There is nothing more orgasmic than writing a beautiful sentence…even if you’re the only one in the world who can appreciate its beauty. But then…then…there’s compiling all those beautiful sentences into a complete whole. In my case…like…Biff Does Vegas. But my kids might be reading this blog, so we’ll leave it at that.
OK…I like the trip there. I always have. I wrote something on my LinkedIn to the effect that sitting at the top of the mountain with a beautiful view is cool but, hell, the adventure’s over. So I’m not a big fan of finishing. I’m into the trip.
But then, things finish. If they don’t, the journey’s going nowhere. Such is the hell we have to live with in this universe that never seems to make sense.
Let me tell you a story.
“Please do,” said the fox.
Guess what, fox? It’s fuck off Thursday. So…please do.
I’ve written novels that took me up to three years to write. Hey, I work and do lots of other shit. My last novel, Reality Wars, took exactly three years.
But then, I’ve written short stories that took me longer. One of them, The Nickel, took ten years. And it’s like…twenty or thirty pages.
I was traveling out to Vancouver with a friend who’s car broke down on the busiest street in Winnipeg during rush hour traffic. The engine fell out. We sold what was left of the car to Trapper John’s Used Cars, Best Deal In Town, or something like that. Got $99.
Took a bus the rest of the way. Glad that happened though, because it inspired the best story I’ve ever written or ever will write. It was in Saskatchewan that the bus passed an intersection in the middle of nowhere. I mean, there was nothing but flatness for a thousand thousand miles in every direction. But there was this intersection where two roads crossed paths.
And there was a sign. It read: D NAT ONS. I mean, wtf, in the middle of nowhere? Donations for what? And there was a donation box below the sign. Did I mention wtf? That image suck to the inside of my mind like the worst booger from somebody else on the elevator that ever was that sticky.
I carried it out to Vancouver where things got so hot I had to leave and come back to New Brunswick where the woman I loved still lived. I carried it through about another day or two before I was hit by 50,000 volts of inspiration and started writing about it.
I wrote furiously…like…I burned the letters off my typewriter (remember those? those things that didn’t allow you to cut and paste, and if you burned the manuscript for a novel…without a carbon copy…well…goodbye novel). But I stopped just short of finishing. It was like the journey with no end in sight. No reason to continue. There was no ending. So, I put it away for a while. About three years. And brought it out again…and got another few pages. But no ending.
It wasn’t until several years later that I took my type-written manuscript to work with me that the juices started flowing again. And, boy, did they flow. I was a bartender in a the games room of a night club. (NOTE: want to learn about people…spend a few years working as a bartender. END OF NOTE.) It was quiet that night. Well, it was still early and the only customers I had at the bar were three members of the Princess Pats regiment. There was a military base close by.
I started to work…with pen…on the next page of the story. And the next page. I’d already passed the work up till then to the three guys at the bar and then passed each page to them as I finished it. I got three or four pages done that night…before things started to get busy and I had no time to write. Boy, were they pissed that they didn’t get to read the end of the story.
But I knew I was close to the end, close to finishing. I put the pages away and got people drunk for the rest of the night. Those pages stayed as they were for another few years, teetering on the edge of finishing. Until one day or night…I honestly don’t remember…I finished it. It was just one more page.
One more page. I waited years for that one more page. Waited that long to finish it. The story won an award in an Australian literary magazine site and was later re-published in the Projected Letters Literary Magazine (now defunct until the publishers get off their academic asses and do something useful). But the journey was over. I knew the ending. It was a beautiful view.
And this is why I drive everything I’ve written out of my mind and focus just on what I’m writing now.
I’ll put that story here tomorrow. It’s an adventure itself.