Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Keys Made While You Wait

Once when I was in a writing workshop, I told an anecdote about being a kid and writing suicide notes for my stuffed animals in crayola. I can't imagine what was going through my mind; I merely thought that my little friends had grown weary of the world and wanted to exit stage left. In many ways I was a dramatic child, the kind who would say, These vegetables are killing me, just looking at them is killing me, much less eating them which would most certainly kill me. A woman in the workshop told me if I didn't use the stuffed animal suicide note she would, which got me thinking. It did end up in a story, along with some other childhood memories interwoven with an incredibly painful front story, not a dramatic one, no Jack London "To Build A Fire" kind of drama, more like lost, desperate, heartsick and alone drama.

I had a terrible time as a beginning writer with plot. Okay, truth be told, I had a terrible time with damn near everything. But plot was the worst. Like Christopher says on The Sopranos about his life in a true moment of budding screenwriter misery, I have no arc. All the books say you gotta have an arc. I couldn't for the life of me see what my arc could be. I had characters doing really thrilling things like hanging out at the Dairy Queen which would be fine if I could get them to do anything at said Queen except for have deadly dull conversation over their Blizzards. When people talk about natural ability, I have to say that I had none. What I did have was a 24 pack of crayolas (and a longing for the 64 pack -- and say what you will, longing is one of the best things for a developing writer) and some paper, a few stuffed animals as characters. And I eventually pulled my story characters out of the Dairy Queen, but not before noticing how they ate their Blizzards, what kind they ordered (my favorite was the purple Kool-Aid/pop rocks combination -- I called it the Jim Jones Special), and how all that was sweet settled to the bottom of the cup in a thick dredge that you could drag your spoon through before tossing it in the trash.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"I became a poet at the age of sixteen. I did not intend to do it. It was not my fault." Margaret Atwood

Cocktail Hour

Drinking movie suggestion: Friends With Money

Benedictions and Maledictions

Keys Made While You Wait

I’ve always loved something that could mean
anything or nothing at all. That explains many
things, you and me, and the guns underneath
our bed. The romance of the Chinese
restaurant menu portion of our relationship
has long since worn off. We are no longer
pointing out the obvious traits, but rather cloaked
in conversation. If I say, it seems like a long time
until my next birthday and you look down to trace
my sign, we can say the words we know so well.
There’s a sale on caskets at Costco -- like all the advice
books say, it’s good to keep in mind where this is going.


Off the Wall said...

"There's a sale on caskets at Costco."

Abby Cadabby said...

I would never read a suicide note, let alone write one.

Pope Benedict said...

To all the Hamlet-like assholes of the world--GET A JOB, ASSHOLES!!!!

Sir Basil Seal said...

Dear Michelle,
As you know, I find your jokes uproariously funny. They always make me snort and clap uncontrollably, so much so that it creates quite a little scene with my secretary here at the office.
Please do continue your splendid humour, and please do drop in for a drinky poo whenever you can. You're always the life of the party here at the consulate and everyone loves you.
Affectionately yours,


Anonymous said...

Beautiful photo, Michelle. Love the red hair...of course! Suicide notes for stuffed animals -- very interesting! Never tried the Jim Jones special, though, I always loved Dairy Queen's Lemon-Lime Mister Misty as a kid.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
Another lovely post, as always, although if I may say, I like the indoor views such as yesterdays best. Bravo on your most enchanting story and interesting poem. I am sure you are looking to the weekend with school and such. I am as well.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Sometimes plot is spawned from the details; sometimes the details get in the way of the plot. I'll have to share my latest rejection letter that says, "Very descriptive details, but no thanks," meaning LOUSY PLOT.