Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The first few words are always the most difficult. Of course, the definition of first controls the pain level: story, page, paragraph, sentence. The further along that spectrum I go, the more the pain.

After writing the first half of the below story, I drove home. A big mistake. An hour and a half rainy commute met me (mostly the fault of a blinking red stoplight on the arterial road I drive through—would it cost that much to have a traffic copy dispatched during rush hour to help move traffic on the broken lights?), which I followed up with a decadent Italian dinner at the local restaurant. While I’ve complained about the blandness of the food, after eating there three times, I’ve realized that it isn’t that the food is bland, it’s that the restaurant does not use salt. I ordered an excellent Chicken Parmigian, and ate most of it. Even though I left most of the spaghetti on the plate, the serving size (along with the ample bread) was too much for me, and I’m sneezing from my stuffed belly.

It was during dinner that I decided to transform the story from a simple nighttime conversation, into a farce. (I haven’t done it yet, so I don’t know how it will turn out.) Okay, as I went back over the story, I realized I couldn’t turn it into the farce. I had planned in the restaurant to have the wife ask probing questions, but interrupt the husband with her own thoughts on every statement. Something that I thought would be funny in a sad sort of way. I realized, as I read it after getting home, that that wouldn’t work without rewriting the entire story.

I decided that the goal would be the husband trying to open up to his wife, and his wife not being sure if she really wanted to know what he really thought. They had been married so happily for so long without her knowing that she feared the knowledge might threaten the relationship.

Scratch that. I wasn’t able to make that fit either. I’m not sure what the goal or conflict is yet. I’ll keep writing and see if I run over something.

As I edited my story, the food coma struck me. It’s my own fault, of course. I could have taken half my dinner home and saved myself the tiredness of a carbohydrate-laden meal, but, instead, I scarfed it down, and now I’m staring at the screen, trying to breathe through my food-clogged esophagus, and find the energy somewhere deep in me to write. I know what you’re thinking: wouldn’t it have been better if you used this small burst of energy to add to your story instead of boring us with your reasons for not writing. Righto, my friend, righto.

After more distractions, I finished my leftover chocolate (I’ve resolved not to buy another chocolate bar—I eat way too much of it), and now I’m ready to either finish this story, or reach 2,000 words for the day. One way is better than the other, of course, but I can’t be too picky on days where my attention wanders. (I can’t even blame the lack of caffeine since I drank a yummy mocha this afternoon.)

Okay. I don’t know what the point of this story is. I lost it and never found it again. I should have turned it into the farce, as I had planned. Oh well. At least it’s short, not that that’s a good excuse. I’m a bit disappointed that I lost the handle (or concentration). I keep doing this with the stories (or proto-stories, if you will). I’m also disappointed that I haven’t found the balls to continue one of my earlier experiments. Maybe “balls” isn’t the right word. I keep telling myself that it’s because I haven’t found something with a hook big enough to keep me interested. This never stopped me before. I’ll think about giving it a shot tomorrow (how about that for a promise?).

Statistics for the day: 2,039 words fueled by a tall mocha.