It’s a thinking out loud post today, Fringelings, because yesterday, this thing, this moment, this feeling happened.
This is the feeling I get with certain story ideas. It’s an all-in-one jumble of a dangerous high; excitement, nerves, stomach flipping, blood pressure rising, false clarity–the lie of meeting someone in a bar and being certain this is the one.
Not everyone who writes gets this feeling, I’m told. That said, I’m not special, because I know a few others who do.
Why is this a problem? Because this isn’t a short story idea. If you’re a regular follower/reader, you know I don’t want to write any more full length manuscripts. I’ve spent the last how-many-months trying to make peace with acceptance, with the need to accept that it is never going to happen. Too many dreams, too much want, these things make it so damned hard to accept now, to accept what it is. Even the ideal is nonsensical, “I don’t want to want.”
One way or the other, writing is hard work, and it’s all about want. For me. Yes, I know, there are those who are completely content writing for themselves, don’t care if they ever get published, but as I’ve said many times before, that isn’t me. I write to be read. Which is why I don’t want to write any more full length manuscripts. It’s a huge investment. I don’t have the means to make huge investments. I haven’t been putting any effort into thinking of novel ideas, I don’t want them.
But I have this idea, and it’s giving me the feeling. So here’s where I have to decide, do I take yet another chance, sink months, maybe years, fucking hope! into yet another manuscript that will ultimately be another fun house mirror reflecting my delusions of people-will-want-to-read-my-words? More significantly, the delusion that a publishing professional will believe my words can earn them money? I’m sorry, but yes, I care about that end of writing. I’m not pure, haven’t discovered and embraced the Tao of the words themselves. I would like to be that evolved, but I’m not. And I’m exhausted thinking about this, putting these thoughts into a blog post.
Just in case having this idea giving me this feeling isn’t shit enough, the idea isn’t even original. It would be taking the manuscript I wrote before Astonishing and ripping it apart, removing the romance, keeping the bits I like and then completely rewriting and restructuring it. I’m not sure I have the skill to do such a thing.
Remember those tomato seeds I planted in my little terrace garden? Two types, Roma and Cherries. They didn’t turn out as expected. The ones that grow to full size have blossom end rot. I get all excited, seeing those full green fruits as they turn red, and then, when I pick them, the undersides are clearly too damaged to eat. But most aren’t reaching their full size, they stop growing when they’re about the size of blueberries. I’ve been picking and eating a few every morning, right off the plants, with my coffee on the terrace. They’re sweet, tiny but lush.
If I allow this seed of an idea to germinate, give it time, water, sun, and sweat into my keyboard until it bears fruit, what will I get? One of the tomatoes that looks perfect until you get close, see the results of calcium deficient soil, bones that aren’t strong enough to support a full manuscript? Or will I get that little pop of warm perfection, not what’s expected but right in and of itself. Is it worth trying?
At the moment, I just don’t know. Every brain cell is telling me not to do this, swallow the idea and push it further down my digestive tract.
For the moment, I’ll do nothing. I’ll leave it alone, see if not feeding it makes this idea disappear, lets my guts return to a normal pace. A week, two weeks, a few months, a year. If it stays, though, well, maybe I’ll open that old file, see what does or doesn’t come to mind when I reread, if I find myself reaching for the composition book with the original notes for the story (oddly enough, it isn’t packed away, but still in a top cubby of my desk), writing a few new ones.