(This is for my buddy Katrina, a sweet lady and a good boss…she got me thinking about “writing” the other day.)
It occurs to me that, as a writer, I’d make a fine truck driver.
Unlike a lot of my fellow bloggers who are wannabe authors (at least I suspect this is the case), there’s no epic novel percolating around in the back of my fevered brain, no saga of the open plains with strutting cowboys, voluptuous cowgirls and large, smelly animals, no hard-boiled noir detective drama involving a stolen diamond, a beautiful women and a cadre of vertically-challenged pursuers (previously known, prior to the advent of being “PC”, as midgets), no sci-fi tale of three-legged, chartreuse striped space aliens from the planet Rgh6%kkTl3.ty22 blasting their way across the outer rings of the Clystron Nebulae with synthesized, gamma ray-generating 56mm harmonizing laser cannons, intent on mayhem and dominance of the Ford Galaxy, no meaningful yet melancholy tale of two sisters on a journey of self-discovery as they search for their long-lost Uncle Clarence in the Outback of Australia or for that matter even a tale of love lost and/or love unrequited with repeated scenes between two people deep in the throes of serious lust, copulating on a bearskin rug like two minks run amok…sorry, there just isn’t any of that in my mind anywhere.
Good thing too; there’s enough silly shit going in there already that I don’t need all the distractions.
Once upon a time, I considered authorship, and still do periodically, but after due and careful (and brief) consideration, I reached a conclusion…see the second paragraph above.
I do try to be a good story-teller however, which to my way of thinking is a fine quality for which to strive…a well-told story is like a beautiful, sexy woman, something to admire, to cherish, to return to over and over again, that makes you feel satisfied and content with the world.
Problem for me, I just have a hard time being serious for any extended length of time, say more than 10 seconds at a crack.
Some examples of beginnings to “books” that I’ve contemplated over the years…
~ “She was a tall woman, supple and slender yet possessed of an inner strength that shone through to the people she met like a beacon from a lighthouse, at once a guiding light to the safe harbors of who she was and a warning of dangers concealed in the darkness. She walked through life with a calm that was reassuring to others, and she made you feel like she knew intrinsically the secrets that the rest of us could only dimly perceive. Her face was open and inviting; she had long, chestnut hair and eyes deep and blue, except for the one in the middle of her forehead, which was the shade of seafoam made by waves rushing across the sandy shore.”
Or this one…
~ “There was never a moment in Albert’s life when he wasn’t aware of the passing of time; he lived and died a thousand deaths in the minutes and seconds of each hour, each sixty minute block an agony of anxiety. Time passed too swiftly for him, too rapidly to grasp, to arrest somehow, to stop the ceaseless ticking of the eternal clock, to bring to an abrupt halt for just a brief respite its relentless passage. Albert also knew that butterbeans were evil, and that he would never have enough Saran Wrap to finish the snare drum project.”
Here’s a non-starter…
` “There was no one there the spring day that Sheila decided to change her life around; it was a solitary decision, after much deliberation and careful thought. She was a careful and thoughtful woman, the kind of person who only took a step down off the curb after she had looked both ways twice, thus ensuring her safety. So it was only in keeping with her nature that she had finally, resolutely, made up her mind to shave her pet gerbil Constance; the weather was warming now and Connie would no longer need the comfort of hair, and she felt that possessing a naked gerbil would her bring the celebrity and fame that she so craved.”
See what I mean?
~ “Rocky peered up at the Lieutenant from his perch on the fo’c’sle, his legs dangling over the side of the ship where he had been sitting, staring out at the whitecaps on the ocean.
“Hey, Lieutenant”, he said in greeting.
“How long have you been sitting here, sailor?” the Lieutenant asked.
“Ever since I got off mid-watch, sir”.
“Thinking of that girl, what was her name, back in Singapore?”
“Bronwyn. Yeah, I was,” Rocky sighed, taking a deep breath and letting it out all at once in resignation. “At least, I was at first. Then I started thinking about what I would get if I crossed a gazelle with a can of peas; I can’t decide if it would be a really fast legume or a really small green bovidae.”
“Well,” said the Lieutenant in reply, “you’d need an enlarged thistleclanger and three vertical kanooten valves to do that, wouldn’t you?”
“Only if you didn’t want a simulated glacker.”
It’s hopeless…Hemingway or Dickens or Steinbeck or any of those other Greek guys will never be threatened by me. Shit, Harvey the Zealous Wombat would probably have better luck writing a serious novel than I’ll ever have.
I am verklempt. (To all my Jewish readers, my apologies for the unauthorized usage of a Yiddish word by a person not of the Jewish persuasion…it is a really good word, like gerbil or gonorrhea. And I think the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah” would be a lot more interesting if you substituted the word “gonorrhea” for the word “hallelujah”. Just in time for the holiday season.)
Oh well, it’s probably for the best; if I wrote a really deep-with-meaning serious novel, with my crappy luck it would become an instant best-seller, receive nothing but rave reviews, sell millions of copies and make me a gazillion dollars, causing me to become rich, pretentious asshole. I suppose it’s better that I should stay a struggling pretentious asshole who writes a silly but devastatingly funny blog about shaving gerbils, finding iguanas in your toilet and being abducted by space alien sluts.
I’m pretty sure that’s how Stephen King got started, wasn’t it?
Love and The Grapes Of Wrath,
Post Script…One of my fellow Front Service Clerks at Publix, where I work part-time, was walking around the store one day last week all smiles and happy, like he had won the blueberry pie Lotto at a Marie Callendar’s restaurant; his name is Ed, and recently when I heard a customer call him “Mr. Ed”, all I could think of “Oh, Wiiilllburrr.” Anyway, I said to him, hey buddy, what’s up with all the grins and cheerful? Oh, he says, I just finished a really tough jigsaw puzzle yesterday. Uh, okay, I rejoined, perplexed. Yeah, he goes on, it said 2 to 9 years on the box lid, and it only took me 6 months to do it.”
(Insert rim-shot here.)
Post Post Script…you guys should be proud of me; I didn’t use the word “fuck” once in this entire column. Except for just now, thereby ruining my perfect record.