I've been writing these short stories that have proven really helpful to me in terms of learning about my characters. I love them and feel for them - the characters, not the stories. I hope my stories are good. Who knows? But you know, that's the thing, sometimes I'm writing and I'm not sure what it is. Like why am I writing these people or this thing? Is it going to be something? Will this end up in something larger?
Or is this an exercise that will be chalked up to part of the process or "my process" or whatever process? Process. Such an annoying word. Like if I write something and it's a failure I know it's a part of my process but it bugs me. Feels like a waste of time until you know, I'm away from it and into the script that's actually really super duper working. Now. And I know I KNOW I couldn't have gotten there without my stutter step. Yep, a part of the process.
Also a part of my "process" (God, just writing the word is annoying) is distraction. So like while writing these stories I picked up a book as I tend to do. Gotta get my mind off the thing I'm doing. So this book-- I bought it for my husband when we were in Boston, not knowing he had already read it as most well-read people had.
Leading me to now reveal: I never read Joan Didion before. There. Boom. It's over. It's out. I just never did! I'm sorry! I remember hanging out with my super well-read friend, Alice, one day who was describing her influences and she said, "Don Delillo" (Me: nope, never read him), "Joan Didion of course..." and when she said "of course" I said, "Yeah, well, yeah." I mean just lied. Out right lied. Like I was Joan Didion's best friend or something.
As a result, I became positive I wouldn't like her. Like as if lying about reading her made her toxic for me. I think the "of course" made me think, Oh, she's really going to be complicated and I'll feel pressure to feel a lot of things I won't feel or I'm not smart enough to know why people think she's so good and will realize it and then I'll feel down. Yeah, fuck that.
But because I know I need distraction when I'm writing and have convinced myself I cannot be entertained by any film or television and because the collection was fresh and new, a never-been-touched-hot-out-of-the-Trident-Bookstore-shelves-new, I picked up Slouching Towards Bethlehem hoping for the best.
Well, I fucking LOVE JOAN DIDION! Doesn't mean I'm smart or anything I just do. I love reading about California then and the beauty and the history and the weirdness. It's just the right ounce of escape from my own writing. I'm able to be entertained with moments with Joan and they're just that, moments. Though they are stimulating. I am engaged. Not like the lackadaisical experience of watching another bad TV show or a movie that's supposed to be good while my butt is slouching towards numbness. Yeah, I like my moments with Joan and somehow they feel like she's in this moment in time, mine, a part of my... process. (what a weird fucking morning talk show would that be? MOMENTS WITH JOAN. Me and Joan Didion and coffee and stuff? On like The Sundance Channel or something).
Anyway, I hope at the end of whatever this period of time is with my stories and Joan, I'll be closer to creating something great, something entertaining, the entertainment I so badly crave!
And I mean a person who says this is my kind of person:
I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. - Joan Didion
Writer, Writing Coach, Writer Supporter.