Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Heap Happy Hump-Day, Honey!

Wednesday, O Wednesday, woeful no more...but busy as a one-armed paper-hanger.

Well, I haven't been writing much for three reasons...the first is that I have had absolutely nothing to say. Nothing pleasant, nothing unpleasant, nothing witty and nothing dull. I'm a blank. The second is that my wrist is acting up again (not carpal-tunnel, I think it may be arthritis), and I can't bring myself to endure the pain of typing in order to write about nothing. And third, work has been ridiculously busy all week. But today I managed to do a bit of multi-tasking, and in between bookkeeping and banking and letter-writing and copy-making and file-finding and phone-answering and calendar-jotting and information-chasing, I managed to finish a web project I've been wanting to do for some time now...putting my unfinished novel online.

Actually, it's not 'unfinished' so much as it's sort of floating about in the shallow end of the pool. I've been working on it for ages, and I know the ending pretty well, but I am having a hard time focusing on filling in the middle. And of course, I am no run-of-the-mill procrastinator...not only do I put things off, but when I do get around to them I never pick up where I left off but instead start all over again. This is the fifth start of this particular story...and every time I get stuck I start another project, and then come back to it when I get stuck on the new one, and then start it all over again because I hate the tone or there are too many logistical problems or it just looks stupid.

See, I actually finished this novel once...long long ago...for this story was in fact my first writing project ever, the one that got me interested in word processing, in getting an education, and in becoming a novelist. It was about nine years ago, I think, when my father came to live with me, my sister, her husband and children in an apartment we shared here in Oakland. He brought his computer with him, and it sat in my sitting room, just begging to be played with. I wasn't working then, anyway, and my days were boringly I sat down and started jotting out a story I had been making up in my head for a little while. A month and a half later, I had a thirteen-chapter, 250-page murder mystery.

It sucked, of course, being not only a first effort but also the product of a shoddy public education...after I finished the story, I started it over again, trying to make it make more sense. Then I started to college and learned more and more about much more that I decided I had to completely junk the plot and move the characters into a more grown-up situation. During the course of a creative writing class, I developed two of the main characters even further, and started a new novel about them. When I transferred from Laney to San Francisco State, I took another Creative Writing class, and developed one situation between these two characters and a third brand-new character that became the basis for yet another novel, one that I thought had a lot of potential...but I couldn't force any structure on it, and it kept getting longer and longer without actually going anywhere.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the staying power to get through these books...something else always got in the way...particularly after I started work, and no longer had huge gaps of school vacations to play in. And I had great difficulty concentrating for very long at a time on the subject. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the characters I was working with were too close to me, I simply knew them too well...

So I went back to that old plot, the silly murder mystery with the fifteen characters in a mansion on a private island off the coast of Maine. And I sort of parodied the characters I had developed in my latest fictions, creating a similar set of people with certain things in common; I added in some rather funny characters with silly names, and a bunch of other characters based on porn stars and the like. Unfortunately, though I enjoy a good parody, it's not in my nature to write one. Soon the 'parody' characters became even more real and believable to me than the characters they were meant to parody. Curious.

Well, anyway, I am hoping to jump-start my writing again by (hopefully) getting some feedback from my blog-reading audience (all four of you). One of the greatest spurs to creativity is to share the results with others...that's why creative writing classes are so cathartic...they don't teach you to write, but they provide a dedicated audience, expert feedback, and a lot of walls to bounce things off of. So to that end, I am posting my little opus, Stag Island. Right now it will just be a link in this entry, but I will perma-link it later so you can check on any progress I've made (hopefully, posting what I have so far will inspire me to leave it alone and move forward, instead of incessantly tweaking with the parts I've already written).

So anyway, tell me what you think...I don't have comments yet (I'm waiting for my redesign and personal site launch, which should come in the next month or so, before I do it), so just send me an email, or an ecard, or a messenger pigeon, or whatever.

Thanks for your attention! And have a great day!

This is a computer-painted image of the house on Stag Island, which hasn't been introduced to the story as posted, but which I'm really proud of...clicking on it will take you to the first Chapter...I warn you beforehand, it's very wordy.

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