Help, We’re Juggling as Fast as We Can. Or Not.

September 23rd, 2004 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

As we struggle with the first chapter of the new disaster, we have this sense of doom. Why is it that bad things always appears in the form of an analog clock? Is that truly our vision of impending disaster? We know we should devote every breath to writing fiction, but we’re feeling a bit like a Tinker Toy. At last count, we were broken down into seven pieces. It is just our luck that we are all the round parts, not the long, skinny ones.

Every time we sit down to post here, a little voice reminds us that our energy should be focused elsewhere. “No, no,” we argue back (because if the neighbors are watching and listening, we want to verify their belief in our insanity), “the blog is like a warm-up. We get the fingers limber and the words flowing. It’s like caffeine, only louder.”

“If you believe that,” she says (because, though we hate to be sexist, we find it impossible to channel The Nag in male), “you are more delusional than I thought.”

“How is that possible? How can we be more delusional than you thought? Haven’t you been paying attention?” Even though her words are inconceivable to us, we do begin to doubt. We rarely show the true scope of our fantasy life to outsiders, and she hasn’t proven herself to be trustworthy enough to join the inner circle. It’s possible she truly doesn’t grasp our breadth of skills — we can avoid reality for weeks. If we want to.

At this point, The Nag groans and gives us the sad-eyed look patented by mothers who discover their children lying while the evidence is plain for all to see. We think we should feel something like remorse, but usually that’s about the time we’ve hit our stride. Or we’re running late and must race off to do whatever it is that we do (pretty much anything to keep the cats in the style to which they’ve grown accustomed — these are beasts who think the wild is a scary bedtime story). We never admit that the Nag is right. We say things like, “Well, we are still thinking. The story simply isn’t ready yet.”

Always, though, The Nag has buckled herself into the passenger seat and offers her favorite comeback (we know it’s supposed to be clever because she laughs before speaking). “You don’t think with your brain. You think with your fingers. It’s weird, but you are a genetic freak of nature. You’re making excuses.”

Probably. We like excuses. They’re fun and creative, and sometimes they’re the truth. Mostly not, but if we believe, isn’t that all that matters?

We think we’re entering the final stretch (which, if we understand horse racing — and there is no guarantee of this — means we’re almost done) of the consulting project that has been sucking our soul and making us drive long distances in heavy traffic. Driving makes a person stupid, according to the husband. Based on our experience, this is the whole truth, and nothing but. Once we no longer have to carry four digit country codes in our brain (we haven’t worked at the place since 2000, yet we can rattle off the numbers for Japan, Australia, Portugal, even Egypt, without sparking a single brain cell), we can focus on the plight of the character(s) who so gamely submitted to our poking, prodding thoughts way back when we Had The Idea. We must get back to them before they move to another story (we trust Jill not to lure them with promises of actually being written, but one never knows).

Does this mean anything will change around here? Not a chance. We have far too much fun, and our personal life policy, after living in corporate misery, is that life should be, on as many levels as possible, fun. We blog in the morning (thus replacing much of rambling email we used to send to various lists; we suspect this isn’t all bad) and write fiction in the evening. If you lived in Southern California, especially right now, at this very jasmine-and-mock-orange-scented moment (if you walk too fast, you will nearly fall over from the cacophony of fumes), you would agree: all writing should be done under such optimal circumstances.

Plus we’ve had the most incredible butterflies this week. We think we discovered a new species, some sort of swallow-tail (if that’s a type of butterfly; if not, we certainly did discover something), but he was moving so fast, it was hard to tell. That and we haven’t a clue.

Our point, if we are to search deep and find one, is that for some blogging and fiction are incompatible. Maud Newton helpfully points to William Gibson’s farewell post; he is one we miss reading regularly, though it could be argued that a book every year or so falls under the purview of regular. If we’re reading Maud correctly, we think she’s feeling a bit of guilt about her blog versus her fiction. We say, no, don’t succumb. Guilt is bad and should be reserved for things like breaking wine glasses at formal dinner parties. Never for writing.

For others, it’s a form of avoidance (we cannot, technically, deny this, though we will). For some, like us, it’s another way of writing. We adore fiction, but we started off dreaming of journalism. We found what we did best didn’t quite jibe with what they wanted us to do best. We’ve worked it out in our own way, after the requisite side trips to lives-we-don’t-want-to-live. Yes, that’s why you suffer — because this is our solution (took us long enough to get here, but that’s only because we are too lazy to transcribe all the garbage that went before. Just assume more of the same.).

So, writers, blog. Or don’t. There are no rules. We’re not going to suggest anything along the lines of “if it feels good, do it” because, frankly, we’ve seen some of you in action, and, uh, not good. Really not good. You know who you are.

  • More Authors Keeping Online Journals: More Authors Keeping Online Journals As Ways to Update Fans and Offer Commentary (It’s one of those headlines we didn’t get, so we figured, “Why not use the whole thing. Someone will figure it out.”
  • Things I know to be true but cannot yet face
  • Season of prickly dread (in the interest of fairness, it is not all paradise this time of year — we point you to words of Raymond Chandler and others who take a more, well, different look at our local weather phenomena. Plus the Chandler quote is one of our all-time favorites. Plus we were whining to Jill about our allergies; we don’t want her to call us on the truth. Especially when we’re avoiding it.)

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs · Tools and Craft

1 response so far ↓

  • HLB // Sep 23, 2004 at 11:52 pm

    If you lived in Southern California, especially right now, at this very jasmine-and-mock-orange-scented moment (if you walk too fast, you will nearly fall over from the cacophony of fumes), you would agree:

    I do live in SoCal, and I’m firmly of the opinion that ‘fall’, such as it is here, is the best weather to be had in these parts. Sadly, the only fumes I can detect are those wafting skyward from the bazillion cars on the freeway. But my enthusiasm for the concept remains. *g*