Friday, October 1, 2004

36,664 words and some talking out my arse

  • BOOK UPDATE: I feel like I'm spinning my wheels a bit. I'm not 100-percent sure what's wrong, but I've been finding myself falling into the trap of "and then this happened, and then this happened." You know how a Bill Bryson book tends to go on for 30 to 80 pages too long? My storytelling keeps taking that form, so I have to delete it all and start over again.
    I guess I have sort of ("I guess I have sort of" -- how's that for definitive thinking?) lost my confidence in my ability to write a book that anyone would ever want to read. I know when this feeling started, and I've been trying to shake it off ever since. It's just that some people's opinions mean more to me than others, I suppose.
    I will sit down and write at nights, but there's this feeling in my head: "What are you doing this for?" I mean, if I'm writing something and not sure it will be worth your time, what's the point of my writing it? (Oops, with that statement I have just made my blog obsolete) If I'm writing a novel that I want people to love, that I want them to fork out money for, I have to love it, too. And I do love this story, but ever since I had a conversation with a friend of mine about the possibility (or lack thereof) of the book getting published, I've felt unstable.
    I'm going on a bit much here. You may want to skip to the next item.
    Growing up, while everyone else wanted to be something practical, I wanted to be a stand-up comic. Really. I kept notebooks of material (Why do vacuum cleaners have headlights?), and studied comic styles with that sort of extreme geekiness that music magazines dedicate to the "brilliance" of Morrissey.
    When I was 18, I went an open mic night at a now defunct club in Minneapolis. My set could only be described as painful. Not painful ha-ha, painful ouch. A bit like the Tony Danza Show. I stared at a spotlight through my set, so, thankfully, I don't have the image of disappointed faces burned into my memory. But while I didn't see anything, I didn't hear anything, either. There was only the oppressive roar of uncomfortable silence. I would rank it up there among my life's most traumatic experiences.
    I didn't think much of it at first, but it slowly wore away at me and took away all the desire I ever had to be a stand-up. Now, I try not to think about it too much. But suffice to say, I lost any confidence in myself that I have the ability to reliably entertain people that way.
    Sometimes I worry that my novel would earn an equivalent response. I have a good friend, Heidi, who gives me a sort of grimacing look of pity when I say something dumb. It's a look that seems to say, "Bless your heart, you're trying so hard, but you are just so stupid." (In her defense, she insists that the has never actually made this face, and assures me that if she has, my interpretation of its meaning was incorrect) I worry that is how my friends would feel; embarrassed for me.
    As I tap away at my novel I will start to think, what if this just isn't good enough? What if turns to maybe. Maybe turns to probably.
    It's just something I have to work through, I suppose. I really hope that I will.

  • Of course, it's stupid to get myself wrapped up in knots about this. The fact is I am not a good writer. I am the purveyor of lightly entertaining formulaic crap. Step right up and read some crap!
    Today my editor accurately summed up just about every column I write:
    Headline: I Think Rachel Is Hot, And Love Her
    BODY: Something funny happened.
    It was even funnier because I have a hot wife who I love a lot and who puts up with me.
    Funny ending.

  • This is the only thing I will say about Thursday's debates: I, too, would like to put a leash on Bush's daughters. But perhaps that's just my own naughty fantasy...

  • According to USAKilts, the tartan of my kilt is Stewart Mourning. But according to House of Tartan (which I'm inclined to believe more because they have more patterns), the tartan of my kilt is Stewart Black Clan. I'm sure your life is richer for that knowledge.

  • Man, I want to set fire to a 6-foot straw bear.

  • There's this song by Joss Stone, called "You Had Me." It's an acceptable little ditty, but I am utterly confused by the lyrics. At one point in the chorus she appears to sing: "I realized in time the Mayans are not right."

  • If you don't read Jenny's blog, you're a damn fool, and you missed out on this.

  • Modern life is rubbish.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Frustrated Writer Joins InAh yes. Writers' Wobble. Like Writers' Block but where you go past stopping completely and start going backwards.

    I have been writing what has mockingly been termed 'Hollywood Blockbuster' for about two years on and off, and I've started over so many times I've never actually got past about ten pages. Pathetic. I think it's a good story, but it's long and complex and it's hard to know where to start.

    I've accepted that it will never be read or made or published in any form. And this does throw up the 'what's the bloody point, then?' question, which in turn leads me to stop writing for about two months. Then I start again but in a different way.

    Anyway, it's talk like this that led to a small creative meltdown culminating in the hasty deletion of my much-missed Old Blog:

    Reader: What's the point in blogging? Is stoopid etc.

    Me: I just blog for laughs, I don't care if no one reads.

    Other reader: Well what's the point of having comments then?

    Me: Actually, I don't know. *deletes blog, cries, orders tequila*

    So yeah. I forget what the point of this comment was now. Other than - Hey! - screw potential readers, just write the bastard.

    Oh, and thank you for plugging my blog. Fools!