You know, sometimes I get tired of writing these. I mean, I know my legion of screaming fans - both of you - would commit violent gory suicide with chainsaws and the business ends of automotive engines if I ever stopped, but there are days when I ask myself what the frick'n point is, anyway. This is a dangerous question for a Buddhist to ask about anything because, of course, there is no point. To anything. Ever. And once you start thinking about that, it's only a short period of time until a miniature black hole takes root in your brain and your entire head starts to slowly implode, kind of like the planet Vulcan did in the first Star Trek movie but without the great f/x. And we all know how that ended.
(Okay, I admit I have no idea how that ended. That movie confused the living sheep out of me. Was Leonard Nimoy supposed to be the "old" Spock from our timeline, and Zachary Quinto was the "new" Spock because he hadn't passed through the space/time paradox, or what the hell was going on, on that ice planet? I kept expecting a guy in a blue box to materialize and explain the whole thing in a British accent, and then somebody named Luke to get into a fight with an abominable snowman. No, don't tell me anything about the new Star Trek yet. I haven't seen it. Hopefully this weekend.)
The irony is that I always have time for it. Thursday, six o'clock, me, laptop, Afrah. In between gobbling pita bread and guzzling lemonade (except during Ramadan, and July 8 through August 7, thanks for asking), I knock out sentences like I do it for a living. Which I do, kind of. Most of them start out like "COMES NOW GUS GOODGUY, Plaintiff, and complains of WILL WEASEL, Defendant, and for this his Original Petition will state as follows..." I also write in the morning before work. Two to three pages of whatever junk is knocking around in my head, and it's generally a lot of paranoid delusional self pitying sissypants crap. What I don't seem to have time for, and this is really weird considering who's saying it, is actual, you know, writing.
I am working on a novel, you know. (Or maybe you didn't. Okay, I'm working on a novel. Now you know.) I'm only about 30 pages in, but that's 30 pages that didn't exist before. What's ironic, though, is that totally unlike Mindbender and her two older sisters, this one is, uh, actually hard. As in, it's not just flowing out of my fingers like so much, uh--what flows out of fingers? I guess nothing, unless you chop off the ends. So let's just drop that simile like a lead balloon and move on. What I mean is it doesn't soar. It just plods along, and I sometimes feel like I'm breaking rocks on the freeway just to knock out the requisite ten pages for the next meeting of my writer's group. (Did I mention I'm in a new writer's group? I'm in a new writer's group. Now you know.)
I avoid working on it. I tweet. I flip through Alternet and Huffington Post and RawStory and RHRealityCheck and lots of other Web sites filled with great stories about this great country and the great people in it, and how the rich are greatly helpful to the poor and the poor have a great chance of becoming rich, and everybody respects everybody else's civil rights and it's all just great. Then I mess with my cell phone, play a few rounds of Words With Total Strangers, say a few things on Disqus that I'm bound to regret in the morning and move the word "plant" up and down and all over the screen for no apparent reason. Maybe I get a sentence or two in there. I'm likely to erase the sentence ten minutes after I typed it and start over again.
Is it writer's block? No. I don't believe in writer's block, and I didn't believe in it when I was unmedicated and writing in 18-hour overnight binges of 70 pages at a stretch. Man, I miss those days sometimes. (Joan doesn't, though.)
What I think it is, is the Curse of the Dryer Lint.
See, Mindbender is a very dark trilogy. There's a dangerous assassin and an international criminal and a psychotic would-be general and a petrified accountant and a lot of other Really Bad People in it. Some of these Bad People do Very Bad Things. Some of the Good People, for that matter, get pushed into situations where they, too, have to do Very Bad Things. (The insane mother, for example, jumps the corrupt detective in a hospital corridor and kills him by injecting drain cleaner into his carotid artery. He expires in less than seven seconds. I was particularly proud of that one.) And maybe because there was all this darkness tumbling around in my head like clothes in a dryer, I started to build up dryer lint that could only be cleaned off the screen if I wrote something completely ridiculous.
So I did. And it was fun.
And I'm trying to do it again, here, and it's not fun at all. The only thing I can see I'm doing different now is not writing something very dark at the same time.
So maybe I need to start something dark. Or go back to something dark that I was working on but quit working on because it was too dark.
Which reminds me, I have a meeting to get to. I can tell because it's getting dark.