Sunday, March 05, 2006

It's not enlightenment but it will have to do for now


Looking out to see if the real world is still there: A man in a black knit toque limps slowly towards a van the color of taupe dipped in milk. He is carrying a white plastic bundle under his arm. Two blurred shapes are posted at the bus stop – one in a red jacket. I don’t have my glasses on, so details, like whether or not they have facial features, are unavailable. A seagull stands sentinel on the roof of the building twin to mine. In the air, they are shining miracles – majestic and breath-taking. Standing still, they are a last minute thought of the Almighty. Oh. They’ll need something to prop them up when they land. Hand me those sticks. Never mind. Put them anywhere. About the middle. Do I have to do everything Myself?

I have spent the better part of the weekend writing fiction. I am not, generally speaking, a fiction writer, and I may suck at it very badly, but it’s an oddly engrossing occupation. Dangerous too. I find myself growing more omnipotent by the word. My character, the narrator, can be anyone or anything. And seeing that she is me, without the annoying restrictions of an actual life, I consider making her life heaven and then smiting her with bad skin, and a mother in the mold of Olivia Soprano. Plagues of locusts, rains of toads. Poor thing. It can’t be helped though. No one wants to read about anyone’s perfect life. It gives rise to homicidal feelings of envy and resentment. Be honest with yourself.

I could be a fictional man. Whoa. A
man! Now there’s an idea. Think of the money I’d have saved on therapy and divorce proceedings over the years if I’d been able to gender-bend myself halfway realistically into the head of a fictional man! Think of the men who could have avoided all that suffering!

Why, you may (or may not) ask yourselves, am I suddenly writing fiction?

Because of this blog.

Because I have begun to feel that now and then, writing
true stories, someone out there is taking from it a message I don’t intend. Now this means that I’m a really crappy writer or that reading 700 words about someone’s life doesn’t actually give you a clue about the overall picture, or it means we all look through our own life experience.

( Please, those of you I actually talk to – do not take these 406 -to this point- words, to mean that I’m talking about you. I’m talking here and there. Not the comments that make me think constructively, but the comments that make me go back and reread. Did I say that? I didn’t think I said
that. In honesty, I think I return the favor on other bloggers' pages, typing the secret code, hitting "publish" before I question whether the writer will recognize that I'm joking, or understand my hamfisted remarks as heartfelt empathy.)

On the proverbial other hand, writing all weekend has demonstrated an indisputable truth: I spend a lot of time as a fictional character. Writing as myself, whoever the hell that is, hour to hour, I'm a fictional character on the internet. Might as well let go of little drawbacks like age, place and personal history and be completely fictional. My character's skin fits as well, or better, than my skin – in spite of the fact that I’m dreaming it all up and smiting her with great glee and lots of adjectives. I even envy her a little. And she’s no Paris Hilton. (That’s a joke. Please. It’s
just a joke.)

Minute to minute, day to day, month to year to decade – life shifts and changes like weather. Today’s virtue is tomorrow’s fatal flaw. Tomorrow's goal is the next day's Very Bad Plan. And of course, for all of us, there are days and events that mark "before" and "after" in our lives. We are, none of us, who we think we are. Not really.So I might as well write fiction.

Love to all. From all of us.

12 comments:

DoctorBoogaloo said...

I'm not certain how I stumbled on to your site. But I'm glad I did. You remind me of Roseanne Roseanna Danna.

Lucas said...

Lj--you definitely sound as though you are "in the zone." It was inevitable that you would "move" to the "next level." (Wasn't it?) I would be very interested in reading your work, or at least hearing of your progress. Keep us posted.

LJ said...

Well, Doctor - if indeed you are - it's always something. (Was it the hair? It was, wasn't it. It's always the hair.)

Hey Lucas. It may be a lateral move. You know...like when they give you more work and don't pay you for it? Right now it's a bit like smoking in the bathroom at highschool - I can say I'm doing it but I don't want to get caught with them in public.

Sooner or later, I'll have to out myself though, or go through life wondering not if it's crap - but whether or not it's interesting crap.
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Mella said...

Oh, LJ...welcome to the weaving of words into worlds, new and born of your creativity. I can't wait to read your work, whenever you feel comfortable sharing it here. No pressure of course...

And good luck climbing back into reality, if it does still exist. I can never be sure myself...

LJ said...

I'm not sure about the reality thing, either, Mella. Thanks for the welcome.

coy said...

you're talking about me.

LJ said...

Oh? Perhaps you'd like to elaborate via email?
Hit and run. One sentence. So...you.

Yasser Rahman said...

Ive always thought about building up a charector from scratch..I think about it everytime I hit the bed, helps me go to sleep.This one is from last night, and probably tonight as well

Small Man...got 50k on hand, buys a farm..grows goats and sells them when they multiply....Big construction firm offers to buy his farm..gives him equity instead of the land..taken on the corporate board.. given the responsibility of purchasing land..makes good cash...starts a cement factory...sells the cement to the same construction firm..

I fell asleep after that, maybe i can relive that charector from there on when I hit the bed :)

Aleida said...

"We are, none of us, who we think we are."
So true! And every time I try to figure out who I am, I change. Bit like chasing your tail. :)

Teri said...

I just hope you keep sharing your creations with us, no matter what category they fall under.

I never assume that someone's blog represents her life completely. There is plenty of intentional omission in my writing.

xo

LJ said...

Aldeida - I think the identity question is a big one for everyone. Why we expect to be this static, definable thing I'm not sure. But we sure try. I'm this, I'm that...and all of it can change in a New York minute.

Teri - There's intentional omission in my writing too. Some stuff just isn't up for grabs. Starting to work at fiction - however lumpy - gives me a place for voices I don't use here so I can see why the process intrigues people.

Yasser - If I did that to try to get to sleep, I'd be up ALL night figuring out the details. Yikes!

zhoen said...

I always figure, fact or fiction, that the reader finishes the writing. Then ascribes it to the writer, and that writer's true life. My 'fact" and my "fiction" really blurred when I did nanowrimo, but I think, having written so much quasi biograpy, that I have cleared the decks so I CAN write fiction. Good luck.