I’m frustrated. Writing is proving difficult, and I don’t have any hint as to where I’m taking this story. I need a climax here that lasts more than three seconds and I’m starting to think I’m not going to get inspiration from Ulysses. Whether you’ve got it picked as the greatest novel of all time, or find Lord of the Flies a little more your taste, or if you’re British and have it coming in strong at #45 just behind The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (which, duh, how did everybody else forget about that one), you’ve got to admit it’s not exactly a hero-villain drama. The rising action cannot easily be traced even if you do know by heart the structure of The Odyssey. I mean it’s supposed to be an ordinary day, and here I am trying to find conflict, trying to find drama, those things we praise in fiction nowadays, and my stomach is empty and I need a hug.
Then I see Wong’s latest article on movies over on Cracked and at first I think he’s taken Debra Monroe’s forms of fiction class, the arguments are simplified but kind of line up with hers, from what I recall of it. Then he cites the Wikipedia page on myths and mythology as his evidence for the purpose behind all storytelling. Which was a fail, but that’s what he was really talking about, stories and storytelling, not so much movies (except for the pop culture bit in the middle). And if I’m not trying to do something modernistic, I am trying to get into the head of the audience in the ways he’s talking about, I am trying to provoke and create emotion and affect a belief structure, I am trying to have all the coincidences lead to a climax, I am attempting to differentiate between the good guys and bad guys, and my problem here is that I don’t want to resort to the usual tactics. I don’t just want to give my protagonist a dog. I don’t want to rely on any of these tips and maneuvers and subtle but effective manipulations. I don’t even really want to write this kind of thing. It feels like, honestly, I’m a slave to the conflict, I have to create a conflict or else there’s no story, so says my loud internal editor even as I’m writing.
And if I’m remembering Debra’s advice anyway, I need to turn that fucker off. He’s no good for me, especially if I know that when I edit it later it’ll all still be there for me to hate on. But I’ve got nothing driving the process, then. I loathe those stories that fill out the description quota like a checklist, that start with the visuals and move on to what the characters can hear and then finally what the room smells like, because that’s how you’ve gotten in deep as you can go, just shy of having your narrator start licking everything. I’m not about to go there. And when I just let them talk to each other they don’t do anything else, I mean not even dialogue tags are coming out, and they’re not progressing in any fashion, they’re not furthering any agenda or speaking for any reason at all beyond I tell them they have to. I mean it’s one thing to get modernist but another thing to just start writing down words in sequence from the dictionary.
On a side note, there’s this young hippie here who stares at me and probably everyone he makes incidental eye contact with. Yesterday he sat by himself with his guitar over in the corner of the outer seating area for just, like, hours, playing a song to himself every half hour, waiting for someone to find him progressive and emotional, and today he’s in the same spot but with a mustached friend and just now he walked up to the coffee house and saw me through the window and just latched onto me, I’m inside and he’s out in the sunshine so he had to squint, had to glare at me to see anything, but knowing this doesn’t make me want to fight him any less.
I want the fight to happen. I want all fights to happen, and knowing that I’ve never written a good fight scene in my life, verbal or otherwise, is also depressing. The only good fights I’ve ever been involved in either resided completely in truth or completely in fantasy, in nonsense, and neither option has proven any more revelatory or enlightening because they didn’t change anything. The pressure just built up and was released back to safe levels and started building again. Every time. Which is why I’m leaning towards punching the hippie in the face and maybe knocking his stupid goatee off, because that at least would be a result. I don’t even want to say anything to him first, I just want to punch him in his stupid teeth.
Everybody wears sandals around here. Like a bubble bath could break out at any second. Maybe it will and no one’s telling me. I want a cigarette.
Maybe I should start up with Game of Thrones, that whole mess. Just until the point where somebody making a declaration they follow through on starts to seem normal, and I won’t feel so awkward writing about confrontation. Where anytime someone makes a promise it happens, or at least they try to make it happen. I’m getting used to the world as the diametric opposite of that reality. Because if you think about it, it is infinitely harder to do something than to do nothing, and so when I hear people say things to the effect of yes I will do that, I will perform that verb, I can only assume they will never ever do that and will actually, have already actually set up a mental wall to prevent them from ever performing that verb, that mental wall being the promise. If you promise, you don’t have to think about it anymore, because you consider your own word as gold. Add any amount of time to this function, even like ten minutes, let alone ten days, and it starts to feel like a problem you’ve already taken care of, or anyway if it were so important to do you would’ve done it, instead of promised to do it, and the rationalizations start to stack up and the end result is no one comes to my box party.
I want to write about animals again. People are just too predictable.