Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Talk Thursday: Mea Culpa

I don't know what the hell is wrong with me.

Well, actually I have quite a list. But let's keep it simple, shall we? This particular I-don't-know-what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-me is about that whole writing thing. That I'm supposed to be doing while I'm waiting for the Powers That Be to get done reviewing all that stuff I did since New Orleans and maybe, possibly decide it has merit and should Go Farther. Best thing to do while waiting to hear back about your book? Write another book. Everybody says so. Somebody says so, anyway. Well, mea culpa for being an overachiever, but I seem to be writing about four of them at the moment.

Honestly, I don't know how that happened. It's gotten to where I just open a file and start typing, having no idea which one I'm in or where I am in it. I read back over the last couple of sentences, say "Yeah, that sounds good," and then just go. No attempts to avoid crummy sentence construction or adverbs or all those other pitfalls that lure the unwary. No attempts to think, even. Just typety typety type type type. And whatever comes out is what comes out.

Some of you may be familiar with the #amwriting hash tag in Twitter. When I actually remember to use it, it's a beautiful thing. Once you type in the hash tag, you can click on it and see folks around the world who are #amwriting at the same time you're #amwriting (sorry if that helping-verb thing is bothering you, but it's not my hash tag.) Part of the #amwriting deal is that you're supposed to tell everybody what you're working on, though, and for me it hasn't been that simple. Nothing I'm working on (and I use the term "working on" in the loosest way possible here) has anything remotely resembling a structure yet.

Other folks who use this #amwriting hash tag seem to know what they're doing. "#amwriting a blog post." "#amwriting Chapter Three of my novel." "#amwriting #amediting section two so I can move on to section three tomorrow." That kind of thing. If I tried to do that it would sound something like, "#amwriting something or other about Loki, Skadi, statues coming to life in downtown Dallas and the potential apocalypse our mothers warned us about." Yeah. That would sound great on the back of a book jacket. Or better still, "#amwriting about why Buddhists would make lousy ghostbusters, a crazy cat lady, a former alcoholic and her gay would have been husband." Sure, why not? "#amwriting something or other about a missing musician and a great big lawsuit involving a roof collapse, which are somehow related, but I haven't figured out how yet." Yeah. Or how about, "#amwriting something I shouldn't be writing about the thirteen-year-old daughter of one of the protagonists of the book I wrote that hasn't been published yet and may not ever be, so this is probably a colossal waste of time, but if it ever is, this'll make a nice follow up, " Oops. That's probably more than 140 characters.

Honestly, is it too much to ask of your subconscious that it be able to fit the basic concept of whatever the hell you're writing into a Tweet-sized block of logic? I mean, seriously, would that kill it? F. Paul Wilson was so good at this in New Orleans. He got The Keep down to three words: "Nazis and vampires." Even Damnable, which got wordier, didn't faze him much: "Special Forces soldier who knows he's going to Hell discovers he's the only thing that can keep the rest of the human race from going with him." (Actually, that might have been Schwaeble. Well, it was neatly put, anyway.) And even beyond the whole neat-parcel-of-a-concept, how about having one of them running at a frick'n time?! I'm scatterbrained enough as it is, people! I do not, repeat, do not need what little time and energy I can devote to writing yanked four different directions. I just don't, okay?

But, ultimately, it comes down to this. I'm the owner of the brain. I don't believe in muses or the breath of God blowing through my fingers or any of that claptrap. Not that I understand how it all works - I'm happy enough that it does - but somehow I'm responsible for it all. So, ultimately, it's my fault that I'm scatterbrained. And I can't for the life of me figure out why being scatterbrained holds any advantage for yours truly. When I'm scatterbrained at work, I take a frick'n Ativan. I can do that. I have a prescription. But there's no prescription for scatterbrained writing.

Except, of course, more writing. You know, just keep cranking it out and hope it makes sense eventually.

Oh joy.


Cele said...

I'm trying to think of a good reply... but I just want to yell...

"Tread water and breathe Jen."

I hope it sorts itself out. Soon.

Jen said...

Me too. Right after the Rangers win the pennant. Oh, wait a minute...

Cele said...

ha ha ha