Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wabi Sabi: My Process

When I began Wabi Sabi, I had just finished participating in the November NaNoWriMo. I loved the creative challenge, of course. The story I had written in November I wrote very quickly. After all, the NaNoWriMo program goes on for 30 days, the month of November. I've written first drafts of novels very quickly in the past, but not that fast. The NaNoWriMo novel I wrote in 13 days. So when I decided to write Wabi Sabi I knew I wanted more time than 13 days, but that I wanted to do it in less that 3 months.

My prep for the project wasn't very much. I wanted to write I-80 from Salt Lake to Reno and that's not much more than about 520 miles. I picked up a map. I looked at a few of my old journals. I wrote down all that I remembered from my trips.

I also thought about what my characters would be like. I had only two characters. I wanted them to be both resourceful and resilient, but in different ways.

And I knew that since they were both strangers at the onset of the story, the road as well as life would have to make them grow together very, very quickly.

When I began writing I did not know these characters anymore than they knew each other. All I knew was the road. And the road was what changed them. I just said a great deal and said nothing at the same time, do you notice that?

I think there are times to plan a novel or a story and stick to the plan. Then there are times to just let the story go where it will go and as a writer, you just have to record it. This story, my Wabi Sabi knew where it was going to go from where it began: Reno from Salt Lake City.

I wrote this story long handed. I wrote with my fountain pen in my composition notebook and then did a second draft into the word processor. It took about 13 weeks.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wabi Sabi: The Road Story

I love road stories. “Kneller's Happy Campers” always comes to mind first. Of course I still hold The Grapes of Wrath in high regard. On the Road seems to be the obvious one. If it is, then tell me do the prettiest girls in the world really come Des Moines? I loathed Cormac McCarthy's The Road despite being fascinated with the notion that the father thought his son was the messiah. Road stories are great. They just are.

This is my impression of the road story. These are the elements that I think are important: there is a change of scenery and a destination. The surprising part of this is the notion that the destination is somehow different that expected, usually fails to or far exceeds expectation. Thing about the final scene in Barton Fink when the Barton finally lands up on the Southern Californian beach and the whole experience has somehow left him empty and befuddled the audience. In many ways, in a road story, the road itself becomes alive and as a living entity, it has become a character than both drives the plot, enhances character development and creates all the tension we need as readers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wabi Sabi: the backstory part two: tending robots

I first met Dani and Ryan in the fall of 2014 right when I moved to Longmont, Colorado and started working a restaurant where they both worked. I wouldn't say that the three of us hit it off instantly, because it's difficult, if not impossible, to hit it off with me either instantly or gradually.

This particular restaurant has a very small staff. This particular town is small too. When I met these two, Dani lived a few blocks from me, but Ryan lived in a different town entirely. We worked so few hours at this place too. The restaurant was open only five days a week and we never seemed to work more than about twenty hours a week. As far as restaurant gigs went, this one was a tough one for bonding with coworkers. Anyone who has worked in a restaurant will tell you, bonding with coworkers is very, very important.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wabi Sabi: the backstory part one: the road trip

I blamed all of my worries and woes, all of my future disasters and successes on one moment. The moment was sometime in September 1998. If age isn't a beautiful thing, I don't know what is, after all, you can have perspective with time and time equals age. This one moment happened at SFO. I had told the girlfriend that I was going to return to Denver. I have no idea what compelled me to return to Denver. The morning it all went down, she borrowed a car, drove me to the airport, parked, went in and walked me to the gate. The moment I blamed for everything was the moment that she walked away from the gate, I watched her walk away and despite my inclination to drop my ticket and run after her, I did not. I returned to Denver and followed a different destiny.