Here I sit waiting for my fingers to make something happen. I’m getting used to this waiting. Over the last few days, I’ve waited out inspiration in a proverbial battle of wills. The silent echoes in my brain were the clear winner as I sat, staring at the screen, writing little except pithy statements like:
from yesterday’s entry (not posted):
It’s late and I’m lying in bed wondering why I didn’t write today. My rut continues. Fuck ruts. I’m going to write something. Anything. And that is why you fail. I must meditate first. (Har!) That should help me.
My bones ache and my muscles scream. I have no stories.
or Monday’s brilliance (not posted):
I’m afraid of silence. I attempt to fill each moment with distractions and unremarkable remarks to hide from my thoughts. I speak in luscious description to hide that I don’t have anything to say. In reading an article about Edward Albee, playwright of, among many other plays, the 1966 play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” the author describes Albee’s writing methods: he allows his subconscious to do most of the heavy lifting. Albee doesn’t write until he feels his subconscious has finished with the characters and story. He uses an exercise to determine when it’s finished: he’ll imagine a scene with the characters outside of the story he wants to tell. If he can create the dialogue with little effort, then he knows he’s ready to write the play. If only my subconscious wanted to work that hard.
My writing feels incomplete because it is. I know almost nothing about any aspect of the character, except, I’ll pretend, the narrator, who is always me at some stage in my life. Even writing what I thought would be an essay on my writing is turning out to be nothing, since there is nothing here I want to talk about. Talk about frustrating!
I talked briefly about a Yogurt story I was working on. I’m no longer working on it. I’m not working on much of anything. I had a story idea as I drove into work today. I wanted to write a story about a lazy man, his lazy family, and his decision, at the end, to get up and do something to rid himself of his laziness. Naturally, the thing he does is rob a bank. It is this twist that makes it a story, as opposed to another, in a long line of boring, David’s life stories. Of course, now that I put it in synopsis form, the chances I’ll write it have dropped asymptotically to zero.
Last night, as I tried to sleep with my eyes open, I thought about Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories. He uses lots of characters and an interesting (if somewhat repetitive) setting. His stories aren’t much longer than mine are, but he manages to say something in them. I want to say something as well. And I want to introduce more characters, more complexity, more something.
My initial try at writing the bank robbery story was a failure. I had the idea, I even dreamed up some of the interactions between the main character and his family (which would form the first layer of laziness). When it came time to put some of those thoughts into words, I balked (balking is to stop short or refuse to deal with something; it’s not just a baseball term as I thought).
New paragraph starts here. What I figured I’d do today is throw down lots of words. This is something I’ve not done in a while. I’m not worried about the word count (although I am checking it for this entry). I’m more worried about the time I spend tapping away. I don’t think that I’ve given myself enough time lately. I’ve described this feeling before. When I get in a funk (and this is, by at least my definition, a major funk), I feel like there’s a large wall in front of me, and as I throw myself against it, I run against it and bounce off, or fall as I try to scale it. Unable to get over or through, I give up, throw down a few paragraphs to give the illusion of pain, and forget about writing for the day, satisfied that I did something to justify my writing aspirations. None of it—the justification, that is—is true, of course. Giving up on writing after a feeble fifteen-minute effort, even if I’m not inspired, is not helping me in my Quest.
After writing that last paragraph, I slipped on a peel. The distraction didn’t last long, but my butt still hurts from the fall. Hell, if it wasn’t for the shot of yummy caffeine I drank before sitting down to write this entry, I would have pulled another two paragraphs-type entry. And, for the record keeper, this still doesn’t qualify as a story. It’s more a consternation about consternations. Ain’t this a hoot?
As I start to write part of the story, an external distraction hits me. I’ve pushed through the low energy part, and while I have lots of energy, the jury is still out on whether I’ll be able to use that energy for anything besides this discussion of energy use. And, yes, I know ‘the jury is still out’ is a terrible cliché.
I managed to create a first scene for this awful robbery story before storming home for a quick bike ride. I’m now back, showered and fed, and hoping that I have a bit left in me for more storytelling. Okay. I wrote the first part. Kind of. I won’t provide any excuses or an explanation. As too many people at work say, it is what it is. I’ll get back into this writing one of these days.
And, yeah, I got a laugh out of the 'part 1' part, too.