Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why "Four Each Day"

If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all. (John Cage)

James Kolchaka, back in 1998, started drawing a four panel comic, detailing aspects of his daily life. He called it American Elf.

Ten years later (always late to the party, I am), I found it, and fell in love with it. As I tend to do, I got obsessed. It's one of the hallmarks of my personality, this obsession. I find something I like, and I want to devour it. Give me something I like to eat, and I'll eat it every day for months. Drugs, sweets, books, fitness, TV shows, information: you name it. If it tickles the adrenal cortex, I am into it.

Until I'm not.

Which is the main purpose behind my blog "Four Each Day". I wanted to do something until I wasn't obsessed anymore, and then keep doing it, just to see what would happen.

(There's also a bit about sentence construction which, if you're interested, involves trying to make well-formed, clear sentences that compress as much information as needed (and not one bit more!) into the available space. This is writer wonkery that I try to conceal, but I'm not always successful).

I want to make something that changes my life, because whatever we do everyday, we become. I am a writer. I want to be a better one. I want to make my living writing. The only way to do that is to write everyday.

There's (at least) two kinds of magic - the kind that comes from the heroic leap, the upward surge of energy, the explosive arc that burns bright across the sky, that's one kind.

The other kind is the slow accretion of effort: the water on stone method, the soft root of the plant that splits the sidewalk, the constant wind that scours the mountain clean.

I spent a lot of time trying the first. Four Each Day is part of the second.

1 comment:

  1. I wish Cage's recipe worked for work.

    Share your proclivity for obsessions. Am often a little sad when one has run its course.

    Programmers practice the same optimisation discipline as writer wonkery: write the least amount of code that expresses the intent of the program. Unlike writers, though, we get to craft languages to suit the problem domain.