Sunday, January 27, 2008


Lyra goes for the treat.

No, she didn't do that herself, but I thought if I hid treats among the debris I could blame the mess on them.


In other news, I got the Ogrant (thank you, all), and have started sewing. Pajama bottoms. Nothing fancy.

I have been torturing myself lately about topics that are worth writing a novel about... a story that could be developed, a character that would be worth that much writing... I feel very inadequate for the task. So many sentences, so many stories need to be invented! I don't generally develope ideas that deeply... I consider myself unable to complete a story that complicated in any meaningful way. How can you craft details to complement each other perfectly, and have some sort of combined meaning? I don't like to think about it. I have been studying the elements of Creative Writing for months now, but still think of the work of writers as some magical concoction, for which I possess neither the correct ingredients nor a recipe for combining them.

And I recently tore up a book. It was a slow process, and forced me to read fragments of sentence, chapter headings, words... In conclusion, books are not mystical, many people write them, they are made up of paper, ink, and printed with combinations of 26 letters, ten numbers and nine or ten punctuation marks... but that doesn't help me figure out how to create one.

I've had nightmares of plot outlines, character flow charts, prologues. And I am feeling very antagonistic at every thought of Lesley Choyce. I had to remove his book of short stories from my bookshelf and turn it around so that the spine would face the wall, to avoid the negative thoughts that surge up from within when I see the name.

If I could hide in a friendly white tube, I would, but the swamp of words beckons.


Paul Artson said...

Cute rats. They sure can make a mess when they put their minds to it.

Kent said...

It is very cool that you have set yourself to the task of writing and that you are persevering. It's something I meant to do at your age and didn't get around to until more than 30 years later!

Timothy or Lillian said...

Anything I have ever read from writers says that it is hard work- it is a job that requires sweat and tears. The idea that one just sits down and the words begin to flow magically is misleading, the "muse" is a hard taskmaster. Your efforts will not be in vain.
love Dad

jr942809 said...

Don't stress Bethany, your FIRST novel doesn't have to be perfect. Go easy on yourself if the occasional cliché crops up; didn't T. S. Elliot say, 'Good poets borrow, great poets steal'? I'm not saying you should settle for writing, "Shanti, shanti, shanti" shit for your whole carrier, but sometimes ideas that aren't 100% original are just plain, old true. Maybe it's not the creativity thing that's causing the hang-up for you. It's just that it would be too bad if this exercise turned out to be a miserable experience simply because you were demanding excellence when it's supposed to be a crash course. Man, this CSP course I'm taking almost makes me want to write a book myself. The class is called Contemporary Society, Politics and Literature. It's got the best reading list ever, the prof is wicked (she was a tutor in my 1st yr), plus there's some neat-o selections in the course reader - stuff from Bakhtin and one piece entitled "Why Write?" by Monsieur Jean-Paul Sartre. You should really sit in on a class some time - no joke. It's Tues and Thurs 10.00 - 11.30. Oh yeah, by the way, Felicitations! Glad to hear you got the grant! It proved to be more difficult than I anticipated to find a model for my breast cancer awareness poster - I had to resort to porn sites, but then I'd have to make these monthly payments and that doesn't even give me rights to the image. How do they expect me to pay every month if I can't even use the photos to pick up a little coinage on the side? ANYwho, see you Thursday Bethany, and I really do recommend that you should sit in on a class - it's just across the hall from journalism (Frazee room). Ciao!