Sunday, January 16, 2011

the one where I start the conversation in the middle

So, this novel I'm writing, one of several. This novel isn't just like a mountain I can't climb, it's like a mountain range. I read the beginning and roll my eyes, curse my clich├ęs, my sentence fragments, how I ramble on and on and on.

I've started it in the wrong place, I think.
I should cut out all the Dear Jinks letters though they are my favorite part.
I should start with the snakes in the shower scene, the groceries out of the trunk scene (no, no, that's desperately dull).
I should start with a run through a college campus. Oh, wait, I haven't written that scene, didn't know I intended to write it until just this second.
I should write the car crash scene. The only way I will know if anyone dies in the crash is if I write it.
I should write the tattoo scene, finish the entryway scene, the exploding spiders scene, the "girlfriends make up and forgive each other the betrayals, become allies against the demon" scene.

I should do all these things, though maybe I shouldn't write "should" and should write "could" instead.

I could do all these things.

My question to myself is, "Will you, Elizabeth? Will you? If you do, brava. If you don't why won't you? Do you hate it that much? Has this novel become your personal, creative demon? Has it stolen you writer's soul?"

Oh, heck, I don't know.

The good part about today is that I have been working. I've also been laundering sheets, folding towels, fixing myself real food.

I want to walk, but it's too cold out.

I don't want to walk in the mall where people smell like old winter and dirty snow, where people see people, walking.

I want to walk in my neighborhood, trip on sidewalk cracks or tufts of grass growing up between slabs of concrete. Grass that grows even in winter.

I could probably write that sneaky "demons growing out of the cracks along the driveway and snagging the woman who is weeding" scene that I thought about writing years ago.

So many scenes that I could write. Or have I written them all?

I sometimes think that what I need to do is gather up all the bits and pieces of this novel, not just the first half, but all of the bits and pieces, find someone who won't charge me more money than I have (I have no true income right now), beg them to look through it, to help me figure out how to piece it all together before I, well, die or lose interest in myself.

Or the story.

This story.

It's a metaphor, this story, a symbol of my greatest failure.

It's also supposed to be a shitload of fun.

I am no literary writer.

If anyone aside from the few friends who have peeked at the first half reads this novel, I only mean for them to be entertained.

Great literature changes us.

I don't mean to change anyone.

What I do is selfish. I write because not writing (as I've written before) would mean a kind of death, like not breathing.

I take a deep, deep breath as I write the above sentence, furrow my brow. Could I live without breathing?

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