Friday, January 27, 2012

Sown and Sewn, Part III: The End of Week One

As silly as this is going to sound, here it is: it took me more time to simply sit down and start writing this story than it's going to take me to write it. The very notion of this piece began as a thought on a walk home from the restaurant back in September. Here it is January, and the very end of it at that, and I just started writing. At the end of week one, I drove through 1/3 of the project. 1/3. And at the pace I'm going, I'm thinking that I may be as far as half way by the end of the weekend.

I cannot really account for this surge. I can tell you that it feels pretty good to be back at work with a larger piece of writing. I'm back to my old habits: the Waterman Philaes fountain pen and the 200 page 9 ¾ x 7 ½ wide ruled composition notebook for the first draft. Second draft comes the next morning and the I'm just now beginning to start the third draft. To say it simply, I'm writing.
My personal life may or may not be a reflection of my work habits. I just haven't really thought about it. I mean, I still get ample time to myself and I'm still hustling tables at night. However, my job at the restaurant has mellowed out somewhat and I've been there long enough that I'm more relaxed in many work related aspects. As far as what I'm doing for a living goes, it's about as relaxed as it's going to get.
The biggest shift in this period, in all candor, has been the booze and the bar. I abruptly stopped drinking alcohol seven weeks ago. The impetus was change. I wanted to think different thoughts. Please see A Call to Arms about a recent experience with an ambitious never-do-well drunk. There are a few other aspects to the abstinence, money and time are the easiest to name. Needless to say, I've recovered both time and money while being mired in this sobriety.
So, just getting back to writing and in familiar patterns? I'm composing this piece just as I composed many of the former ones?
Removal of all life's annoyances or rejecting them. Taking it easy with the stress of life?
Recovering time and money by sobriety?
Who knows? What I do know, after rejecting many of my old notes for this project, I started on January 19th and here I am, 1/3 the way there.
Now, The Errors of Fabric.
I'm in this project with one thing in mind: the end of days is September 16th 1993. In the days and months leading up to this point, I've got my characters doing what they'd be doing or inclined to do. In 1993, they're all between 20 and 23 years old. None of them are going to emerge 1993 intact. Terry, my (early) protagonist is a lightening rod for grief and bad luck. Why would a writer do that to one character?
I believe that so much of the writer's autobiography comes through with their characters. For this very same reason, I hate stories, movies, anything that has a writer (writer's block) as the main character. Any character can be an autobiographical character. I'm no different. What happens to Terry in 1993 is not what happened to me in 1993. Terry is a video store clerk, he is not a writer. However through him, I may be finding catharsis for the events of my own life from that time. His events and his circumstances are very different to those I experienced, and I'm sure he will deal with things differently than I would.
What's my hang-up with 1993? It's arbitrary really. Terry is only the marker of another character who comes 20 years later than him: Claire. I haven't really got to Claire yet, but I will and when I do, well, this story, The Errors of Fabric is really Claire's story.
At the end of this first week, I don't really have much, at least much to say. I'm just getting to where I need to be to really being to work.
Today: January 26th 2012. I intend to have drafts 1, 2 and 3 completed by March 15th. If I continue to think of it and doing like I've been doing it, I may finish a month early. It is anywhere from 25 to 50 days from now, The Errors of Fabric reaches completion.
These, are of course, big words at this early stage.
Two things I know from experience: the first half always takes longer than the second half and the more I do (get done) the more I want to do (get done).
I've often preached to my former students, my colleagues and my classmates to just write and write until it's finished. I'm doing just that now. I'm documenting it too, which is odd.
If I get another three weeks as prolific and profitable as this one has been, the job will finish.

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