Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The secret: I'm going to write a novel

For some reason, I don't say this to people, and not hardly to myself, for fear I suppose that it will come to nothing, or that I will be thought silly or something worse for not just doing my job and all the other things I am meant to do, like cleaning the kitchen. So let me say it to myself, dear reader, I am writing a novel. That I don't yet know really what it will be about will not deter my from my chosen path. That sounds like the main theme of Stephen King's Gunslinger, which like The Book of Eli, "looked cool" but was really thin when it came to whatever else a novel or film out to include.

[I just removed a gadget from my writing space. Whew, that felt good. Like washing the jars that will eventually hold and exhibit my incredible collection of beans and grains that I rarely cook. Maybe I will put a little sticker on each jar that says, "COOOOOOK ME!!"]

My problems today with being a writer are: (a) feeling that cleaning the kitchen is more important than writing and acting on that belief, (b) being persuaded by everything I see that THiS is what I should write about or how I should write it, and (c) the lack of a first word (or a fifth or twenty-third word) in the story.

Analysis. The kitchen really does need to be cleaned for a number of personal and hygienic reasons and it's almost inspirational, such as the need to display my beans and grains, there's an idea there, waiting to grasped. I just found a site called History Pin which has me thinking that I really should go back to the story of my grandfather, for which I have a great many photos from the 30s and 40s, plus a white whale of a story, the real one and the one I've made up. And I do love history, but I am very daunted by the task of writing history, and getting lost in history. More on that later. And the third one is an anxiety of an illusion, since I do of course have many words written, just not in the same direction or with the same goal. So the delusion of not having started is connected to the fear of being seen as having started, and the anxiety of not arriving, or being able to explain where I am going, except toward the big beyond. When I was young there was lots of future time to store all the things I might do, but now that I've arrived at that future the work of clearing out that space of stuff that's never going to be done, at least not be me, is sometimes overwhelming. Thus the urge to simply burn the house down. That, of course, is a good premise for a story itself.

Back then to Billy and Dodo, a "novel" I have been working on for many many years and going pretty much nowhere. The true story is compelling. Sailer goes to London at end of WWII to work in some kind of espionage, leaving wife and son in D.C. to further the war-at-home effort, experiences the blitz, becomes involved with aristocratic lady, lives several secret lives, determines to run off with aristocratic British lady, goes to Germany post-war to hunt Nazis, dies suddenly of heart attack. Meanwhile wife at home drinks, works at one or another charity, attempts to bring up baby the best she can, while the baby (a teen) drifts off into never-never land. All that would be good enough but then there's the grandson who in world of true history would be me (or my brother I guess) who is alienated from his father (the never never boy) and does not believe that his grandfather died at all, but that it was a sham, or that he is in fact his own grandfather. He sets off to prove this hypothesis. He is a bit crazy and his sister is in pursuit to keep him from falling off the edge of the world and to find out what there will be at the edge of the world. The supernatural element resides partly in everyone's belief that there is nothing supernatural going on, and that whatever doesn't fit is a function of the sailor's moral depravity or the reincarnated sailor/grandson's psychosis. But what is what he imagines turns out to be more or less true?

That's a story.

1 comment:

DogRunningFree said...

This counts as writing the writing journal or the blog, but it can't count as really writing, or even as research, but maybe it will have to, because there's more work to be done in the kitchen, and more books to be read.