The Journal of Failure – Week 21 of 2019



  • Goal – 100p / day, or 700 / week
  • Achieved – 738/700 – Success!

Writing – I Remember

  • Goal – 7 / week
  • Achieved – 8/7 – Success!

Writing – Small Projects (Fragments, short stories, etc)

  • Goal – 21 minutes / week
  • Achieved – 26 minutes/21 minutes – Success!

Writing – Large Projects

  • Goal – 28 minutes / week
  • Achieved – 41 minutes/28 minutes – Success!

Getting myself out there

  • Short story reviews – Two (Five total for the year)
  • Submissions – One (Eight total for the year)
  • Rejections – Zero (Four total for the year)
  • Acceptances – Zero (Zero total for the year)


Well, I gave myself an easy week.

I suppose it is nice to succeed at an easy week, right, friends?

The main ‘win’ here for me this week was to truly benefit from late night writing and reading.  I struggle, it seems daily, with the idea of whether I wake up early or I stay up late.  As my daughter becomes a touch older (she’s seven months now), it is becoming clear that staying up late works best.

So, each night this week I stayed up until about midnight, and very often I would read and write.  It went well!  I certainly wasted quite a bit of time, but I gained some momentum with both reading and writing.

One of the books I wasted 150 – 200 pages on was Murakami’s 1Q84, which is proving itself to be a simply horrendous book.  Murakami is, it seems, something of a slimy old man, one who is devoted to the breasts of women and their propensity to masturbate and/or enjoy sex.  It’s really quite something, because his fixation on genitals and pleasure isn’t written particularly well, or even particularly poorly.  It’s just there on the page – like a lot of his writing.  At least Updike gave his schoolboy fantasies a bit of a vocabulary polish.  At least Roth tried to connect his fondness for sex to cultural and political movements in America.  Murakami?  No, female characters just take off their clothes and look at their naked bodies in the mirror.  Sure, sure, sure.  We’ve all been there I guess – but multiple times when in your late twenties?  I don’t know.

I’ve reconnected somewhat with Hermann Hesse, which has been nice.  He works best in the small realms, the short stories and novellas, though I do have an immense fondness for The Glass Bead Game.  I expect I will be reading quite a bit of his work over the next few weeks.

And Rachel Cusk!  I finally have the third book, Kudos, from her recent trilogy.  She is an author I came to late last year, and I hold her up alongside Karl Ove Knausgaard, which I promise is actually high praise because, well, she’s a woman, and womens’ stories are less told, or at least less read.

In terms of writing, I have been working on a short piece which is intended as a bit of a departure from my ordinary writing in that it involves gambling, violence, and the stink of the underworld.  We’ll see.  I’m enjoying writing it, though I don’t quite know yet if it has any kind of legs.

The ‘long’ writing I am doing is, basically, a complete and total copy of Roberto Bolaño’s Woes of the True Policeman.  I am using the general framework to basically just start moving my pen across the page, and that has been reasonably successful.  The intention is to use it as a guiding mechanism to write and then eventually to jettison all of the copy-work and go out on my on.

Or, more likely, to use it as an exercise to start writing properly.  At the moment I don’t mind much as long as I am writing, which I think is the primary goal at this stage. I’ve gone too long without writing.  I feel it, my muscles ache for it.

Each week I aim to provide an update on the Journal of Failure.  These reports are intended to provide an impetus for me to achieve as much as I should/more than I do, and also to provide a further ongoing record of my life, as it is. 


2 thoughts on “The Journal of Failure – Week 21 of 2019

  1. You made the right choice! I’m going to power through for some unknown reason, but I expect this will be the last of his books that I read. I don’t have much interest any longer.


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