Okay. I had just written a whole bunch of stuff that just got deleted. I begin again.
So, the day before yesterday, I was, once again, taking a stab at writing and completing a story. Another stab. My stabs have been erratic, to say the least, with little success. I don’t remember the last story that I’ve actually completed. I seriously can’t remember right now. And this stresses me out - well, at least, as much as it is possible for me to be stressed(I’m not saying this to sound glib. It worries me sometimes, my inability to actually worry) - because while my career as a professional and qualified psychologist seems as uncertain as… um, things that are uncertain, my writing career seems like it’s something I can fall back comfortably on if I can ever sit down and ever actually bloody write.
So I tried it again. I have this thing about starting stories as if they’re being narrated by someone else, through means that are dramatic, and magical in at least two senses of the word. My default storyteller is a skeleton who’s immortal and has been on a quest for his missing rib bone. He’s also the regally named Keeper of Stories, but he doesn’t know it. Dust rises around him(or if there’s no dust, the scene’s environment improvises) and tells my story whenever the skeleton’s curiosity is aroused by something related somehow to the story I want to tell. So essentially, I’m writing about how other characters are told the story I want to tell. It’s sort of like a story-inside-a-story thing, only the outer layers aren’t really a story at all. Just fancy wrapping.
The outer wrapping for this story was a woman unfairly imprisoned and forgotten. She lives on dungeon rats, as she has been for twenty years. She’s all but a rat hunting beast now, nearing her 39th birthday and an early grave. Then, in a dream, or maybe while she’s awake - something hits her. A flash of memory from her past, her past, and it hits her, and yes. Um. It hits her. Hold on.
It hits her and suddenly she remembers the girl she used to be, and words come back to her. She remembers being a child, once, sitting around a campfire, and suddenly the woman needs to hear stories, needs to tell stories, needs to talk, even if it’s only to the rats and the cobwebs. And image - made up, or maybe not - is in her head, the image of the woman in the painting I’m trying to base this story off of.
So I started writing the introduction, because I was really feeling it. I don’t believe that a writer can’t write until inspiration hits him, but when he is hit hit by it, he’d better sit his ass down and write it all down.
I opened up my little blue notebook and began to write
“A woman sat alone in a damp, dirty dungeon, forgotten by all but the dungeon’s seemingly endless supply of rats, on which she dined. She’d been imprisoned for almost twenty years now, though the isolation had meant that she’d lost count somewhere in the third year.”
And that’s all. I stopped writing then. And I went to sleep after fooling around on the internet for a while. Today, up on my roof in the evening’s daylight, I took another stab at it, continuing right where I left off.
“She forgot how to speak around year ten, because by year four she had run out of things to talk about to herself. All she lived for now was her next rat. She didn’t know it, but it was her 39th birthday. She was dying, too, but she didn’t know this, either.”
You can’t really tell in about 3 sentences of words, but I had lost it. Whatever that inspiration was that had made her story feel so strong within me, it was gone. I was forcing a story I couldn’t feel anymore. So I cast my metaphorical feet upon any new metaphorical path that would have them.
“Far, far away - but not so far as to be irrelevant - lived the fantasy genre’s version of a mad scientist. Wizardry is an explorable realm of study, too, and there is must that is not known. The experiments can be done, to further the knowledge of those ruthless enough in their pursuit of it, are literally endless.”
And here I stopped again. As you can probably tell, I have no writing stamina. In fact, as I write this, even now, I am exhausted.
Like, I’m seriously sick of words right now. You know how, if you’ve forced yourself to sit and write something, pushing yourself on by nothing but your need to get it all written, then you start hating words? You don’t even want to look at the damn screen or paper anymore? I got that. And my head and upper left molar hurt.
Okay. The skrillex remix of La Roux’s “In For The Kill” is now playing. My head feels less hateful towards words.
So I stopped. And watched the sky, the orange, white and yellow streaks of cloud against the backdrop of a sky of several blue hues. Birds were in the air, too. Dead leaves and ants, a cardboard box, two beer bottles and a pair of rubber slippers littered the rooftop I sat on. I tried just pushing my pen to paper and letting the pen fly wild.
“Iddlessfdger ruesses indicative idle kegger ruesses and flamboyant metal coloured bits run amok in a swirl of idle dead headedness and you can see this but there is nothing you seem to be able to do it, and you recognize these moments, don’t you? It’s like you’re a perpetually drowning man and it is moments like these that you come up for air. Do you think the real reasons you share your word jumbles is so that other people have a frame of reference for the conversations you so desperately want to have? You can’t even remember, if you ever did know, what exactly you want those conversations to even be, do you? What do you want to talk about? What do you want to talk about today, in this here and this now on this ant-infested rooftop?
One exam and then it’s what, more skipped meals, staying at home, desperately trying to save money in between bouts of overspending? How do you make things better? Writing stories seems like such a certain choice for you, but what on earth makes you think that you are capable of such a thing? When have you ever just sat down and worked on a story from its beginning until it was finished? When is the last time you were inspired and kept with it? You keep stopping like there’s nothing in you moving you on, to move you on, it’s like there’s not another word you can put on the page even when your head is full of the words you do want to use!”
I stopped here, watching the sky and the birds arc through it, again. I let myself write as if my writing was talking to me, addressing me as “you”, or maybe I was addressing my writing as “you”… I don’t know. It felt right. I wrote on.