I’ve met some interesting people lately, some of whom I’ll likely never spend time with again, and some of whom I’m forging new friendships with. Like Linsey, who’s sitting across the table from me right now, writing a blog entry on bodily fluids. About every three minutes or so, she starts laughing. Bodily fluids crack Linsey up. Linsey cracks Linsey up.
Meanwhile I’m feeling floaty; I’m moving from one idea to the next, unable to follow anything through enough for it to become a full entry.
I’m finding that the things I’ve been writing about lately often bring me down. I can only maintain a serious tone/focus for so long. And as much as I want to stick with this project, to commit myself to it wholly, I don’t know if I can maintain this level of focus without giving myself an additional project to work on at the same time.
True, it’s only been a week since I revived this blog, but I feel like I’ve found my rhythm, and I don’t want to lose it. I’ve felt good about blogging (almost) every day. I’ve written every day, and some of it hasn’t (and won’t) make it to the blog. Were someone to ask me about my process (which they often do), I’d say that my writing comes in spurts. I go through more dry spells than anything. So when the rhythm comes back, I do all I can to maintain it. I’ve had some late nights this week, which has resulted in some sleepy days and miserable mornings. But I’m okay with that. And I think it’s something I can (fairly easily) adjust to.
This morning I started revising one of the June stories, “Through Parted Curtains.” I’ve sent it off to several lit journals, only to receive one rejection after another. The problem lies in the voice. The narrator is 11, and the voice is much, much older which, obviously, won’t work. I poked at it a bit, but am hesitant to cut some parts of it. Faulkner would tell me to kill my darlings, but it’s hard. I am attached to the language, which is always a dangerous thing for a writer. I can’t bring myself to edit some sentences that badly need editing, for the sake of the story.
So what’s there for me to write about—what is there that sticks with the theme of this (newly revised) blog—that will keep me from painting myself into a corner? I don’t think it’s important that I laugh as much as Linsey, but I’d like to at least smile from time to time as I write. And I’d like to write stuff that keeps my reader here. I don’t want to meet the same roadblocks I met with Unplanted; I don’t want to fall into something that sucks me under so much that I stop writing.
It’s also true that I don’t want to write about Linsey all the time. I think that might make for some awkward situations. And it’s a little creepy. Besides, if you wanted to read about her, you could just go to her blog. (For the record, I take full credit for inspiring Linsey’s post on bodily fluids.)
So maybe I could write about this. I read the story this morning and I smiled. The short version, if you don’t want to read the full article is this: a woman with a heart condition passed out in the middle of the street, and apparently no one came to her rescue. But a pit bull did. The dog sat by her side and barked until the woman’s husband came out to carry her home. Luckily, the woman survived.
The story doesn’t say whether or not the woman wanted to keep the dog. What it does reveal is that Ontario—where these events took place—does not allow people to own pit bulls, regardless of whether they save lives. (Don’t get me started on the irrationality of breed specific legislation.)
As I was driving around this morning, I thought about how poorly written the story is. I thought about the pieces that seem contrived. I thought about the parts that feel, well, made up. How is it, for example, that no one came to the woman’s rescue, in spite of how clear it was that she needed medical assistance? And how does the author know that this is true? Who reported that the dog sat by her side barking at traffic?
These things are important to this story. It is crucial that a storyteller know what she’s talking about.
Linsey, for example, is actively researching bodily fluids.
I, on the other hand, am doing very little, and I think that’s okay—for now, anyway.