At the traditional prenuptial grab for alcohol, the liquid lunch that immediately precedes a wedding as just reward for those who arrive early, Infinitarian recently asked me how my writing has been going recently. Badly, I said, more or less. I’m managing to chew my way through a good few reviews (the last few DogmaNet music pages have been infiltrated by my presence) but my creative writing (especially QlL) has slowed to a crawl, a trickle, a nothing-at-all. That’s what I truly want to do, I think, but it’s a lot harder both to write creatively and to obtain any recognition for it, even for the bits that people have honestly said were worth recognition.
But since bumping into the Inf I’ve had some success with a minor project I’m working on, a warm-up exercise really. I’m trying to fill two sides of a 5” by 3” index card with a short-short story as often as possible. It’s a hack trick and no guarantee of quality, but it at least keeps the muscles warmed up. It might be preferable to write for an audience, but I lost confidence in the critical faculties of East of the Web: not that I was unhappy with critical reviews, but that for every critical review that understood what I was after there were always four that had no idea at all, and that’s a level of noise I simply can’t wade through.
The warm-ups are bearing some fruit. You’re aware, I take it, of the novel that each of us carries around within us, but most have the decency and self-awareness to let it remain there. Well, mine has been chewing on the notion of seeing the light of day for about eighteen months now. And I’ve just managed to write a bare-bones plot, a few hundred words of back story and evolved the mysterious phobias of two of the lead characters (which must drive some of the plot, entirely subliminally). I offer no guarantee of quality, of course: but unlike those who took part in the great feel-the-width-a-thon of NaNoWriMo I at least have the decency to feel embarrassed at any lack thereof.
It also looks from his most recent posts that Infinitarian has used the idea I’ve had for creating the structure, completely unwittingly as I didn’t even mention it to him and he’s only using it as a naming convention anyway. And the seam he’s mining has been dug into so often before, by writers of every stripe, that I can hardly claim it as a stroke of genius. The only original part of my take on this is that I sincerely hope that all of the structure I’m laying down will be entirely invisible to all but the most assiduous and forewarned readers…. Ah. Pretend you never read this.