Live-Blogging Le Grande Experiment!

I don’t speak French, so I don’t know what the equivalent of experiment is (Exupéry?) and you’ll simply have to imagine me saying the above title in a bad French accent, as though you are watching a B-movie which, at any time, could spin out of control, which it can, and perhaps should.

What is the experiment, you ask?  Well, I’m glad you did.  No, really, because otherwise I’d be sitting here for the next twenty-four hours waiting for that very question.

The experiment is this: Stay up for 24 hours in my studio at Jentel and… well, that’s about it.  Not much more to it, other than staying up and in the studio and seeing what happens.  In fact, this experiment isn’t even very scientific: there’s no control, there are no predictions, hell, there isn’t even a placebo, not a single goddam one!

I’ve always been infatuated with the idea of structured production in a limited amount of time (such as those plays written, directed, and performed all within a day) and sometime in the distant past (Hey there, seventeen-year-old me!) I wrote a play in a weekend and some playwriting programs (Brown?  I’m looking at you.) have every student write a play over the summer including the same set number of items/characters/dialogue (okay, not time-constrained, really, but still an inspiration) and here I am, in the middle of nowhere (is the edge of nowhere farther away from anywhere?) with no restrictions on my time and, darn it (I thought)


So, there.  It’s begun, and it’s 8:44 so only 1426 minutes to go!

Check back in as the day goes on, as I’ll update progress, or lack there of.  The only major work I have to accomplish is a commission from Megan titled “The Trouble-Men”.  If you have any other ideas for what I should be doing, let me know comment-wise.

Bahn vonage!

10:56 am

Finished one postcard (Hi, Laura E.!) and about seventy or so pages in the James Merrill omnibus that someone gave me during my MFA and that I have yet to finish, but might (will?) today.  So far, the day has grown normally, but that’s too be expected (I suspect), the goal to keep the normality up for twenty-four hours rather than the normal four or five.

I’ve been hearing planes a lot in Wyoming (they only cross overhead four times a day), but yesterday when Yaminay went to release her beast (a Frankenstein tumbleweed spraypainted orange) into the wild, a jeep passed by that sounded exactly like a puddle-jumping prop plane.

12:30 pm

Finished a commission that Megan is responsible for.  She sent me a photocopy of a picture she found in the Museum of Fine Art’s library and told me to do something with it.  Apparently, that something is a horror story called “The Trouble-Men.”

I’m almost done with my second cup of coffee, almost about to eat an apple, almost ready to finish a postcard (Hi, Laura C.!), almost eager to jump out to the mailbox, almost desperate to go to the bathroom, and almost ready to start something new.

By the way, one of the people responsible for this mess I’ve gotten myself into (and you are witness to) is Sean Wills, a writer who has done several of these marathon events (complete with live-blogging) in the past.

4:43 pm

A talk with the girlfriend (Hi, Megan!) and a nap, along with much reading of James Merrill whose collected poems I am almost finished with.

Box Elder Bugs are having a threesome on my window.

Found a Merrill-translated fragment from Apollinaire that sends curious thoughts through my brain:

And I hear my steps return
Along the paths that no one
Has traveled I hear my steps
All day they go by there
Slow or swift they come or go

6:14 pm

I finished a poem entitled (which is so much better than simply “titled”) “Ode to the Male Honeybee.”  So you can play along at home, here is the Hugh Raffles (via Insectopedia) quote the poem sprung from:

…and the few hundred fat male drones with big eyes whose sole purpose – so far as we know – is to have sex with the queen on her single mating flight and who, ultimately, as winter approaches and food resources dwindle, will be dragged from the hive by the workers, expelled to starve or, if resistant, stung to their death.

Also, here is a picture of some music I am not listening to.

I especially like Mr. Creepy from 98 Degrees checking her out on the sly.

9:35 pm

Okay, here’s where it gets hard.

Is anyone out there?

No, that’s not the hard part.  The hard part is looking out this window in front of me and seeing nothing.  No wide-open landscape.  No sun glorifying the ground.  No thing.  Nada.  In fact, what I can see is myself, and darkness.  And you can’t really see darkness, so I guess it’s just me.  And sometimes a moth.

I finished Merrill’s Collected Poems and continued liking poems he made until the very end.  His punnish and honest “Rhapsody on Czech Themes” really took my fancy and locked it away in a hope chest I won’t be seeing for a long time.  He took it with him.  So much of Merrill’s poetry seems wrapped up in a sort of senseless description, the worst poems (to my taste) abstractions writ large.  But his best are delvings into his mind as he confronts and interprets the world around him.  And they are glorious.

11:35 pm

Hitting a wall of some sort.  Here in Whyoming, this is normally when my brain decides to shut down.  Took a break for crosswords, but I don’t think that was the right thing to do, six letters down two words.  Working on a play that was imagined two years ago but nothing since.  The imagining?  The title:

“Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo”

That does not look like a real word.

2:57 am

Quits, I am calling it.  I spent the last hour or so asleep in the studio-provided recliner (there for probably just that reason) but though I am awake at the moment, my usefulness has declined.  I am aware enough to write this, but little else.

Brave little toaster, toast your bread.

Oh go, just go to bed.

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2 Responses to Live-Blogging Le Grande Experiment!

  1. Brendan says:

    Oh man, I’m within the 24 hours, aren’t I? You’re sleeping when you should be writing something.

    In penance, you owe me a story involving a cat, mystical or mysterious signs, a truck full of pomegranates, and a cameo from a d-list celebrity.

  2. Andrew says:

    Okay, you win. You win. The story is not going to be any good (as I’ll have rested thoroughly beforehand) but it will be yours.

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