Imagine Me and You, I Do

“Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.”

–SALMAN RUSHDIE

Once again the truths of writing have surfaced to chomp me on the ass.

This past summer had been an uncommonly productive one for me; I turned out two feature-length screenplays (technically one and a half, the second one having crumbled to worthlessness at the midpoint), a couple of short stories, and a host of haiku, flash, and microfiction. By late August, even with the problems of Screenplay #2 mounting and the prospect of writing an unfilmable piece of dreck looming on the horizon, I was in the Groove, that magical headspace in which the words keep coming and each session behind the keyboard is satisfying and productive.

While in the Groove I’d decided once Screenplay #2 was finished–temporarily, until a better second half could be hatched–I was going to finally tackle that novel I’d been putting off. My usual arsenal of procrastination prompts had withered beneath the reams of text I’d written and the time felt right. Besides, I had a great premise that sounded like an awful lot of fun to write.

It was exciting. I felt like A Real Writer during those weeks.

And, as always, a fly makes its way into the ointment.

The day I typed “The end” at the bottom of Screenplay #2 I heard that a highly esteemed small press publisher (one that’s put out books by several of my favorite writers, as well as a leading candidate on my Get Published There list) was accepting unsolicited submissions. The window was tight, but definitely manageable, especially since I was leaking words by the bucketful. Never mind that the novel I’d intended to write didn’t really fit in with what they’ve previously published–I had something more appropriate in the ol’ cranial inventory, anyway. It was just a matter of pushing Novel #1 aside and pulling up the notes for Novel #2.

It’s been almost three weeks since that decision and I’ve hardly written a thing.

Oh, there’s been a couple of jokey haiku and some microfic hastily sketched out during downtime at work, but I hadn’t produced anything significant in that time. The Groove had definitely been lost, the thought of plunking my ass behind a keyboard was daunting instead of exhilirating.

It must be the story, I figured. Maybe I can think of something better.

And I did. It wasn’t anymore fitting with the publisher’s needs than Novel #1, but it showed genuine potential–a tragic romance between a young man and his doomed relationship with a beautiful woman who turns out to be a siren. It was also Curtis Harrington’s NIGHT TIDE, so that was out.

The Groove was quickly replaced with the Rut. Ideas felt forced and awkward. Motivation is non-existent. Playing video games seems a more effective use of writing time.

Compared to the Groove, the Rut really sucks. So last night I say, Fuck it. I’m going back to Novel #1. Whatever happens, happens.

And while it’s a relief to finally have a game plan, the whole ordeal is an irritating waste of time. Why did I stress on writing something else, only to return to square one?

Then I found the above quote and it all made sense.

When you think about it, we really don’t control our ideas, do we? It’s almost like courting–one of you expresses an interest and you feel each other out, determining if you’ll make a good match.

And like any potential relationship it may lead to something fruitful, or it could end in disaster.

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