Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just think if Obi Wan had only had a mustache

I seem to recall mentioning my making an attempt at being more self-aware. Being honest, that was less of the theme for today. I sent off another short story, and just recently completed a second draft of chapter 19 of the novel (been thinking I'd celebrate when I hit 20, like a kid growing out of their teens). I even fiddled with a little technology in regards to a wireless USB adapter and a little bit of computer maintenance (shut up, it's a pretty big thing for me). Today I feel pretty good.

Yesterday, I was lost. And I mean that literally and metaphorically. I hung out with a friend, and the main focus was satisfying a curiosity of mine that I've been holding onto for awhile. You see, marketing is pretty effective. Especially marketing for establishments that are just far enough away to make them annoying to drive to. Like Red Robin. People had told me about the place, and yesterday I finally went and tasted for myself. It wasn't what I expected. Nor was getting lost on the way back. The sun went down, and the roads weaved into mysterious shadows of themselves with names I'd never heard of. We drove and drove, and in the back of my paradigm I thought "there's no way I could go this far without running into something I recognized... is there?" Given that I'm writing this now, and the day I just described myself as having, you might imagine that I eventually got myself out of it. The literal lostness that is.

For the metaphorical, I actually had to sleep on it. The story I mentioned writing, which I selfishly sent to the inbox of the writer to be critiqued last week has been really throwing me. No, that's a lie. It's been throwing the people I've let read it. It's been frustrating me. I ended up at a bad place with it, where I had read it over so much, and stared at it so much, that it looked perfectly fine in my eyes. A tiny man with a nefarious mustache whispered to me from my shoulder "They're crazy... and stupid. Your story is good. No great. No perfect!" And I know that's not a good place to be. In fact, it might be one of the worst places to be (very similar in horridness, yet geographically different from "Everything I Write is Horrible" town). What got me lost was trying to figure out, by staring at the story itself and squinting and trying to figure out just how bad or good it was.

Sleeping cleared a lot of the cobwebs. And that clarity let me take a look at people's comments and piece through them in search of a benchmark that would satisfy me. There was a line in an email which pointed to a lack of "certainty" and "passion" evident in my other stories. That wasn't the only problem, to be sure (it's a confusing as hell read, however I was only shooting for mysterious), but I told myself (and the little man on my shoulder) that that would be my objective. I wanted it to be certain, and passionate. I wanted not only to feel that it was good, but I wanted to feel good about it. There's a certain lightness to the way I walk when I leave something "finished." I'm satisfied in where I've taken it. So I worked some with that as my objective. I just wanted to like the story as much as I liked the concept, enough to claim it, to put my name on it, and send it off.

And that's what I did this morning. Like usual, I had no idea what its chances were. I could speak on its merits, and know that it would be pointless (those things need to be evident on the page), but I was confident that it did had merit. That, and it being a cool story (which everyone that read it agreed on) was enough for me. A cool story told in my voice with as little confusion as possible in the communication. Similarly to driving, once I had found that place, things opened up for me. Like of course I had been going in the wrong direction. Left, not right. Right would take me to Alabama. And the thing is, thinking back in retrospect, I knew I was going the wrong way (again, in both cases). Or maybe felt is the more correct word? Like, I feel like I should be quoting Obi Wan right about now.

Instead, I'll just mention that the next thing I'll be working on (aside from the novel) is my screen play.

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