I am pretty sure that this blog has no actual direction anymore beyond just my ramblings. Maybe one day I will refocus it on food writing, or on fiction writing, or on theatre life, or on living in NYC, or on fat activism and HAES, and I will try to build a real audience and be one of those fancy pants bloggers everyone loves, but for right now it is just simply my voice for whatever it needs to be and whatever is on my mind. I AM the Shakespearean Tomato – hear me roar! (or squish, as it were)
This weekend I took my first little baby steps back out as a writer. I bundled myself up in the snow and I trudged my inherently lazy self down to the coffee shop during the snow with my notebook and my laptop and committed to just putting words on paper with no judgment or excessive editing allowed. I just wanted to take my observant eyes and my imagination and let the words flow without worrying about any sort of focus or assignment. After about 2 hours at the coffee shop, the hard wooden benches were severely hampering both my creativity and my ability to remain sitting, so I rewrapped myself in my multiple layers of (not quite snow proof) clothing and braved about a mile walk in the blowing downfall to my neighborhood bar to keep up the writing and add in a bit more warmth and conversation.
Throughout the afternoon and evening I ended up writing about 4-5 pieces ranging in length from a 1 paragraph observation to a 6 page short story based on a prompt idea. So far only one piece has made the transition from my notebook to my computer, and I am still deciding exactly how I want to handle that. Do I want to type everything so I have it in an easy to access, read and edit place? Or do I want to leave it in the notebook and only transfer what I think has merit? I am not sure yet. Both ideas have merit, and I think I will probably value these little character studies and scene prompts when I get to the point of wanting to expand that into something more tangible. But for the time being I would prefer to focus on the writing process and not push the final product. That’s the other reason I like writing long hand rather than typing, is because I can just let the words flow and not have to reread them in a legible manner in the moment and feel that pressure to edit and rewrite until it sounds just the way I want it. There is always time for that later, when I am just starting I need to just let the words emerge and then shape them at a future point.
One of my concerns or hurdles I know I am going to face when expanding my observation writing into something more substantial, is really dealing with plot and dialogue and turning a vague concept into an interesting story. My roommate made an interesting suggestion, which was to just write all these observation pieces and then tack them up on the walls and when I reach a point where I feel like I have enough, take string and start tying them together. See which ones could be combined to create new characters, see which ones have promising starts and could be expanded, find a through line and a theme and then make a first book of just individual stories that have some sort of common grounds. Kind of like the Love Actually of books! I am sure there are plenty of those types of books out there, but it is certainly an appealing concept to start from. Perhaps it would also be the start I need to find the story and the characters that could become a real novel even. Well…one step at a time!
Just to share – here is a little bit I wrote on Saturday; a single paragraph that began from an observation while sitting at the bar. It is the shortest bit I wrote this weekend, but I think it is a good example of my style and writer’s voice. It’s completely raw and unedited, but it made me happy when I read it that it came from my pen and made me feel like I might have the talent to begin this journey (wherever it may take me):
She stood at the bar, one hand splayed on the counter, every inch of her soul desperately wishing to be anywhere but there. She tapped the credit card in her hand against the cheap plywood that had been repainted two too many times in a combination of meaningless morse code and random musicality. This would be a quiet night. The snow would inspire people to stay home, order Chinese delivery, and fuck to stave off the cold and boredom. In nine months there would be a minor bump at the area maternity wards. In thirty years the screwed up kids of their good enough parents would tell their shrinks that they were conceived during a December snow storm that wasn’t big enough to merit a fancy name like “Blizzard Tuwanda” but enough that their mother and father tried to save their failing marriage with a night of false passion and failed birth control.