Through the commitment to this weekly dispatch, which I intentionally missed for the first time last week since February, I came to understand that something about writing cannot be willed. I've tried it. I have a list of ideas, I scheduled specific topics into a calendar, I sit down to write most days, and yet, a lot of the work of writing seems to be about waiting, half suspended in the air. And slowly turning the head and looking out of the window.
I've been thinking about interludes in music a lot and how little attention they receive, even though some can bring forth such energy and punch that they eclipse their fuller, longer and better-rounded siblings: songs. Interludes are described as half songs, or little songs, but that is simply a belittlement of half-assed ideas, of contextual provision, of taking a break, as all of those are the purposes of interludes. It's as if we expect even music albums to be productive and never spare a moment, only to deliver a well-rounded song after a well-rounded song.
I've tried it. I have a list of interludes I want to write about but something about this structural approach does not cut it. I structure and plan so many things, that perhaps the writing could be a respite. A silk satin pillow to rest the head on. In her monumental essay collection A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, Siri Hustvedt presents the unconscious as the place from which ideas rise. It's a boiling pot of past and present and future, sensory stimuli, genetic load, perception that straddles an unidentifiable border between bodily and mind awareness. A certain will is applicable - you can think of a character in your novel intensely throughout the days, for example - but often the creative solutions seem to come out of nowhere, in a state of relaxation, and in a course of action completely unrelated to creativity (such as washing the dishes or commuting).
An interlude exists for a reason and it has something to say.
Just this week, I'm waiting for the creative solutions to come and refuse to will them to rise.
In any case, the interlude I got stuck on, because it rivals all other interludes, is the start of Lil Kim's debut Hard Core. Technically, it's an enterlude, although the word does not seem to be in much use at all. Merriam-Webster defines it as an “obsolete variant of interlude.” I had no idea we live in a time when taking a break, or indeed, even starting something with one, is so derided!
In Intro in A-minor, a man gets into a taxi and is driven to an adult movie cinema called 'Hard Core'. He enters, buys a ticket and popcorn with butter. The sounds coming off the screen, presumably starring Lil Kim, quickly melt into the sounds of the guy jerking off and whispering Kim's name over and over, until he shouts, work it, bitch!
You won't catch your breath, because with not a single second to spare, this scene is followed by Big Momma Thang, a song bigger than life, made for grinding on the dancefloor. It's all purposefully hyper vulgar, but as the rest of the album shows, Kim doesn't give two hoots about being a conceptual album-porn star. She has the final laugh. Either way, the energy of the transition from the interlude to the song is unexpected and unmatched.
And that's how creative solutions sometimes feel.