Category Archives: Writer of fictions
So last week, toward the end of the week, I didn’t get much sleep and I also got sick at the same time. Friday night, I don’t remember when I went to sleep but at some point in the night, I did some sleepwalking. I vaguely remember being in the bathroom, at the sink, with one contact in and desperately trying to get the other contact out of the case. I couldn’t find it and it was way too much work to LOOK for it, so I just dumped out the saline solution and went back to bed with the thought, “I CAN SEE JUST FINE WITH ONE CONTACT IN!”
I woke up at 10am and realized that it hadn’t been a dream because oh…there’s that contact in my eye. Then I found my other contact shriveled up in my contact case. ARGH. I’m poor and have like, one contact left, so I really couldn’t afford to ruin one. So I put some saline in the case, took out my other contact, and hoped the dried up one would get better. Then I went back to sleep for two hours. When I woke up my contact was fine.
Then last night I went to bed at 3am and woke up at noon today. Then I took a nap at 3 for two hours. And I’m still tired. SLEEP: I DON’T GET ENOUGH. But see, during the week, I sleep only a few hours a night so..yeah. The bad thing is, I don’t get anything done on the weekends because I’m catching up on sleep. So…all that homework I planned to get done? Yeah. Didn’t get done.
Also, my professor thinks the plot of my story isn’t possible. Funny, since it’s science fiction.
I found out from a friend that Meg Cabot, author of the Princess Diaries, has been banned and/or challenged in a few libraries. I find this terribly amusing. The content is inappropriate and against traditionally held morals. Or something. I’m not really sure. I mean, there’s Frenching in the book. That might be part of the problem. And girls striving to do what they want instead of doing what they’re told they want.
Anyway, I did some exploring because I had no idea what Meg Cabot book had been banned or where it had been banned. It led me on an adventure that ended at Harper’s Bazaar. Through Meg Cabot’s blog, I found this blog post by Maureen Johnson. It was entertaining and all LOL and then I got to the part where she talked about her work for a textbook publisher. It led to this list of things excluded from textbooks, which Johnson submitted to Harper’s Magazine.
I’ll just let you read the list on your own. In the meantime, I’m going to work on writing something that gets banned.
Time to put it into words. Time to take all these thoughts bouncing around in my head and tie them down to one concrete surface. The moments I have not thought about The Late Hector Kipling (by David Thewlis, in case we’ve never met) since finishing it are few and far between. Perhaps one of the most effective things I did while reading the book was to hit up Flickr some pictures of Blackpool. (I saw you roll your eyes.) This was before I knew the outcome of the book but the photos of the seawalls were particularly mournful and melancholic, which god, of course, ties in with what happens there. (Just one line of the entire book and it is the image that has stayed with me.)
Last year when I went on my foray into Kerouac’s journals, this strange thing happened to my brain that set the wheels in motion. It was a large reason why I signed up for my class in the spring, a large reason why I just signed up for the continuation of that class for fall, and a large reason why I’ve got a barely-cobbled together list of graduate schools somewhere on the internet. (No, really. I have to find it. I have no idea what I did with it.) I saw many of my own thoughts in those pages written by Kerouac. It gave a sense of order to the chaotic flights of fancy my brain is wont to take.
I sat down with this book thinking I was reading a book written by an actor but as it turns out, I was reading a book written by a writer who has made a living at acting. (What I’ve read of his poetry is equally phenomenal.) As with most books, for myself, it took me a few pages to really settle into the story. I’m a bit slow on the uptake (just ask The BFF, who spent 15 minutes trying to get me to figure out Mamma Mia!. She was not amused.), so I am not always easily swayed by openings. Unless they’re really, really good ones.
I took an immediate disliking to Lenny because I so foolishly believed that Hector was, of course, the honest person in this book. I don’t want to give anything away because I really think you should all read it (if you like dark comedy, that is), but it’s hard to dissect my feelings about it without revealing that Hector is one of those characters that you kind of hope gets his in the end all while feeling a bit sorry for him. He’s a selfish, self-centered, egotistical coward with a beautiful Greek girlfriend who worships him (Eleni is girl-crush worthy, jsyk), an overbearing mother, a bizarre father, and couple of really good friends who somehow manage to tolerate his bullshit on regular basis.
Then there is Rosa, who is of course the wild, borderline psychotic American girl who maims Hector on several occasions (but the first time was disturbingly erotic, or that could’ve just been me, reading about hot wax and bare stomachs and, well, writers.). You kind of watch helplessly as Hector digs himself these enormous, life-altering holes and then throws himself into them with abandon.
I spent a goodly portion of this book either laughing (because really, parts of it are just hysterical, like when he meets Rosa for the first time) or wanting to punch Hector in the face for being such a complete idiot. It’s written in such a way that you kind of feel as though Hector has plucked you up and nestled you in his head so he can go about his daily life without having to stop and dictate everything back to you at the end of the day. As a writer of characters who, by and large, live in their heads, it was nice to see that someone could pull this off so well.
Hector sometimes spends hours doing nothing: sitting at the top of a ladder in his flat, playing the same note over and over again on Eleni’s piano, staring up at the black hole he painted on the ceiling. But somehow, all of that nothing that he’s doing is actually something and leads you to believe that maybe Hector’s biggest problem is that he thinks far too much and does too little.
This is nowhere what I wanted to say about the book but so much of it is internal and will likely never see the light of day, at least not as a series of coherent, constructive remarks.
Who I would cast as Hector Kipling: Dylan Moran, who will always Bernard to me. I have a mad crush on both Bernard and Dylan Moran. Also, while I was looking for pictures of him, I saw “Dylan for Doctor!” in the summary of one website and said, very loudly in my head, YES PLEASE. He would make a good Doctor.
“I’d be out in town in character, which Mike would often send you off to do, you’d spend four hours wandering around London on your own, not as yourself at all, doing things you would not normally do, causing scenes you would not normally cause, being braver than your natural self, standing in the street and shouting like a maniac but getting away with it because you don’t have your inhibitions ‘cos you’re going, ‘It’s not me.’
“And you’re spending more of your waking hours as this character than as yourself, so it becomes quite overwhelming. I’d have a Hare Krishna come up to me wanting to have a word, and whereas I’d normally be, ‘I haven’t got the time mate,’ when I was him I was like, ‘Yeah come on, let’s have a fucking word! I’ll have a very big word wiv ya! Do you wanna go for a coffee? How long have you got?’ And people handing out leaflets, I’d talk to every one of them, I’d talk to down-and-outs, I’d talk to policemen, anyone who wanted to fucking talk, I’d talk to them.”
“Not so much afterwards…well, maybe in the long term it did make me a little more confident, because once you’ve stood in the middle of the street and shouted, you do lose certain inhibitions I guess. And there’s still a bookshop in Marylebone High Street in London I can’t ever go into. I think I fucking wrecked it, I flipped out in there, I cleared the shelves.”
This movie is available on YouTube and I’ve “watched” part of it (the sound was down because wow, his improvisation of this character includes a lot of swearing, which is fine, but I was on my lunch break, in a common area, and didn’t want to scare people away.). It’s called Naked. I want to actually WATCH it because I love his crazy messed up terrifying character. Even though I can’t understand half of what he says.
“Yeah, that’s another thing that was fucking confusing me. Not to denigrate Fairuza, but it was not a good idea at that time, it just added to the chaos. ‘That’s all going off over there – why don’t me and you start fuckin’ and really get this thing inflamed!’ (laughs) It really was like that. And in the middle of it I went horse riding with Fairuza one day and I broke my leg. So here I was in the middle of it, just thinking, ‘I am having a breakdown, this has all gone horribly wrong.’”
Okay yeah. I really don’t have anything to say other than that.
I HAD COFFEE THIS MORNING.
So I feel better than I have all week.
I don’t remember Spanish.
I hurt my thumb this morning in a stunning display of motor skills. I turned off the shower and ripped the top layer of skin off my thumb knuckle. I’m not quite sure how this happened but there was some blood and a bit of pain.
Yesterday I was internets stalking articles on my favorite obsession and discovered that he’s working on a second book. It was no official announcement, just a casual mention in an interview about processes you run into as a writer/actor/artist and how he’s running into it with his second novel. This thrilled me down to the tippest of my tippy-toes, fair readers. I have yet to finish the book because let’s face it. I am a slow reader. And also, other things distract me. Like sleep and Harry Potter marathons on TV and sleep. I’m alternately disturbed and amused that DT’s parents really did have a phenomenal meltdown over an ugly, overpriced piece of furniture. In the bathtub over the weekend, I found myself talking to Hector Kipling out loud while I read the book. He’s such a lovable guy but you really do kind of secretly hope someone drops something on his head as the book progresses.
I like this song.
Okay, so yesterday there was supposed to be a huge outpouring of blogging for women in Congo. More specifically, about the atrocities that women in Congo face daily. I thought, “Wow, this is awesome and so exactly what I want to educate people on but god, I’m really exhausted and a little sick and ohhh look! My bed!” I am officially the worst person on the face of the planet. Not that my little blog post would change the world but education is key (or “planting the seeds”, as we wacky Christians would say) and if one person realizes the depth of this issue, then that’s all that matters. Other people blogged about it, so you should go read that for your education.
Yesterday was kind of a wash for me. Well, to be honest, the entire weekend was a wash. I accomplished absolutely nothing and have developed such a fear of my homework that I didn’t actually do any of it. It’s due tomorrow, so tonight and tomorrow will be excrutiatingly fun. I have a little under two weeks to write a short story and even though I have a pretty good idea of what I’m writing, I still can’t turn off K-Fucked Radio.
Me: Okay! I’m going to sit down and knock this bitch out so I can enjoy my life!
Brain: Don’t be too wordy.
Me: I’m not too wordy!
Brain: You’re too wordy.
Me: That was a brilliant line we just came up with. Isn’t it brilliant? It flows, it moves, it has COLOR.
Brain: It’s wordy.
Me: Okay then…how about this?
Me: Well, if you’re so good at this, why don’t YOU write it?
Brain: Can’t. No new ideas. Or good ones.
Me: How about a bad idea? It worked in “Under the Tuscan Sun”…
Me: You’re a stubborn jackass, you know that?
Brain: Just honest. Stop telling the same story over and over again. Stop ripping yourself off. Stop SUCKING.
So. You know. There we are. On a positive note, we were assigned an Amy Tan story this week and it was quite an enjoyable read (“The Rules of the Game”).
In other news, this morning on the bus, I got severely distracted by the FKA. No, not because the FKA was THERE (lordy, wouldn’t my fellow passengers have been treated to some early morning antics if that were the case?!) but I was listening to Shoop (srsly, iChip was on shuffle) and I was like, yeah, I need to write her a letter because damn. Then I wondered about how I could ever slyly snag a handful. And well, it was all downhill after that.
So one of my posts ended up in some…some…something wildly popular and holy hell, I had 85 hits in the time period that WordPress considers a day! That particular post had nearly 40 hits itself. A-mazing!
I keep opening up my blogs to other people. “Opening up” is the wrong term. “Giving the url out” is a more appropriate term. It worries me, to be honest. I’m very afraid of judgment by people who know me but not so much by total strangers. Weird, huh? All day long, I’ve been thinking, “Sparkle Pants, why in the hell did you do that? That was so dumb! You have on secrets now!” Only that’s not true. I have a lot of secrets. Also, I’m running an experiment on the Super Secret Writing Blog ™. We’ll see if it works. So far, it hasn’t. But it has only been two days, give or take.
I think! That it is time! For ice cream!
At the next Riches commercial break.
I’ve been thinking a lot tonight about how we change and how we lose track of people, only to find them again, completely changed. And we worry about the change. Does it mean there’s no room for us in their lives anymore? Then you realize how you’ve changed and strangely, you’ve changed together and in ways that place you on the same path, just like you were years ago.
I’ve been sitting here battling with my least favorite of my homework assignments for this class, something that requires us to go through this detailed list of things about a short story. We dissect it, identify these things that influenced our view of the characters. I understand its importance but it just drives me batty. On a break, I pulled out an old composition book from the drawer beside my desk and the page I’m currently reading is from June 23, 2005. I found this drawn on the page, along with ramblings that still make sense and oddly enough, that I’m still feeling today.
LIFE–>the mark we place on each other–>the stains that won’t come out–>FIVE YEARS–>still the pain–>i don’t need you anymore–>i never did–>and yet–>here i am–>bastard
One of my biggest pet peeves it to be told to just cheer up. C’mon! Just cheer up! It’s a beautiful day out!
It really makes me want to punch people when they say that, especially when they know that a) I haven’t gotten any sleep, b) I’m stressing over the homework I thought was due tomorrow that is actually due RIGHT NOW, and c) there are a whole host of things going on that I’ve only told like, three people, including the person telling me to just bloody cheer up, already.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out what literary character I know well enough to write a scene with. Or something. Honestly, my grip on the English language is pretty slippery at this point.
A friend asked me what I meant when I said that my life was not going the way I had planned and I’m not sure how to respond to that. On the one hand, most people don’t have the life they thought they would have. At least that’s the idea I get. Most people take years to figure out what they want, where they most want to work, who they’d most like to know or be associated with. I’m not alone in my inability to make life decisions or my feelings of inadequacy when I see people with the things I should have (careers, children, spouses, etc., etc., etc.). I know this. And really, how did I think my life was going to go? When I was younger, I thought for sure I’d be married by 25 and have several kids by 30. When I got a little older, I thought I’d be almost done with graduate school by 30. Right now I’m not really sure what I think. Or what I want to do. Or who I’d like to know (love).
I suppose getting rejected from 8 schools has played a significant role. I thought someone would let me in, someone would see some worth in my writing. Perhaps that was the worst part? That my writing wasn’t good enough, wasn’t revolutionary enough. It’s a good thing though and I can see that. I don’t want to be a cookie-cutter writer and I don’t want my soul slowly sucked from my body by grades and portfolios and sleepless (academic) nights. I haven’t been able to write solidly for a few years. I have no outlets. It begins to take its toll on a person.
There isn’t much I feel passionate about either. I used to write and write and write and pour out all this energy and blood and sweat and tears and life meant something then. Suffering makes life beautiful. Suffering makes others beautiful. The suffering is gone now and replaced by concrete and ice and sharp gravel. No suffering. Just nothing. I used to believe in magic. The hidden magic of life. The little things that spoke to me in a quiet whisper, the little things that allowed me to see beyond this grim reality and taste a little bit of somewhere else. I have lost my belief in Romance. I have lost my belief in humanity. There is no magic. There is no story I could write that could capture something that doesn’t exist. Life doesn’t work the way it does in my (old) stories. Life only works in the way of shit piled on shit piled on more fucking shit.
This saddens me. There was supposed to be good. There was supposed to be enough hope to last a lifetime. I’m a writer. It’s what I do. I hope, even if foolishly, for the perfect kiss in the cold January rain (on that bit of sidewalk, you know the one, with the trees stretching out overhead, dripping down on us, my wool coat is lousy with water and there’s a raindrop caught in your beautiful lashes), for the thrill of a perfect sunset viewed from a mountain top, for the thunderous crash of the waves on the shore. For snowy oceans and midnight walks. Puppies and tulips and Sunday morning and the City (SF, my heart) gleaming in the late afternoon sun like a huge, dirty, brilliant diamond.
What do I mean when I say my life isn’t going the way I had planned? I mean that I never thought I would grow so far from my former self that I would find it again and slip into it again like a pair of worn sneakers. The ones I thought I threw out years ago.