Thursday, November 02, 2006

Because I’ve Got A Big Mouth

I can’t not talk about it.

I tried not to jinx myself but how can I possibly post everyday this month without writing about the one thing I’ve been thinking about nonstop? See? I can't.

The truth? I’m dead stuck on Short Story X. Have been stuck for about a week and a half now. No, two weeks.

The first seven pages came out in a rush: a young woman, newly married, leaves the lower east side for the NJ suburbs only to gradually, over many years, find her world narrowing into an ocd-like routine. She becomes a prisoner of the story(ies) she tells herself about herself. But now I’m discovering that the real focus has shifted without my really being aware of it, and it’s become a story about a group of three friends, three middle aged woman who watch this woman and how, in the watching, they grapple with their own demons and foibles etc. (I’m being deliberately vague here: maybe if I keep the distinguishing elements hidden the jinx won’t be so bad.) So, you see, the voice of the piece is now a modified “we” and while it was this element that got me all excited at first, this is precisely where I’m now hitting all sorts of snags: in terms of voice, plot and now even character.

I’ve been so frustrated that I abandoned the computer and have been taking notes on scraps of paper for days. Now I’ve got a folder with the original draft, my often-incomprehensible notes, and some weird diagram I thought was going to help at one point. (Don’t ask. When I get frustrated all my inner-geekiness emerges in some sort of catharsis of over-compensation. When I hit a snag in the initial chapters of my novel I story-boarded the whole thing in my writing office. Colored construction paper with plot points scribbled on them plastered all over the walls. People thought I was nuts. Which I am. But in a more literary way than they were used to.)

Tonight my one goal is to get all the hand-written notes into the computer draft so I have one document to work on. I can do that. A baby step but a step none-the-less.

The saddest thing I've learned about writing over the past few years is that it actually never gets easier. Why is that?


Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i hear you! i feel i've been in this state regarding all my writing lately. and i love that you're literarilly insane... me too. i make notes in the strangest places at the most inopportune times... and i often outline in the middle of a project instead of at the beginning

i hope you find yourself back on track... i feel like the exercise of typing all your notes into your computer may just do the trick. things like that often work for me because they get my head back in the story... good luck!

5:42 PM  

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