It's a mystery to me
the game commences
for the usual fee
it's in a diary
this is my investigation
it's not a public inquiry
Progress commences after setting aside blocks of time to re-think, re-plot and re-write the novel I have been working on for five years. In essence, the story is already written, across over more than two thousand pages of aborted drafts and notes. To write is to experience beautiful, gorgeous pain throughout the process that brings you from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. Finishing one difficult paragraph of a lengthy novel can produce elation when you finally figure out the problem with the wording that gnawed at you all night and made you toss and turn in your sleep. Writing fifty pages and then reading those fifty pages and knowing it just doesn't work makes you reach for the bottle and grip it tightly. You feel the time slipping away and feel you might never complete what you set out to accomplish. Yet you must be like the mountain climber and continue attacking the beast that is the mountain so that you may conquer it rather than admitting it conquered you.
This novel began as a diary, but it was never a normal diary. It was a notebook of dreams, a chronicle of life as seen through one man's eyes. It was about his painful depression, how it was brought on by being unable to meet his own expectations. It was about the experience of death, the details of lucid dreams brought on by that experience. It had to do with a friendship that eroded over time and a love that was never fully realized. It was about failure and success and how the two are only the distance of perception apart. It had to be melted down and allowed to gel into a story that meant something, not just to himself but to those who might read it.
There have been so many rewrites it is difficult to count how many, as three were written from beginning to end and the others were fragments in the river. To tell the story of one's own life in the form of a novel is not an easy task, as I once commented to someone here on E2, "with other stories I can change the details, plot and characters when I feel the need. With this I have no such luxury." In the end I gave in and changed some details, which has been a difficult prospect when trying to stay true to a complex tale which is based on a very true story. The answers I sought came in the form of condensing the story and condensing the characters so I could cover twenty years in one novel rather than focusing on one event. What to focus on and what to leave on the cutting room floor? The narcissistic nature of the project makes it a tight rope to walk, as I must constantly hit myself in the head with a brick and ask what is relevant to the story and what is just a memory I enjoy having.
The novel is meant to be a commentary on the human condition and how we can find ourselves dependent upon others to define us within their contexts. It is meant to be about the liberation one can find when one is secure enough in oneself to be able to move forward because of a belief in the self that no longer requires others to rubber stamp their approval. It is about life and death and the thin line between the two. It is about patterns that develop in our lives and how difficult it can be to break those patterns. Sometimes those patterns are important and mean something we have yet to realize and other times those patterns are self-destructive and need to be broken. It is about finding inspiration for the future in the past and how the present can stay one step behind us or one step ahead.
I came to E2 over a year ago by accident. I was looking for something else. I was looking for inspiration. I was looking for kindred souls. I ended up finding a lot of that here. Much of what I have posted on E2 are fragments and tangents from the novel. There is a super-condensed version somewhere hereabouts and countless other pieces that are either redefined parts of prior drafts or ideas that sprung up and needed to be coughed up so I could concentrate on the task at hand. Writers have a hard time admitting that sometimes they need to cough up a furball. This is what makes E2 a delicious alternative. We can cough up a furball, but it needs to be polished first and that keeps us sharper. Scribbling ideas in a journal or notebook we may never read again pales by comparison. Here one knows when they have hacked up something awful or when their idea or their writing has strong appeal. Writers have to write constantly or they go mad, but when the only person who sees what you write is yourself and maybe a handful of half-interested friends and family it is too much like radio silence. Writing in a vacuum is like pissing into the wind.
Life goes on. The words are coming out and there is an adrenaline rush accompanying them. One day it will no longer be a private investigation but a matter of public inquiry. My fit of daylogging madness is the result of too many furballs that I cannot justify calling anything other than a musing of the day. Thanks for listening as I cough up these furballs. Sometimes when the curtains are drawn and no one is there... the voice in the wilderness sounds so much clearer...
By the way, I do believe in daylogs...
I do, I do, I do...
I believe in taking away their shame.
There are times when we have something to say...
Something that isn't necessarily worthy of "a node of its own."
If E2 is in fact a community...
Then daylogs are part of that.
Sometimes we want to communicate something that is more than a few lines of /msg
Or even more than an AIM or IRC kinda thing.
Let's face it, the community communicates primarily electronically.
And so be it.
I declare a moratorium on daylog shame.