Where we’re going we don’t need roads…or coherent thought

Jacob’s Ladder

Something is very wrong here.  Or maybe it’s just Tuesday night before my deadline.   I usually like to get a first draft knocked up by tonight, then bring a print-out to work and give it a read through in the afternoon, then really work it over Wednesday night before setting it up to post before going to bed.

Only that plan is going haywire for some reason.  I’m just not finishing my story.  I don’t know.  I have my ending and I think I’m only like a scene away.  But for some reason I’m not working.  This is partly because I’m just stupid tired right now.  I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been getting up early to work on this story rather than staying up late.  So right now it’s around 10:00 PM and things aren’t really making a lot of sense.  So maybe I should just shut up and try to get some sleep and wake up tomorrow and finish this and everything will be back on track.

Only I really really want to get this done.  It’s just not flowing well at all.  For that matter, coming on here to write a blog post was actually fairly painful.  It’s like my brain is rejecting the notion that I have write.  Even picking a photo seems wildly difficult.  It’s possible I’m on strike with myself.  Which is a bizarre concept.

Stupid Tuesday.

Happy Halloween?

Pumpkins

So I think this is going to be my Halloween story.  I didn’t exactly plan it like that.  I didn’t have the slightest intention of writing a themed story.  And, to be honest, it’s not like it’s all that themed.  It’s just more dark than I usually go…in a sort of fun way.  And since the next story after this is due on November 1st, and I’m a stickler for dates, this is really my only chance to do a Halloween story.  Even though this is sort of just another story that happened to get a little mad-scientist on me and so I’m cramming it into a theme.

On another note, I feel like I’m in a stakeout movie from the seventies right now.   Lots of coffee, Chinese takeout…I’m wearing a leisure suit.  Okay, really the fast approaching deadline has just made me turn to coffee at night which I never do and I felt like Chinese tonight, but it’s a lot more fun to pretend like I’m on a stakeout.

Or maybe I’m having really intense urges to cram things into pre-formed motifs.

It is clearly time to go night-night.

Water and aspirin

The problem with turning 29 is that you’re not 21 anymore.  I didn’t even go out in any spectacular fashion this past weekend.  I stayed out too late, granted, but it’s not like anything was ingested outside of beer.  Just beer.  That’s all.  And the whole weekend was pretty much shot.  I’m getting old.

Anyway, at some earlier point a few months ago I wondered if I was getting cocky because of this project.   I can say with quite a bit of conviction, that I am.  Maybe.  How’s that for conviction.  Basically since my whole weekend was torpedoed I didn’t get any work done on my story.  And today was a complete waste, and I’m sitting here right now opting to be a lump on my couch rather than try to get through a paragraph or two of fiction.  And it’s because I’m being a baby.  Sort of.  Truthfully I think writing on a hangover is just about the worst thing ever and I think the results are usually not so great.  Although, I used to think writing a story in two weeks was impossible and I’ve proven myself wrong there, so it’s always important to keep in mind that I don’t know anything.  But I’m pretty sure that since I can’t keep a thought straight in my head that probably means any attempt at writing a story now would be disastrous.  So really I’m postponing my start to tomorrow in hopes that this will result in higher quality.  Which is preposterously cocky.

The “Maybe” part of that, however, comes from the fact that I, for the first time in while, have a plot for my story instead of just a feeling.  Which is nice.  Which I think makes the going easier.  Which is why maybe I’m not being cocky and I’m just making the safe choice.  It’s hard to say.

My point here is that I’m going to stop typing because even my non-fiction is gibberish.

I’m guessing even “Mid-Sneeze Elvis” would have gotten votes.

Guitar

This is a post for all the writers out there. If you’re not a writer, if you just enjoy watching me suffer on here, then this isn’t for you. Also, if you are one of the wedge-people, this isn’t for you either. I define the wedge-people as those who seem to think that the stories come out of anything other than me. Wedge-people tell me that I think too much about strange things. That I shouldn’t worry so much about what color jacket one of my characters is wearing, or that I’m just trying to get attention when I walk away from the group and start talking to myself because I’ve got a bit of dialogue that’s just on the verge of solidifying and I know if I don’t get it right then and text it to myself I’ll never quite get it perfectly. I call them wedge people because they seem to think it makes sense to jam a wedge in between me as they see me and the stories as they read them. Basically I get the idea sometimes that they think the stories are beamed into my head by aliens. All the odd little things I do to make sure I capture a thought right, those can’t be how I go about writing a story. Surely I just sit down at the keyboard and 5,000 words plop out while I sit perfectly still. Then I detach and never think about writing again until it’s time to sit down and plop out another 5,000 words. In their mind there’s a wedge between the two processes. Between the life and the work. Between the writer and the writing.

Okay. That sort of snuck up on me. Apparently I have some weird reservoir of anger concerning wedge-people. Interesting.

But here’s my point. For you writers. I have a deadline in one week and I have nothing. And what I’m doing is sitting here researching the Elvis stamp vote. And I have absolutely no idea why. But this is what I’m doing. So I’m going to do it. You follow? Don’t try and mold yourself to fit anyone else’s idea of what an author is, and don’t try to schedule your time to fit anyone else’s idea of what an author should do. You’ve got to be able to wander into the weird stuff on your own terms and on your own time. And never let someone who doesn’t write convince you that the stuff that takes place at the keyboard is the only important part. Granted, the typing part of things is pretty high up there on the list. I’ll be swapping over to my ever-open Word document at some point tonight to type something…anything.

So, yes, the actual typing is important. The only thing more important than the typing? Well that would be what you do with every other second of your life.

And who the hell voted for Old Elvis?

Can’t I just give them a thousand words?

 Picture for a short story

I’m in Facebook now.  I’m not real sure what that means, but I’m there.  I’ll be spending the next month figuring that out.  This whole project has been a continual process of creating horribly intricate and complex riddles that I then have to solve.  I mean, have you ever seen the Google Analytics page?

At any rate, I’ve started the process of finding a picture of myself to post online.  Such a fun task.  I know the internet has come a long way and everybody does it now and blah blah blah but I still feel like there’s three steps.  There’s me putting my picture online.  Then something bad happens.  Then the third step is me trying to convince my pimp that I just need a little more time and I’ll be sure to come up with his money.

Also there’s the fun fact that I tend to only get my picture taken at parties and weddings, usually after a couple of drinks, so I wind up looking like a camel trying to do an impersonation of Rodney Dangerfield.  Actually, I have a decent picture, but I’m wearing a tie and I’m not sure that fits in with the whole “Author” image.  You people should revere me and only picture me in bold poses with stubble on my face and heads of animals mounted on my wall (thank you, Ghost of Ernest Hemingway).  I mean, you seeing me in a tie could undo thousands of hours of work I’ve put in trying to come across as cool.

And then, of course, there’s going too far the other way.  Which is where I dig up a picture where I look just like someone who’s trying really really hard to look like an author…glasses I don’t need, wind blowing my untucked shirt about in a flurry that my devil-may-care attitude doesn’t notice because I’m too busy staring off at the horizon.  I actually have a picture like that.  You’ll never see it.

So I have no idea.  Maybe I should just pick one where I look good and forget about it.  It’s just the tie is sort of bugging me.  Oh well, I have months to agonize over this.  On the other hand I only have a week to write my next story.  And I’m absolutely nowhere with that.

Well I’m glad that mystery is solved.

 Writers Block

I’ve still got nothing.  And it’s starting to not seem like the kind of “I’ve got nothing” situation that should be joked about.  Sort of seems like I should start panicking and staring at people on the subway and pretending to order cups of coffee so I can eavesdrop on conversations and walking blocks and blocks out of my way so I can continue listening to conversations only it turns out it’s not really that interesting a conversation and that the lady’s boyfriend is just cheating on her.

I thought I had something on the subway today.  I found a girl to stare at.  I do that.  It helps me come up with characters and stories.  I stare at people.  I’m quite good at using my peripheral vision.  This girl was pretty attractive.  I mean, it’s not like I was staring at this girl just because she was attractive.  I stare at everyone.  I’m not a creep.  Okay, the first couple of seconds I might have been staring because she was attractive.

Look, this isn’t about me.

I’m so screwed.  I also chase down strange bits of knowledge and play around with Google trying to find answers to questions that have always sort of been in the back of my head.  Because of their threads, a screw has about 300 times the holding power of a nail; the threads increase the surface area that the wood can hold onto.  I think.  Also the Phillips-head wasn’t invented just to make things complicated, flat-headed screws work fine until you start trying to use power screwdrivers at which point it becomes difficult to keep your screwdriver in its slot and that cross-hatch pattern is needed to make sure it stays in place.

I’m so screwed.

But can he play “Hot For Teacher” on a Glockenspiel?

Glockenspiel

I walked out of the subway at Columbus Circle this evening and I heard a bagpipe playing “Rock and Roll Part II.” If you’re having trouble placing that song, imagine you’re at a sporting event and the home team has just scored. Then you hear Ba-da-da-DAH-da-da. HEY! Ba-da-da-da. Ba-da-da-DAH-da-da. HEY! Ba-da-da-da.

Hopefully you can place it mentally and play it in your head. Then you can try to imagine walking out of the subway and hearing a bagpipe playing something that sounds familiar until you realize it’s that song.

HEY! Ba-da-da-da.

A quick visit to Wikipedia reveals that this song was a hit by Gary Glitter. I’m not a PR whiz but I’m pretty certain that when the Table of Contents for your Wikipedia page contains entries for “Child pornography arrest and conviction,” and, “Vietnam under-age sex arrest and conviction,” that this is not a good thing.

Ba-da-da-DAH-da-da. HEY!

It does explain why I haven’t heard the song much at sporting events recently. Apparently it’s somewhat looked down upon by the NFL to keep it in your stadium rotation.

It doesn’t explain why someone would actually learn how to play the thing on a bagpipe.

HEY! Ba-da-da-da.

I’m absolutely nowhere with my story. If you hadn’t guessed.

Emergency exits are located in the rear of my head

snail in short story

I feel like I missed something. Last week, or last story anyway, I said that I was going to diligently monitor the process and point out exactly when my story came together. I’m not real sure that happened. I mentioned billiard balls a bunch of times and an old guy. Then I mentioned that his wife was dead. Then I saw a walking idiom and then I was done with the story. I don’t know. Maybe that’s enough for you guys. Doesn’t feel like it to me.

I was really going to lock it down and give you the step by step, but it sort of slipped past me…which is weird since I’m the only one involved. You’d think I’d notice something like a three thousand word story coming into existence inside my head. Maybe not.

So I guess I’ll try again this time. I swear to you that I’ve got absolutely nothing right now. Zip. Plus my birthday is next Monday which means I’ll be celebrating next weekend which means that I’ll probably not have a lot of free time which means that oh man I just stressed myself out. When am I going to write this thing? And what is it going to be about? Oh god I’ve got nothing! Panic! Panic! Quick! Open a Word file. Type something. Anything. A talking moose. A dancing hot fudge sundae. Lover’s quarrels and revenge filled loners. A dancing hot fudge sundae who can’t handle that his girlfriend the talking moose won’t support him in his dream to be on Broadway? Sure! Yes! Something! Anything!

Falling asleep on my laurels

Path to Nowhere

 

I’m sleepy and unfocused and my feet hurt. Luckily I don’t have to finish up a story tonight. I just have to start thinking of a story that I’ll be finishing up a week and six days from now…when I’ll be sleepy and unfocused and my feet will hurt. But for now I only have to think about writing a story. So much better.

What will it be, what will it be? I had an idea a few weeks ago that I didn’t really pursue because I sort of thought I was joking but it stuck in my head and now I think maybe it isn’t such a horrible idea. Namely, the Wheel Of Genre. I could rig up some sort of random number thingy and put various genres around it and…I probably don’t need to explain this, do I? Either the basic concept of a Wheel Of Genre makes sense to you or it doesn’t.

But as fun as that sounds I don’t think I could even begin to put it together. Judging by this post I’m not real certain I should be operating a keyboard right now.  You see, I don’t have a story to finish up tonight. That was last night. And I’ve got a week and six days to figure out the next one. But tonight?

Tonight’s my night off.