Friday, October 2, 2009

Literary Laxative

I'm blocked. Here's the problem. I have the memories of things that happened long ago. The reality in my head. A tome of images and conversations and emotions. But when I go to write them down, I get lost in the crafting. You see, when I TELL these stories, they coem out kinda funny in a dark and sad way. I TELL stories the way both A. Burroughs and Mary Karr WRITES them. With humor and eloquence and animated gestures. When I go to write the stories down, they change. This is why I feel justified in saying, "I'm not a writer." I'm not. If I were, then I could get these freakin' stories down on the page in essentially the same way as I do when I tell them verbally. You would be horrified and laughing your ass off at the same time reading them. Instead, the reader FEELS the weight of the story. The importance I've given it. There's so much PRESSURE.

That's part of the problem. Another part is detail. Every day, every hour of my pregnancy was important in forming what happened in the end.... to me. But not every reader wants to know the long detailed story about me meeting a guy on a Greyhound bus and making out with him because he told me that I looked like a model. UNLESS I write it in a way that horrifies and makes you laugh. The hard part about doing THAT is that I have to ADMIT what a dumbass blonde I was back then. And I don't even really have any problem with that. Not really. I guess I'm just having a hard time putting into REAL and accurate WORDS just how much of a dumbass blonde I was. Or, I'm having a hard time doing it while horrifying you and making you laugh at the same time.

THEN there's the problem of TIME. For one, this story happened 15 years ago. Though the images are still clear in my head, though I remember nearly every conversation word for word, when I go to write things down, I have a VERY hard time not infusing my present into the past. BUT, according to the AMD/JMC (aka the agent), I need the book to read as if it happened not so long ago. So, I have to do BOTH. TRY to tell the story as I know it happened, without trying to turn the Joelie that stars in it into the Joelie who's writing it (vice versa?), WHILE AT THE SAME TIME making the reader feel it just happened. I ABSOLUTELY see the value in this. And THIS is the finished product that I've always wanted... Memoir that reads like fiction. Where the details are real and accurate but alive. But..... I'M NOT A WRITER!!!!!!

I'm a storyteller. I'm a chick with a bunch of fucked up stories to tell. Stories that could help people. Stories that need to be told, simply because I survived them fairly unscathed.

When this story, the story of my pregnancy, happens, I'm a dumbass blonde. I'm weak, naive, desperate, lonely, lost and well, stupid. I really was all of those things. But in the writing, I can HEAR my dialogue becoming too sophisticated. Even my THINKING is more sophisticated than I know it was at the time. Okay, I know that some of this is inevitable, of course, without me traveling back into time and just interviewing my dumbass blonde past self. BUT, IF I make Then Joelie (TJ) THINK and ACT like Now Joelie (NJ), then the character in the book is not just naive and lost, she's just plain fuckin' crazy. Because no one in her right mind (and I do assume here that I am currently in a state of somewhat "right mindedness") would have made the mistakes and bad decisions that TJ did. I would NOT make those same mistakes and bad decisions today... But the WHY of that is because.... ding ding ding... I ALREADY MADE THOSE MISTAKES (well, TJ did).


Another problem is that I feel rushed. I have put pressure on myself to finish this thing by a certain date because for some reason I feel some urgency. Like, I have to get it out on paper and the way I want it before I die. Or if I wait too long, the agent will forget about me. Or if I wait too long, the subject will no longer seem timely OR Heaven for-fuckin'-bid someone else write a similar story (and probably BETTER than my OWN).

The other reason I feel rushed is that I have three full days in which I can actually write. So, on those three full days, I tell myself I had better get crackin'... Clock in, sit down, tap out the message onto the page, for crying out loud. But I don't. I feel so pressured and rushed that I don't do anything. I'm starting to see the book as "WORK." I know, it SHOULD be my work. I SHOULD be able to sit down and do it. I mean, that would make Sam feel better, probably. Make him take me more seriously as a writer. Make him see that I mean it when I say I want to get this book done. Problem is, because I'm thinking of it as work, it's becoming WORK to write. *sigh*

And to add to the wah wah wah, I have OTHER THINGS I want to do, believe it or not. I WANT to freakin' WORK OUT during the day while I have some child-free time. I've pretty much maintained my weight but I can feel my general "fitness" slipping. I also want to READ... I mean, have you noticed how long it took me to read my last book (granted, some of that had to do with the pace of the book itself)? I WANT to research for the farm--find local wheat, sugar, milk and meat sources so that we'll have a place to get those things while we get our own farm set up, etc.

I SHOULD schedule my day, shouldn't I? Write in the morning, work out in the afternoon, read in between household chores on Wednesday and in the evenings, research for the farm on Sundays. What do I end up doing? Nothing. Eating and playing on Facebook. Revising a paragraph or page here and there, but not doing anything than trimming the fat. I'm not BEEFING up the manuscript at all (to follow with the analogy).

Things are going to have to change if I want to "have it all," huh? I'm going to have to find some discipline somewhere (got any I can borrow?).

I'm hoping this trip will help. What? You don't know about the trip? Oh yeah, I haven't WRITTEN IN HERE IN OVER A WEEK, have I? LOL! Wellllll, because our real estate agent represents both us and the seller, she can not be our Power of Attorney (conflict of interest). So, one of us has to fly over there for the closing. Since Sam has to work, that "one of us" would obviously have to be...ME! *happy dance* And even though I could fly over there and take care of things over the weekend, I'm leaving a full week early and using the trip as a WRITER'S RETREAT (not that I'm a writer or anything, *wink*). I'm going to hole up in the hotel all day. I'm going to write WHENEVER I WANT. I'm going to work out at the hotel gym or the Y *gives Lisa puppy dog eyes for guest passes*... I'm going to swim in the hotel pool and sit in the hotel hot tub. I'm going to eat the hotel breakfast and partake of the nightly hotel cocktail hour. I'm going to have coffee here and there, lunch here and there and a dinner here and there with friends I didn't get to spend too much time with on my last trip. And then, I'm going to drive up to Lynchvegas and close on my new property. AND hopefull get a "green" sheetrock wall hung in the basement (to cover the one wall that is covered in insulation) before I leave to come back here. AND, no matter WHERE I am in the book, I'm going to PUT IT DOWN on Halloween night and start NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) at midnight.

*sigh* Okay. I feel better now. I know, I know, I haven't updated you on what's going on over here. About Lolo's birthday and how the kids are doing in school (cuz there IS stuff to say about that), etc. but I can't right now. I'm taking the day off to hang out with friends. To clear my head. To flush out all negativity. To just.... chillllll. Monday, I'm gonna start my new schedule. I'll keep you posted on it, yeah? I might come in here later today or tomorrow to catch y'all up on the Frenchness, but for now I'll say, taker easy.

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