Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride...

A story I heard today (not mine) that is worth repeating:

A little girl was in a restaurant with her parents and the waitress came and took their orders. The parents ordered mashed potatoes and meat loaf. The little girl says, "I'll have french fries and a hot dog and a Coke."

Her father says "Oh no she won't, she'll have mashed potatoes and meatloaf and milk."

The waitress then turned to the little girl and said, "So, hon, what do you want on that hotdog."

The waitress laughed. The family was stunned.

And then the little girl turned to her parents and said, "She thinks I'm real."

* * *

So I'm heading into the final stretch of WTC. The dicey bits of leadup are past. I'm firmly beginning the climax. I love this part of writing. I've spent a month and a half, nearly, writing almost every day to put words down and build up this story about these people doing these things. I planned about 25% of it, the guys downstairs did about 25% of it, and 25% came out of the happy accidents. And that last 25% was hard, hard work. Trying to figure out what's going on. What it's about. Where it's going. Dealing with the fact that this novel is deeply personal, cuts down to the heart of my past and explores parts of myself I'd rather not look at.

But now I'm done with all that. The leg work is done. It's like a slide. You spend all this time and energy fighting against gravity to get to a certain point. But once you do, it all starts going on its own. You sit down and you don't have to do anything and all of the sudden it all works on its own. You push off, and you're not in control anymore. The stuff you've been fighting to set up are conditions that will bring everything to the perfect, ideal end. All on its own. Look, no hands!


Its times like these that I write novels for. Publishing is spiffy, sure, and the idea of becoming wealthy and famous (maybe, biiiig maybe) is cool, but all I really like is that feeling when everything I put in motion takes off on its own and I just sit back and punch in the words that are demanded of me.

This story's taken more help to get it into motion than any other. But now that it's moving, it's a beautiful, terrifying thing. Dark and luxurious and insightful and twisted into all sorts of mind-bending shapes.

This moment. This realization. This euphoria. THIS is why I love to write. This part is my high, at the very end.

It's all downhill from here. Look for the draft to be done by mid next week.


Jenny said...

Such "palm-of-the-hand stories" are a joy to read.

I'm glad work on WTC is going so well.

The other night, I thought of an idea for a novel, and I wondered if I might actually work at it, rather than let it pass like so many other discarded story ideas. I guess posting that thought here might prompt online back-and-forths where you goad me to write. Naturally, such decision I must ultimately make on my own, but well, I thought I'd at least mention something about it.

Literary Rock Star said...

Heh. I felt weird posting that under the palm-of-the-hand story tag, since I didn't write it, but ... oh well. I'm okay with stealing Kawabata's term for my own use as it suits me.

You should completely go for your novel! I'd say wait until you're back from Japan, but it's not a requirement. A few thoughts, since you haven't done it before:
- perserverence is the key
- first drafts always really, really suck
- don't be afraid of bad writing
- don't edit while you write
- love everything about your story, even when you want to strangle it.

If you want to talk about specifics, feel free to just continue this conversation through email. I'm happy to goad you forever. Its worth trying to do, at least once, even if you find out its not for you (and that still wouldn't make you not a writer, just not a novelist).