1. I began two other posts. One was about my last A1c (5.4, which could be better than yours!) and the other one was about Kurt Vonnegut. But I’m going to write this post instead, dammit. I started writing a story about 15 months ago. I let it freak me out a little for a while because there were some eerie parallels to my life that weren’t predictable. I started admitting it was probably a novel about 7 months ago. Since then I’ve been building it up and tearing it down. I like to think the current version, which has been knocking around for the last couple of weeks, is the keeper. It doesn’t feel like a moving target anymore, which is huge. Current word count: about 4500. Total words in service to this: I don’t want to think about it. I really don’t. It’s a lot.
2. I’m not writing a novel because I think I should write a novel or because someone else thinks I should write a novel or because novels sell better or because I’m at a certain point of professional whatever. I never do anything because it’s good for me, or because I ought to do it. I do things because they keep me from feeling like crap. Not having a project makes me feel like crap. I’m writing a novel because that is what in my head, and nothing else has come along that has made me want to set it aside.
3. I wrote almost nothing but flash and short stories for almost ten years. There are many reasons for that. Parenthood is one of the easy blames. So is being a product of the music video era. As I’ve said endlessly, I think in units that are like songs. I hear songs, and I want what I write to do what they do. One example: Yes, we all hate Coldplay, but someday, I want to write something that does what this song (not this video, close your eyes) does at 2:33. For a while, I listened to the thirty seconds before and after obsessively. It’s not fun, hiding an obsession with Coldplay.
Another example: The “ewww” at 1:52 in this video (which you can watch):
I am discovering that thinking like this for a novel is…problematic. I refuse to believe it’s impossible to put it into service for a novel. But I am definitely starting to realize I have to cut it off sometimes, and that is so much more difficult than I thought it would be.
4. The other day, I was reading a chapter in a novel. The chapter was in third person. For the first time since I started mine, I thought “Hey, what if you tried writing in third person?” So I did. And everything worked so much better. This is where I remind you I have one of those MFAs everyone gets worked up about. It seriously is a miracle that I don’t drown in the shower.
5. I love getting to stay in one world, with one group of people, none of whom are me, for a long time. I think about them constantly. I think about where they go, what they do, what they wish for, what they regret. Everything, all of it. That took a lot of effort, getting to that place. The part that I didn’t see coming: I’ve walked away from the real world a little bit. One of the things I have always loved about the flash fiction community is that in some ways, it provides ongoing dialogue. I’m not doing as much in it right now, and I can’t. Sometimes, that makes this trip stupid-lonely. Still haven’t figured out what in the hell to do about that. Any suggestions?