Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What It's Like

Unemployment alternates between sucking and ruling. It rules insofar as I have all this time in which to write and sleep, my two favorite things to do in the world; but it sucks because I not only have no money, I have no superstructure to give me a feeling for what I'm supposed to be doing next.

I've been trying to make myself write every day... and it worked for a couple of weeks, I got a lot of really solid work done on Worst Luck. But this week, when the work is being done but the product isn't up to snuff, I get discouraged and upset. I started work on "Chapter 7 Part 1" on Monday, I started work when I got up at ten and went at it in stabs and spells until midnight, when I couldn't sit any longer; and the whole thing just went all out-of-control. So on Tuesday, since I couldn't see what was wrong with "7.1" but couldn't get past the blaring fact that there was something definitely wrong with it, I went back and polished the two parts of "Chapter Six" and posted that as a complete chapter.

Once that was done, I read over what I'd written on Monday, and finally had to just throw it all out. There was gratuitous sex and pointless description and everybody's dialogue sounded mean and angry; and I tried out this conceit of looking at the developing situation from the murderer's point of view, not naming who the murderer is but sort of giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what was really going on.

I finally decided that the conceit was just cheating, fudging the rules of detective fiction. But at least the courtroom scene was worth salvaging, and a few bits of good description, so though I deleted it from the Worst Luck blog, I saved it as a text document so I can scavenge its parts.

This is only a minor setback, but it was kind of painful, having to throw out work. It's not something I'm accustomed to doing... I'm the Queen of the First Draft, in college all of my papers were written all-of-a-piece and took very little conscious development; once I write something, it exists, and afterward only requires a certain amount of editing and polishing.

But the experience of blogging has taught me to relinquish lost work, when the computer would crash before I could save, or when Blogger's server would go down just as I was posting, or when posts would simply disappear for no apparent reason. When faced with the need to either replace the writing or give it up to the ethers, I learned that some writing is important and some writing isn't... and when it's important, re-writing it is good exercise.

I'm going to give myself a day to think about "Chapter 7" without writing anything, maybe it will percolate in the back of my mind and take on some weight and direction. In the meantime, I need to deal with real-world issues: doing some laundry, washing some dishes, finding my digital camera so I can take pictures of the jewelry I want to sell and get them posted on eBay, sorting through my books to see which of them can be sold, and so on.

Not being able to shop hasn't been as difficult as I feared it would be. Though I frequently shopped myself into a financial hole while I was working, the joy of the purchase outweighed the broke-ness that followed; but now, the indefinite nature of my broke-ness drains all the joy out of the purchase. I gave in to a shopping urge the other day and popped into Blockbuster to get a video, and bought Blade Trinity (the scrum-diddly-umptious Ryan Reynolds, all buffed and butch, duh-rooool!)... and I didn't get the slightest thrill out of the purchase. I actually felt a little bit ashamed of myself.

But it's the structure of having to be in a certain place at a certain time that I am really starting to miss. Though I have a sort of routine here, where I get up around nine and go to bed around twelve, and do a bit of writing every day, I don't really know what day it is sometimes, and I feel sort of drifty and unfocused much of the time. I mean, today doesn't feel that much different from yesterday, or tomorrow, and it's difficult to focus on real-time issues like appointments and bill due-dates when real-time doesn't exist for you.

Dissipation: that's what this feels like. I feel like I'm sort of dissolving and floating outward like a graham-cracker in a bowl of milk.

And when they're over, I'll think of these unemployed days as a blissful Elysium. Some people are just born to complain.

So anyway, I think I'll go do some laundry now, make an appointment or two, and take a nap. I hope you're having a lovely day, and I'll talk to you again soon!

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