Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 (b) - A Summer of Nothingness

The novel was finished. Our writer friend felt very good about himself, but was left to wonder "what next?" The problem with a question like that is that it requires an answer, and answers are hard to come by when you're talking about something like life. A writer was supposed to edit his books, right? So he should try to edit his novel and make it worthwhile.

The problem was that his first novel was a mess. It started and stopped, was full of multiple styles and genres, and had completely changed direction about half-way through. The pacing was awful, the writing pretty mediocre, and the size completely unmanagable. It was a very, very sick novel, in need of some serious work. Foolishly, the writer dove in and tried to make it work.

The problem with that is the writer had poured his heart and soul into the book for 4 years. It had taken up nearly 20% of his life. And certainly more than that of the life he remembered. And he was so wrapped up in it, it was so wrapped up in him, that it was impossible to look at it and figure it out. The writer, in a rare moment of lucidity, decided to let it go and come back to it later. And so it sits, awaiting a day when I feel equipped to fix it. Hasn't happened yet.

Now it was nearing summer. Work was being frustrating and difficult, and the writer was burnt out on his life. Lacking a new idea for a novel, he just drifted through his days uncertain about what he was supposed to do. In four years, he had collected some ideas, but they didn't grip him with the kind of insane fervor that told him THIS IS THE ONE like it had with his first. Thinking that meant he shouldn't do them, he didn't. He did nothing.

It was at this time that a concert blew into town. I had never been to a concert before, not like this. And I normally wouldn't go. But it was Dir en Grey opening for Deftones. I really had no opinion about the Deftones, but bands like Dir en Grey don't typically run through Omaha so I made sure that I got tickets and I went. The details of the concert aren't really important. What is important is that standing there with Dir en Grey playing music, the writer's mind exploded and he was suddenly struck out of the blue with an idea. An idea that was too good not to use. Suddenly, there was a second novel.

The second novel took about two weeks to slowly unravel. Ideas come in giant balls like knots and it took some time to untie it and figure out what it was going to be. But finally the writer knew what it would be, more or less, and started on his second novel. Slowly, because he was lazy and writing was hard to do, but he started. A few pages a week. But it was something. Moving on to a new novel, the writer felt happy.

Of course, it was then that the writer was fired from his job.

The writer hated his job, but money was good. And not having it, in fact having nothing to do, threw him into a tailspin. The writer's self-confidence was pretty bad, but getting fired utterly ruined it. The writer, under pretense of needing some time to deal with things (which is mostly true) took to his bed.

He didn't pull himself from it for over two months.

In that time he plucked at his novel, though his progress was spotty. Despite now having gobs and gobs of time to work with, he didn't do anything meaningful with that time. There is much that could be said for that time, but time mostly passed uneventfully. The novel, developing into something solid, was growing at a slow pace. But with nothing else on his plate, the writer had to confront his own lack of work ethic. It began to bother him that he wasn't writing, so he started writing more often. And the novel began to slowly, ever so slowly, grow in size.

As summer pulled up into fall and suddenly it was nearly October, the writer was forced to admit that his experience so far had been unfulfilling. He had worked a job he hated, wrote books at a pace that was completely unacceptable, and hated himself for doing both. Which made it hard to motivate himself to do better. Everything that had been in his life had been mediocre and frustrating and leading down the dangerous road to dissatisfaction. The writer couldn't have that. Not at all. It was completely unacceptable. The writer was supposed to have potential! The writer should be able to make something of himself!

It was at this point as calendars the world over were flipped from September to October that the writer went crazy.

Tomorrow: A Fall into Madness

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