Monday, March 17, 2008

My Writing Life

Writing a novel has got to be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, harder than the time I had to take off a pair of tight rubber pants I had bought to go clubbing.

They never tell you, but rubber pants are a bitch to take off and I got rubber burns all over my thighs. It also makes you sweat like a motherfucker. I danced all night in that outfit. I was dressed to kill, especially those who were close enough to smell my b.o. Seriously, by the time I got home, I smelled like my armpits, crotch and Amy Winehouse's hair went to hang out at a homeless shelter. I still got laid though.

Anyway, since the January, after I went to the Writing The Unthinkable workshop, I had started writing a novel. This is the first novel I have started writing since I was in college. That last one was a Harlequin Romance-type novel because I thought that I could easily make some money churning out book after book of the same story, just changing a few things here and there, along with a new title. Wrong. I got totally bored after chapter three and the heroine had twelve orgasms the first time she had sex with the hero and his nine-inch throbbing manhood.

It was really hard to sustain interest in that kind of fiction writing for me because there really wasn't that much drama I could muster, especially since I couldn't possibly give the heroine gonnorhea. No publisher would've touched that.

But writing this new novel, has brought back a lot of the anxieties of writing and creating fiction, mostly because I have a tendency to use real life events as a basis and I worry about how my friends would react if they read about it. Would they think I really thought the way I did about a certain event? Would they understand that writing fiction is like trying on different points of view in an event and just because I may have a character react one way, doesn't mean that I would do that myself? But I thought it, therefore it must be true.

The other problem is that writing is such an intense activity that my daily life just interferes with this process. The last thing I want to do after making dinner and doing dishes is to sit down and write. I would much rather do something less stressful and intense like mixing music or writing blogs or crank calling my grandmother.

I have an almost physical need to go somewhere else to write, like Starbucks, except I hate the fucking pretentiousness of writing a novel at Starbucks. It's like so fucking cliché, you know. There I am, with my laptop, looking so fucking smug, typing away, as if I were so much better than everyone else. But I brush it off. Besides, nobody would think that of me, especially since I am going to be wearing my beret. I pack my shit up and head over there.

I am totally productive when I am at Starbucks. I don't know what it is about the place, but I am able to get a lot of writing done there. It's just amazing that I could sit there, elbow to elbow with fifty other hacks, working on our novels that will never be published. I feel a sense of camaraderie in our shared experience. Soon, all our efforts will end up in a publisher's recycle bin. It's sort of comforting to think that I'm not alone in world in this.

It's crazy I know, but the urge to write and create something is stronger than this knowledge of the futility of it all. Even if nobody ever reads my novel, I can take heart in the fact that somehow, somewhere, I can pay $2 at an open mike night and inflict my writing on people.

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