A sometimes half-arsed record of the process of writing in its' variegated many forms.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

the current project

Many of the projects I set for myself this summer were themselves requiring of individual attention, and of course I had planned to work on all of them at the same time. As things would have it, I just finished the one screenplay, and that took most of my time. In the procrastinations between work on Eddie the Grouch, I did however begin to develop a novel idea.

It started as an extension of the work on the memoir, which had become big and complicated enough for me to have to actively stop work on it so that it didn't take over from finishing the screenplay. It really became one or the other, and I went for the quick and dirty over the long and drawn out. I then thought about trying a more straight forward autobio fiction, reimagining my time at Spottswood Square in Memphis, TN. Briefly I was distracted by the idea of writing a collection of short stories based on characters professions starting with a minor league baseball Umpire and working from there.

Again, I had to shelve this idea if I was to have any hope of finishing the screenplay, which became wierder and more complex as I went along. In the final breaths of the script, it hit me like a ton of bricks as I wrote a section of the novel Eddie is writing. I wanted to write a novel about a writer trying to write a screenplay. It was perfectly synched with the Eddie script, as it was a screenplay about a character trying to write a novel. They would complement each other in a lovely way. Of course I knew in the back of my head that this was a much bigger undertaking. A novel is no small thing, and I've yet to complete one, although I've got a couple of novella length things that are incomplete. I do know that it's not as easy as writing a screenplay. Not necessarily easier but exercising different writing muscles, and as Murakami says novels are a grind.

Still, I was committed to it being my next project for the next year or so. I still have 9 undergrad classes to finish, which take only time not effort. So, it's all just a question of time management. Still I did want to get started before school, but I was having trouble. The idea had to be filled in more before I would be ready to write. I had to do much, much more conceptual work, which I have been doing over the past several weeks, really for longer but just intermitently. I go wander around Boston trying to find inspiration in the architecture, which I have. It's freeing to be out walking, surrounded by people and business and life.

I began to see how I wanted to weave the real beauty of my city in with the fantasy of my story. I began to stake out real places to have in the story, and transplanted my Memphis story to where I actually live. It's been an amazing process, and I do want to document it all which, of course, won't happen. I'm already skipping a whole lot, but let me say this. I do hope to write this project openly here at this website. I want blogging here to be a document of the process of writing this particular novel. Hopefully as a way to maintain focus on this particular novel, as my mind has a tendency to wander. I try to keep focused.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The ultimate inevitability

It was an undoubted inevitability that blogging would become a responsibility and lose the sheen of offhandedness. The approach was all wrong from the beginning. While I had, in my head, been true to the notion that blogging was just a form of digital journaling that happened to be accessible by a wider audience, in the end it was that wider audience that I sought; not surprisingly unsuccessfully. I've always craved a wider audience, even as I refuse to do anything in the way of compromise on the 'integrity of my artistic vision' to satisfy anyone outside of my own head; read: I can be a real asshole when it comes to blowing smoke.
The problem was bound to come to a head as work, school, more structured creative projects, etc. began to interfere with an increasingly wide range of blog forms and the mania of inspired first moments waned. There was no possible way to maintain that kind of fiery pace indefinitely. It had to burn out. In the end, I was lucky that the landing was as smooth as it was, and I'm able to come back to this at all instead of a total abandonment of the persona, the Brown Dog Affair. So, I'm trying to reground this project in it's original intentions; return to form, as it were...just tighten up a little bit.