Friday, October 21, 2011
--GO AHEAD AND TAKE THAT TONE, I CAN HANDLE IT
…I am not that strong.
I’ve been struggling. Struggling again.
How often does this happen to you, if ever?
I’ve been spending a lot of time alone in this office.
Years ago, I used to pray for alone time because, back then, I was always surrounded by people, having to engage with them, stay on point, carry the conversation, have answers or ask questions if the conversation ever dipped, which it would, which it did if someone wasn’t steering. The only time I was ever beside myself was in a hotel room and I used to relish those moments. They felt almost sacred.
Now I have lots of time by myself.
Yes, the old adage is true: Be careful what you wish for.
Sure, a writer has to have alone time in order to compose, but sometimes the sheer emptiness of a day can weigh on your psyche in unexpected ways. It can weaken one’s will.
For instance, I talk myself out of things and into other things.
For instance, I’ve sort of flat-lined with my novel. Right there, smack dap in the middle of it, I’ve stopped writing and I’ve reverted to short form writing.
Why is that?
I think I tend to talk myself out of the story, out of thinking it’s readable enough or important enough or even interesting enough. I know I should be writing for myself—not for an agent or editor or audience—but still doubts set in.
Does that ever happen to you with your work? I mean, even if you’re not a writer, do you ever struggle in this way?
For me, I guess it’s about fear, dumb as that sounds. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll finish another novel and then have to try to get it published, living with the pressure of that wearing on my shoulders. Maybe it’s that or maybe it’s something else.
What do you think?
It’s 11 am and I’ve already written 1,200 words, but that was for two short stories, one of which was planned, one of which just came out of sitting here reading Brandi Wells’ collection, “Please Don’t Be Upset.”
One story is about a barren, overweight wife who, in taking her life back by finding a sperm donor and assassin to kill her husband, is suddenly hit with a stroke.
The other is about a man who comes home and can’t find his wife anywhere. Eventually, he does locate her, though, inside their washing machine, alive, having put herself there in order to cleanse her past sins. It’s called, “The Spin Cycle.”
So, are these stories interesting or important or readable enough? Are they more so than the novel? No, I don’t think so. I think they’re quirky but intriguing and easy—for the author and reader alike—to bite off and chew without investing a whole lot. One can get in and out easily.
So, yeah, I guess I’m just mind-fucking myself.
Do you ever do that? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one, but please don’t lie just to make me feel better.
Okay, here I go now, back to the novel. Yep, here I go…