Saturday, October 08, 2005

I have a friend who is a bit older than I, but for whom I still have a fair bit of respect and I like him because he tells good stories. He also sends me regular emails full of lots of good things like videos of stuff exploding or small furry creatures being mown down by locomotives. You know, just the sort of stuff I find appealing.

Since he’s a fair bit older than I am, I had the idea of telling him about something that has been brewing in my head for about the last oooh 20 minutes but what I wanted was a good story that has a start, middle and a conclusion.

Because my life has been that many years shorter than Don’s, I have lots of starts, quite a few middles – but am lamentably short of conclusions. To put it another way, I haven’t managed get myself into enough situations, the resolution of which would provide a good basis for a plot of some length. All mine are either over inside 5 minutes or (and more likely) I’m still up to my eyeballs looking for the best way to get out of trouble.

I’ve been developing another case of writer’s block over the last two weeks too. I could see it coming, felt it encroaching and getting in the way of all things I consider important and worthwhile. It dawned on me yesterday what was causing the precipitation or perhaps the ascension of a massive head swallowing turd. A Volkswagon sized buffalo killer of a piece of shit enveloping its victim, ie: me, blinding, deafening and suffocating the life out of me and rendering any creativity I might erstwhile have enjoyed completely quashed.

I decided upon a course of action not 5 minutes ago to remove myself from the source of this inexorable drainage upon my sensibilities, but on visiting the hallowed halls of doom (one of the msn groups of which I am a member) I discovered this black hole for intellect was gone and so was all her stuff. I was, not to put too fine a point on it, fucking ecstatic.

It was a good culmination to a pretty substantially lacklustre weekend.

Someone else for whom I have developed a fair bit of affection and empathy left a couple of messages here and thereabouts and I wanted to respond to them but didn’t have the words. (Writer’s block, remember.) Then it suddenly dawned on me. Don’t reply, lead by example. So I did. The upshot of it was that a message was left for me by way of a response to this and I was not a little moved by it. Adherents to my blog know of what it is I am talking though my repeated references to it must be driving a few of the more curious among them insane because I’ve kept its location pretty much to myself.

Now that I have my brain back, I was struck with the idea to which I made reference above (for those who weren’t paying attention, it’s the bit about having lots of starts and middles but not enough conclusions) and I was thinking of emailing my friend, Don to help me come up with a few good examples of scrapes into which he has stumbled and how he got out of them. Don is well traveled and knows just enough about a lot of things, not enough to be a bore about any of them, and that’s more than I can say for many people of his vintage and experience.

On the other hand, he couldn’t write a one word instruction manual and when I’m free from braindead love vultures clogging up the bandwidth, I can. Moreover, when people around me invest so much of themselves in my presence and what I might be inclined to say to them, my natural bent for not wishing to disappoint tends to work fairly efficiently in everyone’s favour, especially mine.

So I’ve given birth to a premise for a story, I haven’t named it yet and it’s second in line to the throne of what I’m intending to make available to the broader public. I’d like to share that premise with you but I’m acutely aware of similarities this idea of mine has to ideas others have been diligent enough to make known to the entire western world, therefore mine needs to get a bit development happening before it’s allowed to be shown off.

Which reminds me, Locke, you did it to me again. You told me about what it was safe for me to write and I gave it careful consideration, couldn’t conjure anything satisfactory enough, thought about other things and even wrote about them – then a week later – so did you. When you finish with my head, it might be nice if you could tell me when you give it back.

This time, I’m cogitating something purely fictional – for a change, and it involves narcolepsy. That has got to be a subject nobody else is even remotely considering, so I’m thinking I’m going to be safe as houses writing it. If any of you reading this knows of any other work of fiction – besides Rat Race – that includes narcolepsy, I don’t want to know.

It includes quite a lot of other things as well, but here’s the dilemma: If I enunciate now what those things are, I run the risk of getting in the way of what I consider to be something of far greater importance than me being a showoff. It’s happened twice now and it has been just a private little thing and all is well and good and right with the world.

Anyway, back to narcolepsy. Although it can be seen all over the world in lecture theatres, church sermons and parliamentary venues, it’s generally not regarded as a problem until it starts happening in places where it could conceivably result in the death of the narcoleptic or someone else for that matter. Anything short of tragedy is comedy anyway so I’m perfectly happy making a definite statement such as that.

What I propose is putting my poor old narcoleptic character into situations no narcoleptic should ever have to face. Naturally, there needs to be more to the story than that and I don’t mean curing the narcoleptic. How could there be a sequel if I did that? Oh no no, I’m not that charitable.

It’s just that I am acutely aware of my oversupply of beginnings and middles and the scarcity of resolutions since I don’t have that sort of experience upon which to draw – but I’m getting there.

In fact, being as close as I am to pretty much every conclusion in which I've ever been involved, it's probably difficult for me to see them properly - sort of like getting up close to a wire fence so you look through the gaps in the wire, rather than look at the wire itself.

Maybe looking at things from a different perspective might enable me to see what it is I'm presently missing. Meh. It's something upon which I shall have to work a little harder and a little later. I am at present pre-occupied with other matters.

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