6.25.2009

Hitting the Wall

The other day, I tweeted this:


And the thing is, I wasn't kidding. I am bored. Although "writer's blocked" might be a better way to put it.

For at least ten years, maybe longer, I have been kicking around ideas for my very own Great American Novel, but I can't ever get anywhere. Basically, I have two stories in mind: one involves setting a car on fire, and another involves buying a boat and/or an island. One of these is a drama and one of these is a romantic comedy: I'll let you choose your own adventure here. In my head, and sometimes even on paper, there is a general outline, characters, sentences, dialogue partially written.

But when it comes time to actually write everything out, to get it all in page and paragraph form, I end up with a fat load of nothing. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I push, I never really get past the first chapter or so, never get beyond the first 5,000 words. The most I've ever been able to commit to is two and a half chapters -- in one attempt, I managed to write the first and last chapters, and part of the second, all told about 20 pages, but I ended up scrapping everything after about a week.

Last year I even tried to participate in National Novel Writing Month, to maybe give myself a kick-start and some virtual community support, but ... well, let's just say it didn't end well. In fact, it didn't even end at all: I only actually wrote anything for about three days, pretended to give it the ol' college try for about another week, and then gave up completely on day 10. Because I suck, and because I have the attention span of a toddler gnat on amphetamines.

I want to blame MTV, the Internet, ADHD, the New England Patriots, high fructose corn syrup, the Palestinians, NATO, the Communists, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Roger Clemens, red dye #40, the slow and painful death of the newspaper industry, Wal-Mart, and/or drug addiction for my focus problem, but I don't think any of these are what it really is. I don't even think it's an attention span issue -- that's just what I say it is, using my usual "armchair crackpot diagnosis" method. I mean, I've been playing the same character in World of Warcraft almost every single day for the past year and a half; I am pretty sure I am capable of commitment when it suits me.

Truth be told: I really think the problem is that I have totally unrealistic expectations of the novel-writing process, creativity, and my own level of talent.

Personally, I think some of my tweets are absolute genius. Like this one, or this one, or maybe this one. Hmm ... OK, so maybe you had to be there. But some of my blog posts are good: I am really proud of this one and this one. It's just that when I get into something longer, something with multiple pages and chapters and an actual plot, it's then that I hit the wall and crash and burn and start speaking in clich├ęs like all those dudes from SportsCenter and jumping Jesus on a pogo stick do not even get me STARTED on Linda-fucking-Cohn.

So. Anyway. I'm going to think about an attempt to maybe get my shit together and try again. But I've decided -- see the tweet above -- that this time, I want my story to be bad. I want it to be god-awful. I am deliberately attempting to write the worst novel ever written in the history of literature, and I include The Lucifer Gospel* in my points of reference.

And this novel is beginning like this:

I can tell you this much: they day I got fired from my job was not the best day of my life, no matter how much I want to pretend that it was. I mean, yeah, I hated that fucking job, and I hated my dickhead boss, and I hated his stupid wife, and I hated that shithole apartment in that bumblefuck town, but nobody wants to get fired. Not even if I did go down in a flaming tantrum, right in the middle of a staff meeting, immediately after my ex-manager and his cunt of a wife tried to take credit for my work.

Honestly, I can't recall my exact words, but I'm pretty sure they went something like this: "You cannot be serious. Really? Are you serious? What kind of dumb-ass motherfuckers are you two? You didn't even bother to take my name off the PowerPoint slides, you goddamned fools! Honest to Christ, you are the worst fucking thieves in the history of ever. This is bullshit! I can't believe this. You cannot be fucking serious!"

Or something like that. Needless to say, I never made it to the end of the meeting. And I didn't know we even had a security guard in that building, but apparently we did, because he escorted me to my car. They claim that they FedExed my things to me, but they're a bunch of filthy liars. I couldn't possibly care less about most of that stuff, but I still want my "Gryffindor Quidditch" cap and my Magic 8-Ball back. Probably they're lost in the Seventh Circle of Postal Hell with my last paycheck, which I never got either.

(Oh, and there will be a lot of cussing, which will not actually improve the quality of the story, but it will definitely improve my word count, because I know a lot of swears.)


* I will not link to that book, because it is honest to God the worst book that I have ever read in my life, worse even than Hemingway and Faulkner, but it's on Amazon if you care to look for it. I strongly recommend against that course of action, however.

7 comments:

  1. a little too much swearing for my liking, but i like where you're going with it. where are you going with it? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. well, it's not going to be ALL swearing: she just got fired, so she's mad. it will simmer down, i promise.

    and ... i don't know yet. that's the problem. but james suggested the name of "brooks cracktackle," and i believe that i am going to make him a drug dealer. so there will be a drug dealer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. that sounds like a pretty good opening paragraph. I would at least read the chapter and see if I liked it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. i am still working on this: haven't gotten past this bit yet, but what comes next will not be as anger-intensive, so it's not as "cussy."

    ReplyDelete
  5. rachel you can write you are entertaining and maybe it should just be about normal life minus some of the swearing you do have talent see you later mom love

    ReplyDelete
  6. i like it. I like the cussing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. i'm a fan of cussing myself. dammit.

    ReplyDelete