Monday, April 03, 2006

Notes on an unfinished nothing.

I tried writing fiction in college. One piece, titled "4:19" because I was too dumb to actually realize what that meant, was creepy yet well-received. It was a five-part story, written as a serial over e-mail, and it actually gathered more readers as it went along. I thought I might be able to do something again like that, but all future attempts were seen by readers as boring and such, including the detective story I had in my head and the criminal story and the gay romance story. None of them worked. So I stopped really doing more than dabbling in fiction. Better to be a decent essayist, I thought, than a really, really bad fiction writer.

So I have stayed safe, writing about things that happened to me or overanalyzing moments. I have tried to keep things mostly funny, occasionally serious or deep. I still have in mind the idea that I could maybe write fiction ... but I would have to get it just right.

I'm in my class, yet I don't take risks and use the class for what it's good for. I don't break out as often as I probably should, using the class to actually learn how to do things better. Writing something tedious or boring tends to, well, crush me. I like my reputation, however much I deny it or however confident I manage to sound while saying this, as someone whose work is generally quality, the sort of stuff you'd want to read.

I was going to read a book this weekend. I only read a chapter. I was going to write a story this weekend. I ended up sorta showcasing an old, failed one. I was going to do my laundry, and I ended up sorta doing it and sorta playing WORLD OF WARCRAFT at Kacoon's house during a six-hour visit to her apartment.

If something's going to happen with my writing, I'm going to have to actually, eventually, inevitably write with the focus others would give to a job. I have to write it the way that I would write a dissertation, devoting focus and time and energy and study.

This is my project. This is what I'm doing because I want to do it. This is my life's work.

And I need to start doing it, actually, eventually, inevitably, and I need to practice the things I'm afraid won't be good. I have to do the hard work on stuff that I'm afraid might be bad. I have to break the mold I've established for myself and "my work."

I have to go back to London. Or, barring that, I have to write again with my London mindset. It's time to try something new.

Of course, in writing this, I'm resorting to old methods to discuss a new direction.

Is that progress?

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