah, all these machines, all these machines. The author slumbers away, while typing, she ponders if writers in pre-laptop times were better writers, does forceful hammering away at the typewriter make for more forceful prose, better words, more concise sentences, anyhoo, she types, types. Types, against the silence of the reluctant morning, her words, her words, her words. She ponders, shouldn’t she change the author’s gender, should she envision a different kind of protagonist, one that has to solve mysteries, one like superman, one that wears a cape, ah, what, what. No stumbling poet for this her novel, no struggling poet, worn down by words, no bard that cannot, cannot. She looks up at the kitchen counter, up from her writing, bananas and oranges in the brown fruit basket, she feels hungry, but there are words waiting to be put down, put down on paper, hammered into the squares on the keyboard, ah, she types, and types. Her story, her nonstory, she wonders, where are her glasses, glasses. In her world, there are two ways of writing, either one takes a notepad and a pen and roams thru the world, randomly picking places the world over, mostly coffeeshops, and plunking oneself at

65


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

coffeeshop tables the world over, sitting down , observing, taking notes, notes. That is one way of doing things, the other way would be to produce a good enough outline and follow it to a T, she pauses, somehow her description of different writing processes went terribly off-course, it is that time of the night, when sleeping would be so much better than all this constant typing, all of this constant typing. She ponders, sitting at the kitchentable at 4 oclock in the morning, does not seem conducive for great stories, she piles up the words, but they are all so very reluctant, so very, very reluctant. And save and spellcheck, for now, for now. --She finds herself at the computer, again, like so many days before. Upstairs washer and dryer, rumpling away. She ponders if she started up the dryer, she is not quite sure, and the washer overnoises the dryer anyways. Sings the loudest, screams the loudest. The author ponders what to write about. Back to the drawing board, her novel is still in the planning stage. She had a coffee, in the starbucks on arbutus, the behind-the-counter ladies still tired, still sleepy, not everyone is a raging insomniac, people like a good night’s sleep. The author ponders, maybe she should go back to the coffeeshop, there is nothing to describe here, nothing, nothing. Only the different icons on the computerscreen, specks of colour, the like, the like. The reflection of the honeypot in the window, the oranges in the fruitbasket, the darkness outside, the morning that is still more night than day. Her wordcount is somewhere between 21 000 and 22 000, she ponders, how many pages are 50 000 words. Ah, math, math. And she types, types. The flickering light on the radio slash clock slash cd player, she could describe that. All the inanimate objects around her. Although, technically, the washer and dryer are not

66


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

quiet and inanimate, neither is the clock slash cd player, the author ponders, should she really describe all these trivial things, is that what she does, documenting the so very very banal. Is that how one writes a novel, is that how you achieve 50 000 words straight. There are even more ambitious contests, the 3-day-novelwriting contest, produce 50 000 words on labourdayweekend. She ponders, is this a new phenomenon what with the ease in writing propelled by computers, no more typing on a roll like in Kerouac’s day. On a roll, literally. And the author types, types, types. She feels sleepy, only four hours of sleep, this cannot be good, not that good. --67 pages already, the typing marches forward, but how many interesting things are there to write about when you are sitting inside and the keyboard is all that you are looking at. She types anyways, hopes for the best, but somehow it becomes obvious that amassing words at random is a futile endeavour. There has to be a plan, a plan, a master plan. Well crafted characters, dialogue, the like, the like. Drama, the like, the like. A greek tragedy, the like, the like. Not just descriptions of household appliances, of fruit baskets, of a honey pot. anyhoo, the day awakens, the trees outside, barren, so very very novemberish. Vancouver awaits winter, she types and types and types. All thru nano month, all thru this november. Slowly nexting 22000 words, there is no word called “nexting”. She feels sick, nauseated, sick from too much typing. Her writing, her writings. Painting seems like so much more fun, you can move around, writing is too stationary, way, way too stationary. She ponders if she should rewrite this, if she should seek out an editor, if it is even worth it, if she should just delete the whole damn thing, her novel, her non-novel. And she types and types and types. Morning becomes so much clearer, let there be light,

67


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

the day awakens, awakens. Slithering towards 22000, word by word, all these numbers that govern her writing, a black crow flies by, and she writes and she types. But she said that already, already. And 22 000 it is. Her laptop is out of battery, so this is it, for now, 4 noW. --ANOTHER SCENE The very tall, very thin woman rushes to the busstop, her grey mane bopping around her head, she hopes to make it in time to her classroom. Finally she gets to the workshop in the derelict building on 57 th, opens the door, twenty eyes looking at her, ten students. The very tall very thin woman takes a gasp, this is what became of her writing career, she coaches others for money, how to write what to write. She smirks, as if one could teach writing. You either have it or you don’t, AND STLL ANOTHER SCENE The nanomonth writer in her small study, scratching her head, her sketch of the “very tall, very thin woman” is too dilettante, too pedestrian. The author hates writing, she just types away to fill the word count requirement, she feels she should go for a walk, fresh air, ah, fresh air. A tea, maybe, a glimpse out the window of a coffee shop, the sight of schoolchildren and buses, that should inform her writing, will inform her writing. Will make her choose the, ah, so perfect sentences, the perfect sequence of words, the articulate illustration of a thought. That is what she is vying for, vying 4. AND ANOTHER SCENE, ANOTHER SCENE A fishmonger in the early morning, - the author tries to figure out how to work a fishmonger into the fabric of her story, her non-story. Somehow, all her sentences are

68


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

doing their own thing, there is a total meltdown, the story collapses, collapses. Like a house of cards, this is not how great literature is born, the author ponders, she should go back to penning grocery lists, that seems to be doable, ever so slightly, ever so slightly. Tea would be good, a walk would be good, spellcheck and save would be good. Not necessarily in that order, not necessarily in that order. Her working title at this point is something about PIXAR, though she is not quite sure how she can rationalize that. At this point the title has nothing to do with the contents of her story, but that is ok, for now, for now. Fragmentation is what drives the wordcount ahead, the story has to stay on the sidelines and watch the words march by, march by. And 22 477 it is, for now, for now, for now. --she is sitting once more in the downtown library, she has 51 minutes and 33 seconds left on her computer, the person next to her is annoying the hell outta her, 'cause he is smelly and talks to his computer, how can one think under these circumstances, the author types, types, ponders, she will rename this text, once more, once more, today it is SOME KIND OF BOREDOM, sounds pretty nice, kind of preempties the premise that books are boring, boring when compared to films, boring, because not much is happening, though there is the misconception that thrillers and porn are more interesting than stories documenting the banal, which is, as stated before, a misconception, she types and types and types. The library is not exactly a good place to pen one's next masterpiece, a. because there are time limits to using the computer, b. because the persons at the computer next to the author might be smelly, c. actually that is about it. But, hey, masterpieces will be penned anyways, she types, types, types some more, the wordcount

69


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

is 22 600, she types, types, types. Some kind of boredom, sounds pretty nice, she will stick with that title, well, until the next reincarnation of the title, “the always in flux title� is better, not that the author really knows why, anyhoo, she feeds her words to the computer, feeds her words to the computer. 70 pages, 70 pages. She ponders, what else is there to write about, she looks up, some more descriptions of the windows, the buildings, the library, some kind of boredom sets in, it is inevitable, comes with the job of a writer, producing words, producing words, what kind of job is that, that? She repeats words at random, after all, she has to reach the 50 000 words mark, come end of november, who knows why, who knows why? The big red S on the building outside of the window, the scotiabank S, and she types, types, types. --ANOTHER SCENE In the Richmond library, listening to the kid at the other computer read the text on his monitor to his friend, it has to do with x-box and games and exotic stuff like that, now he reads the text about piracy, has to do with playstation 3 and Microsoft and sony, the two kids are ten or nine, the text should be about legal disclaimers and stuff, the author listens in to them, but types too, it is very informative, at least that is how it sounds, and one can let it flow into the NOVEL, the novel that does not really go anywhere. Anyhoo, the author is happy, she replaced her lost library card and did not have to pay a fine, so this is good, this is good, after all the woman in vcc asked her not to use the learning center, it is only for students, not for wood-be-novelists roaming the streets of the lower mainland. And she types and types and types. Downstairs, in the art gallery, an exhibition is

70


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

mounted, the author knows the artists, who install their work, they were in art school with her, the author ponders, should she work on her art career or on her writing career, it doesn’t really matter, they both are going nowhere, nowhere. She sucks equally potently at writing, at painting, at installation work, at film making. That is how it is that is how it is. She will end up in retail, that is where artists end up. So she heard, so she heard. Actors wait on tables, artists sell skirts and socks. So it seems so it seems. And she types, types, types. Types some more, types some more. 23 038 words, aha, the 23 000 mark is in the can. She ponders, if IN THE CAN is a bad idiom , a good idiom, did she use it right, probably not, probably not. She ponders, she ponders. Writes, types. Hates life, feels like having a new york cheese cake or a blueberry cheesecake, they are sold in the library lobby, but the tables and seats were kind of weird, one scary guy was sleeping there, she types and types and types. She will look at the installation in the gallery, it has this pink paint on the gallery wall, which was really nice, the title was very good, too, it is more fun to watch artists install their work than it is watching the finished work. Installations are fun and openings, who cares about art who cares about art. The scene is good, especially the one of hapless artists. Artists that do not go anywhere, writers that do not go anywhere. The one who live in the WORK IN PROGRESS state. She has to say that, once she will have her breakthrough, her tune will change. That is how it is that is how it is. Herwords, her words, make no sense today, that is how it is how it is. She feels like barfing, slightly, reluctantly. Another November 19 th, one of many, one of many. Some kind of boredom, a reluctant title for a reluctant day. She overuses RELUCTANT, that is how it is that is how it is. And too much of THAT IS HOW IT IS. One day she will learn how to write articulately, one day, one very happy day. Incoherence rules,

71


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

today, today. On the second floor of the Richmond library, on November nineteen, in 2010. 30 000 words, 30 000 words. Not yet not yet not yet. --ANOTHER SCENE A small bistro, with about seven tables, with green tablecloths, with pretty dainty vasesthe author stops, the scene seems so very artificial. The author looks down at the key board, she sighs, her writing stalls, seems to be the overriding theme this nanomonth and she has only eleven days to type in 30 000 words, 3000 words per day, 3000, 3000. It is too late to fashion a plot, the plot will be all about the writer that struggles with the words, that types, day-in, day-out, looking at her fingers pushing down the square keys, that is enough action, the toughness of trying to keep on typing, while there is no really fascinating subject matter in sight. The author watches the ads on the telly, a woman in pink sweater, an ameriprise ad, the author is not quite sure what that is about, anyhoo, she types, types, the wordcount is at 23 507. One of these days she should join the other nanomonthers, the real ones, the ones that started on november first, the ones who did not cheat and started in October, and she types, types, types. Looks at the interface of the word program, she wonders, what she should write about that. On the telly, Anderson cooper, the author feels sick, too much typing, too much typing. There have to be interesting tales just waiting to be told, her writing sucks, is borderline boring, this authordom does go nowhere, nowhere. And she still has to type 30 000 words, she should be able to finish this by november 30. She could describe the coasterset on the coffeetable, the mess on the coffeetable, all those documents, all those pieces of paper,

72


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

anyhoo, she types, types, types. Types some more. 23 642 words, the physical act of typing is exhausting, she sits hunched over her laptop, hammers away at the keyboard, types and types and types. 23 671 words. --Seinfeld on tv, the author ponders if she should just document the show, the ads in between, that is how she could fill the page, how she could fulfill the word requirement. What kind of concept is it anyways to write 50 000 words in a month without giving much thought to the quality of the contents of those 50 000 words, a certain amount of words does not automatically translate into a well-written piece. Or does it? Does the churning out of a high amount of words make the words become better in the process? The author keeps on typing, hoping for the best. 23 779. Marching forcefully towards 24 000. She ponders, there is a 3-day-novelcontest, the one that happens each and every labour weekend. The author looks at her fingers wondering how cramped up they would get if they have to type that many words over such a short time. Anyhoo, she keeps on typing, trying to stretch the sentences, pile up as many fillers as she can think of. Maybe writing fast for 500 words and a nice 20 minute pause after that would, should do the trick. One has to pace oneself when writing, in the same way that a marathon runner paces herself, strategizes how to use her energy, writing as sport, writing as sport. The author tries to follow Seinfeld on the telly, which is kind of tough to do while writing. While constructing all these sentences, she feels her right hand starting to tingle, typing is not good on the system, her back is cramping up, and she types, and she types. The episode on Seinfeld is the one about the fraga machine, what with slippery pete and Elaine’s aversion to the office birthday parties. Now she is in peterman’s office and eats

73


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

the cake. The author ponders, how many of these Seinfeld episodes has she watched, again and again and again. Reruns, ah, reruns. Now an ADVIL ad. Watching tv and writing about it, there is a new genre. She passed 24 000, not bad, not bad. She feels like a person who knits an extra long shawl, tries to work thru the night in one long knitting spurt. There is something to say for cumulative effort, the satisfaction of having produced a new entity of something, anything. Words are non-tactile, but the sheer number of words make for a strong construct, even if they are not printed out and just floating thru cyberspace. Ah, and she types, types, types. 24 091 words. Piling up the words, this is what she does, what she does. A short stop for save and spellcheck, and she types on, types on. Now the fight between Seinfeld and the woman in her aubergine dress, and the author types, types, types. Her shoulders hurt, her right hand hurts, the knuckle near the pinky. The pinky-knuckle. The author ponders, her sentences are trivial, not good, not good at all, but who cares. The main objective is to type as many words as possible, as many many words as humanly possible. And she types and types and types. 24 200, it goes pretty fast. The constant noise on the telly kind of cheers her on to type more, more, she could go for 25 000. The end of the fraga episode, the truck careening towards George, Seinfeld, game over. Too many reruns, way too many reruns. And 24 244 it is. This goes fast, pretty pretty fast. The author looks at the cluttered coffee table, a milkglass, empty, a salt shaker, some dirty dishes. She ponders, this is not the stuff that novels are made of, there has to be suspense, action, the like, the like. There is none none none. Just the mere accumulation of all these words, all these words. Repetitions make for good writing, so it seems so it

74


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

seems. She needs 700 words more to pass the 25 000 word mark, which would fulfill half of the nanomonth requirement. All these numbers by which she measures her words, she does not really care about quality, she is of the opinion that quantity will automatically translate into quality. At least that is what she hopes for. The author and her words. What a weird and strange dynamic. And she types and she types and she types. Now there is FRASIER on the telly. Not that she hasn’t seen this episode before. Laugh tracks galore. She looks down at the brown paper basket with the lace border. Her words are amassing, all these kinds of futile exercises in sentence constructions. And she types and types and types. 24 445, not bad, not bad. The words might be substandard, but at least they march on and accumulate. And 24 466 words it is. She looks up at the flowerpot, the terra cotta one with the green leaves, that is what she describes here, either the sitcom episodes or the stuff on her coffeetable, the flowerpot and the paperbasket, there is no plot, none whatsoever, but maybe it will construct itself, by magic, if one just keeps on typing. She starts staring at the monitor, letters appear like magic, now a macy’s ad on tv, a woman in a red tight sweater. Talks about American thanksgiving, which should be one of these days, and she types, types, types. The wordcount marches forward, and that is all that counts. It is chilly in here, and she types and types and types. 24 587 words. She rushes her words onto the keyboard, it should be possible to pass the 25 000 mark today. She ponders, tomorrow she should take the bus to UBC, she can use the computer in the library there, especially if she goes there in time, before the computer

75


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

room fills up. Her sentences march forward, nothing but reflections concerning the process of writing itself. The logistics of writing, the mechanics of typing. The author ponders, she should pause, she needs only 300 words more, that should be doable, she types, types, types. ANOTHER SCENE, ANOTHER SCENE A writer in a walk-up in some European city, typing away, typing away. AND STILL ANOTHER SCENE The author is out of words and out of ideas for scenes, she should go back to writing about art, about art exhibitions, gallery reports, the like, the like. Something footnoted, something sensical. The first episode of FRASIER is finished, the next one is on. And she types, types, types. She has 24 755 words. 250 words more, that should be easy, so it seems, so it seems. The author ponders, maybe she should write a story about a group of writers, she read a book like that a few months ago, it was really nice and she could not put it down. There seem to be lots of books like that, describing writers, especially unsuccessful ones. The author counts her words, she needs 125 more. How did people write when there was no wordcount icon? And she types, types, types. Somehow she messes up the wordcount, the little word count number is too small, she types, types, types. Her hand clamps up, her back is hunched over, but at least the word count marches forward and that is all that counts. She could describe the flowerpot once more, the milk glass that is empty, the brown paper basket. The screen with the word document. She could lament the word count once more. All her writing seems so very redundant. 80 more words, 80 more words.

76


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

She could make up another scene. On the telly, Frasier and another person are talking about writing. The author ponders, there is nothing left to say, nothing and nothing and nothing. This is how she fills the pages, whining and complaining. Not exactly the most marketable piece of writing. 40 more words, 40 and she will be done. 15 more, seems doable, seems doable. 9 more. Her fingers cramp up, so does her neck. And 25003 it is. Time to call it a day, she weaved enuf words 4 the day. -

--

Another day in the Richmond library, the author made it thru the snow, somehow ended up here in front of this very computer, the one with the small sticker that reads BH-DRC13. BH should be short for brighouse because this as after all the BRIGHOUSE branch of the Richmond library system.. The author uses as many words as possible to describe something, she has to add to the wordcount, thus it is so much better to fill the text up with a lot of fillers. More adjectives, more verbs, more of everything. More is more, there have to be produced 50 000 words by the end of November. Bigger tombs, they sure are better. Especially because nobody really sits down to read them, all of them, all of them, short attention spans, that is where it’s at. And nobody gets paid for reading, except maybe interns in publishing houses, and writers themselves. People who have to write crib notes and the ones who have to fashion book reports. The author types, types. Somehow this text slithered into a minitreatise, a wanna be treatise on the current state of publishing and reading and the like, there is a paper in there somewhere, somehow. The kids next to the author, at the two computer stations to her right are playing some kind of game, that seems to have a lot of blue and a lot of snowmen, or so it seems, so it seems.

77


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi

The library is green now, well, it has green walls to be precise, it used to be different, there was this long renovation in this place, but somehow it still does not look good, it looks so very suburban. The author ponders, her choice of words is not good, slightly offensive, richmonders will not buy her book, but, hey, who will, who will. The author’s writing seems to be so very substandard, not the right kind of words, not the right kind of commas, horrendous syntax, that kinda thing, that kind, that kind. Rejection letters, rejection letters, the writer, the author, living silently in rejection land, the author that can’t can’t. and she types types types. I think I can, I think I can, well, seems more like I am sure I can’t. and the day marches forward, snow outside, winter in Vancouver. Someone laughs in the back, and save and spell check. The kid next to the author talks to his computer, and she types and she types. Types some more, how many words, ah, how many words, the laugh in the back, once more, once more. A very scary laugh, without high notes and low notes, weird and strange. The author types, types, words and words and words. 25 470 of them. Time to pause this, time to go to richmond center, time to stand in line at tim hortons, time to have chocolate milk with whipped cream and little chocolate blocks on it, time to have a triple chocolate donut, time to clog up those arteries, time to keep triple bypass surgeons in business, a triple chocolate donut for a triple bypass surgery, and she types, types, types. Her little booky wook, not as well read as the original booky wook. And she types and types and types. There are only 37 minutes left on this computer station, she should read thru this, make some alterations and SAVE, and saVe. A Saturday in November, that is how it is that is how it is. Nothing special, as of yet, as of yet. Words amassing, amassing. For now, for now, for noW.

78


muse

nasrin khosrowshahi ---

79

some kind of boredom  

this is the forerunner to city, city

Advertisement