Joyce Carol Oates

There’s a Frog in My Keyboard

English: head of waterfrog (Rana esculenta) Fr...

English: head of waterfrog (Rana esculenta) Français : tête de grenouille verte (Rana esculenta) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An unfortunate state of affairs, because the letter “f” on my laptop sticks.  About a third of the time when I hit it nothing appears, another third I remember to come down extra hard, and I get three fffs in a row.  But I digress.

You know what I mean, when you don’t have actual laryngitis, but what comes out when you open your mouth is not reliable.

I’m taking a day off from the WIP today, because I’m not sure what my next scene is.  Rather than stare at the cursor and sob, I decided to take a break.  At first thought, the problem is I need a bridge chapter or so to get where I’m headed, in terms of plot and character growth.  I’m also at a point in the work where as I’ve added subtext and subplot, the shape of the whole beast is called into question.  I can keep it on the same light track I’ve been on, or I can take it deeper, shifting the style and tone.   As I engage in this self indulgent pondering, I’m realizing there’s something horribly familiar to this line of thought.  (Let’s be honest, Mrs Fringe excels at self-indulgent exercises.)  Prior manuscripts?  Sure, there are always points where you have to step back and think about what makes the most sense before pushing forward.

The familiarity breeding contempt, having me wonder if the whole damned thing sucks and should be scrapped?  It’s the feeling that I’m on a similar page in life.  Coming up on a plot twist, and just not sure how to write it, or even what it should be, but I know something has to happen.

Contemplation #1

Contemplation #1 (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

This morning I was on the elevator with a kid whose hair looked like a cross between Don King and Gerald,

Hey Arnold!

Hey Arnold! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the best friend with the impossibly high “fade” from Hey Arnold.  Man Child was about four years old when he fell in love with that show, and tried desperately to explain to the gal at Supercuts that he wanted that haircut, while I tried desperately to explain to him that his hair was a different texture, and could never be sculpted into a cylindrical afro that defied gravity.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Hey Arnold was an animated series that ran on Nickelodeon for 6? 8? years, beginning in the mid to late ’90’s.  It was a great show, with fully fleshed out characters, both kids and adults, real problems, and real heart demonstrating life for members of the fringe in a big (fictitious) city.

I began the day thinking I’d like to hide from the WIP and read. Bury myself in my favorite books until I was saturated in Updike, spiked with Joyce Carol Oates, crying Magaret Atwood and bleeding Stephen King.  But maybe not, maybe I should turn on the tv and find some Hey Arnold reruns to remember who I am and the pitch of my voice, as a woman on the fringe trying not to let go.