A Changed Focus, Maybe

I’ve been spending so much time writing music articles that my other outlets have been greatly hindered. Maybe. I don’t really know. (Check them out here, though.)

Now with an evening of feeling semi-caught up (the holiday presents are wrapped and ready to go, it’s a shame that they will probably arrive a week after Christmas…dah, pay no mind) I began working on new fiction material. The brain has been cooking, the notebook being filled with great story ideas, and when it comes time to begin the outline/1st draft, everything flows perfectly. The introduction has always come easy for me. Three, four paragraphs and a clean sweep into the real guts of what’s going on. It’s the guts that trouble me.

As I said, the intros are nice and strong. It feels like a strong intro into something truly interesting, but there is no actual story. I’ve only written the introduction. Memorable sentences. Gripping, grabbing hands like those in Labyrinth, forming faces and questioning and warning you before falling into a spike-machine-guarded catacomb maze of sorts. But there’s no damn machine, or catacombs for that matter…nothing. Damn, damn.

To go back and rehash an idea that failed in the first place seems lazy. Sure there are some fantastic beginings, hell even middles and ends, but it just seems cheap to do. (Though there is a particular favorite involving an affair between the main character’s mother and his dentist, who happens to be a werewolf.) To go through a day in the human life evokes story ideas numbering in the hundreds, or so it seems. Is there a difference in coming up with good ideas and being able to execute them as well? In writing, the planner should also, of course, be the builder for it to work at all. Sometimes others’ ideas play a role in a piece, but rarely are they interesting. Within the last month I’ve been introduced to some very interesting characters, whether it be in person or via stories and photographs. Here’s a few:

Hap: Hap was my great-great grandfather. I never knew him, of course, but recently acquired some photographs and, after talking with my aunt for a few hours, learned a lot about him and the childhood of my grandfather, Robert. Highlight:

-Hap burned both of his hands of while working for General Electric in the early twentieth century. In the place of his hands were two mechanical pinchers that, “hurt like the dickens.” My grandfather, or Papa as we called him, was raised by him and his wife, whose name escapes me. Papa was born two months premature in the 1930s which, at the time, was a death sentence. He was given up by his mother, a vagabond lesbian, and left to die. Hap kept him in a shoebox on the top of the stove to keep him warm. (On really cold nights, baby Papa slept in the oven.) Papa lived a full and funny life thanks to Hap, that double-hooked, vodka-loving hulk of a man.

Henry Miller: I’ve known this man through his words for a really long time. I have visited his childhood street in Bushwick, Brooklyn and his apartment, from his novel Tropic of Capricorn located in Brooklyn Heights. This summer, while on vacation, I ventured down to the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur, California. Nestled in the steep, orgasmic mountains of Highway 1, an otherwise scary house sits underneath sleepy foliage-shade. Inside houses artifacts from Henry Miller’s life (paintings, notes, books, among many other things) and a bathroom which I was more than happy to use. After picking up a few hard-to-find things, including a documentary to be discussed in just a second, we jetted back to San Francisco for a jolly night of wine.

The original DVD was blank so after contacting Magnus Toren, the curator of the library, I received the real thing in the mail. Highlight:

– Henry Miller discussing his love for peeing in Paris; the way the pubic urinals sit in the middle of the sidewalk, almost to the point of being voyeuristic. The way men will still shake hands after relieving themselves and not worry about germs. A brotherhood long dead with the modern advancement of hand soap.

Those two people alone should spawn a thousand ideas. I decided not to include anyone that I met in the flesh for fear of personal interactions regarding something I wrote. I don’t like talking about writing. Now reading, or music, that I enjoy.

I don’t like talking about movies, either.


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