Spread the wealth, sailor!

Another post! It’s like I’m pouring a little out for my homies every day.

I’ve reached an impasse in my writing out of sheer disgust of the material that’s been coming out for Nanowrimo. (Watch live as I crash and burn here!) I know, I know, the point of pumping out a novel in a month is to get workable material and not necessarily Starry Night in a hat box and you have to give it time and bah bah bah blacksheep. Although I’m giving myself a plethora of ass-in-writing-chair moments, I can’t seem to make my brain function in that direction. (I blame you, television/alcohol/substances/myself.) I just don’t see the point of having several pages of worthless shit. (My thesis advisor would tell me that no work is worthless and that you’ll eventually find some use for some, if not all of the material. But pfft, what does she know?*)

These days, instead of building my word count, I find myself re-reading the beginning of the novel. My advisor has been telling from jump that these are my best pages. Not that the others should be burned in the ninth circle of hell, but some of them are just not there yet, you know? But how exactly does one go about capturing the essence of that material on the rest of the boatful of shenanigans?

Research shows (by the way, I made this shit up) that the first three chapters of any novel are the most solid. These are your babies. You’ve watered and fed them with the most amount of time and fanciful edits, as you should. They’re the lifeblood of the rest of your work. Here, the characters must be clearly defined, the dialogue sharp, and the wit a-poppin’. If those pages don’t make sense, then the rest of the novel is bound to fall apart somewhere.

And in terms of spreading the wealth, you also want a way of maintaining that level of momentum until the very end. Some of the very best writers can’t do this. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been annoyed by a great novel that ends up sucking in the last 40 pages. (I’m looking at you, Lev Grossman re: no one gives a shit about Fillory *cough* Narnia.)

So, what up peanut gallery? Any thoughts?

I wonder if he thought he'd become a punchline? Nah, I'm wondering if he kept the towel.



Keeping Daddy off the bottle

Choosing a thesis advisor is what imagine choosing a baby sitter or daycare service must feel like for parents. Is this the one? Will my kid have any stranger danger moments? Can I trust that baby won’t stick its finger in the socket under your watch? Except my kid’s ruminated in my head for at least five or six years. No unpleasant births, thus far. But no sense of relief, either.

Mind you, I expect my advisor to put me through the paces. I need fire beneath my feet. (Fire is key.) When I’m in my headspace too long, I get lazy. Complacent. I had a professor say to me once that a good writer must learn to kill their little darlings, if need be. Exercise that writing muscle through pain. Though, I suspect homicidal tendencies coupled with writing might not make the best course of action.

I have a hint of what’s to come. And sometimes, a bad day might find its cure through opening up. Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely struggle.

“Sometimes, I feel like I’m in one of those scenes where the kid watches the daddy alcoholic take to the drink ,” a fellow cohort says. “To me, you’re like the kid that says, ‘Daddy, put down the bottle.'”

One must learn to straddle the dark places.

Good Grief.

As hard as I try not to, I find myself floating in that Charlie Brown state of mind when the “season” rears its head. The littlest tree in the lot. The pillowcase filled with rocks. I walk around with the Vince Guaraldi Trio pinging in my ears. It’s jaunty and a little forlorn. My head stays truthful, knows that egg nog and peppermint schnapps can only distract for so long. Something wicked this way comes.

Are you ready?

So, this thesis thing? What’s that all about? The pinnacle of my graduate study, you say? Man… That sounds pointy.

Dude. I get it.

“There’s more than enough time to be shitfaced and sexy.”

Words of wisdom from one Tony Patelunas, pre – Spring Break. Technically, my vacation started yesterday, but my heart and soul belongs to an indie bookstore three days of the week. I can’t complain much, as work feels more like play and banter than any sort of physical labor. I’ve never been asked to supersize anything or fold multi-color shirts. I have wrapped several display boxes of books, but only during the high holy days.

I feel frosty drinks and toasty books calling my name. A bartender in a certain Sayville establishment. A BFFL or three. I can’t neglect my work completely, though, as much I try to tune out the buzzing in my ears. Creativity waits for no one, not even Spring Break. Corny, but true. I feel myself drawn to narrative forms as of late, perhaps because I’ve overextended my foray into plays and monologues. Blame one Jules Feiffer.┬áMy mind thought like that once, but I feel as if my internal clock is pushing me towards that evil thesis. I guess I’m inspired by those around me who are graduating this semester and all of those books I shelve and sell at work. I can’t help it. I’ll try to fight it.

My moment. My chance at the watering hole.

Whenever I think watering hole, I picture this movie. I used to have a Lion King bedspread...when I was hip.