Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finally, A Little Bit of Wisdom Seeps Into This Jack-O-Lantern Brain

Do you know how sometimes you forget the obvious things, the things that stare you right in the face?

I used to think life was a continuous string of boxes, and once you reach the end of one box, you lift a flap and shimmy on into another. The box of "childhood" might lead to "high school" then "college" then "job." And I assumed "spouse" and "family" boxes came soon afterward.

Now I know better. Life isn't boxes, it's just one damn thing after another. Some of it makes sense, but you're lucky if even one piece fits into place. Most of the time it's a collage of crazy swirling randomness, a fist-on-the-keyboard gut-wrench of notes that still somehow comes out sounding like a tune if you play it right.

I'm a good liar. A fucking great liar. And that's because I'm a good storyteller. Problem is, I forget sometimes that my life is life, a big hodge-podge, never-fully-in-my-control kind of thing. I get into a jam or reach a plateau and think, "How can I write my way out of this one?" What do we have, character-wise? A 23-year-old with no sense of direction who's sick of being asked what she's going to do with her life. What about backstory? Oh, she likes books? Let's make her a librarian then. Kind of a lousy job at creative writing. A good creative writer would know never to go with the obvious. Just because she likes books doesn't mean she wants to spend her time reshelving them. Maybe she wants to fill her days doing the kind of thing that inspires books. What that thing is, that's anybody's guess, but I should know better... I'd get yelled at by my peers if I underestimated my character, if I didn't give her enough depth, a chance to grow or change or show she's something more. So why the hell do I do that to myself?

After this semester, it's no more library school for me. I want to move to a new city, try a new thing. I don't know where, or what, or even why, but I want to get some guts. I want to up and leave this town. It's about damn time.

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