Monday, January 3, 2011

Fraggle Rock

Blogging and other projects are pretty slow going at the moment due to the damned fraggles. Another couple of days and I'll have this weird affair done.

2010 ended in the emotional equivalent of a hail of bullets. The car cost me $450. I got another note from the Tax department, which will mean more to pay out and I crept across the finish line exhausted, fearful and feeling alone.

But I have not come to grieve for the losses of one year, but to look ahead. Onward, we move. New Year's day, I worked on the damned fraggles, to finish that promise, but also looked at reworking that old novel I've been carrying around with me for a few years. I looked at an old version and began my first steps toward making it the book it should be.

I also went through the first few dozen pages of the literary agents book I have (a fine gift from my wife and much appreciated). I marked the agencies I thought could represent the book. There were a lot and I wasn't even anywhere near the middle of the section. It was kind of exciting.

Part of what has always hung me up, I think, are expectations. I expect things to be a certain way. I expect people to behave in ways that make sense to me, which typically suit my needs and wants. This is the kind of thinking that dooms friendships, marriages and jobs.

I expected a long time ago to be a successful writer by now, to be financially secure and to be a man of leisure --kind of the dream, I think, of your average aspiring novelist --money enough to write and not have to worry about punching a clock. Everybody wants to be Stephen King --probably Stephen King does, too.

Last year was hard. I've felt almost crippling guilt at times at how envious I was over my sister-in-law's book. She made it look so easy and it's hard not to feel like shit when everybody says how great someone's book is when you've got two manuscripts sitting on the same bookshelf and a bunch of rejection letters. I've really grappled with it, with what she's accomplished and with how when she mentions working on a revision or a writing problem, it doesn't quite mean the same thing as when I say it.

Part of me wanted to dismiss her success as as a fluke, a lucky break. It could happen to anyone, but that does a disservice to her. She had the right book at the right time, but she was also the right writer. In order for her to be lucky, she had to be good first.

I think we learn in starts and stops. I find my lessons in the weirdest places. Lately, I've been bitching about the fraggle project. I started bitching about it almost from the minute I started it. This was supposed to be easy, something to burn through that maybe a few people would like and would help me clear my head. I now have 40,000 words written and the damned thing isn't done.

Keep in mind this is a project that will never be read by more than a handful of people --maybe a dozen. It will never earn me a dime. I'd call it satire and parody, but nobody makes money on that kind of thing (unless it's porn apparently, that seems to be booming from what I read) and the fraggle's lawyers would skin me alive in court, I imagine. I do not believe it can or will advance my writing career in any way. It is an epic time waster.

But here's the thing, it's been fun. I've spent many hours lost in that despicable world I've created and filled with not particularly admirable characters. There is no pressure to try and be good, though it would be kind of a joke if it accidentally turns out to be sort of good. It is pure creation and a joy --even if it's about the damned fraggles.

I have no expectations. It will be what it is. Maybe I could learn something from a fraggle.

1 comment:

Autumn Dawn said...

I totally feel this. Sometimes my jealousy of other writers is crippling & it makes it doubly hard not to be a hack (even subconsciously) when someone else writes something I admire or worse when someone else writes a cash-cow & I think I can write that crap in my sleep.