Not the History of Last Week

Heeyaaa!  Like Bruce Lee.  Say it out loud like you got some badass martial arts skills.  Just picture it: a group of would-be attackers surround you leaving your favorite restaurant.  OK, your favorite bar.  You’ve had a few to drink but not enough to write home about.  Basically you’re feeling good, perhaps even a bit springy because it is April.

Boom! Splat! Whisk! Begosh! Yikeees!

They keep stepping closer, sniveling and snorting like hyenas.

Get your Mufasa on.

Heeeyaaa!  Except now it sounds like a roar and you’re no longer Simba the cub.  Nah-uh, my friend because you are now a king standing there on that street corner just waiting for a reason to reign.  Poised to pounce as you are, the hyenas look to one another wondering how to proceed.  They are only hungry but you are starving just salivating at the thought of splattering hyena brain all over the sidewalk.

It won’t be much, don’t worry.

Don’t know where the Lion King tangent came from, or this story as a whole to be honest.  I was going to start telling you about my new writing project that I began last week and the next thing I know you are a king outside of a bar prepared to strike hyena brains on the concrete because you are a feline Bruce Lee.

Your litter box of hyena brain stains the sidewalk.

[Disclosure] This is a kind of long post, so here’s a song to listen to that will hopefully make your day.

This is a band called The 6ths, headed by Stephen Merritt from The Magnetic Fields.  The pic looks like it’s going to lead to pron, but it’s just that image throughout the song.  Kick back, close your eyes and let yourself wander… it’s a great way to spend a Tuesday afternoon.  Wait, maybe don’t close your eyes, that won’t help you with the whole reading thing I’m selling.

What I really came here today to write about is my fledgling screenplay/novel/collection of short stories.  I’m not exactly sure what form it will take in the end, but I have blisters from the pen to prove it – and even in a place I have never had one before – the inner side of the middle on my pinkie –  I am kind of sort of proud of this newfound blister as it represents the fierce battle scars that the writing profession exacts on its loyal subjects.  Or something.

Alas, I am getting ahead of myself.  I am not a professional writer.  Wait, I am actually a professional writer but I’m not going to count that for now because it is somewhat embarrassing and they are late paying me again so they don’t deserve the saucer.

That being said, for the first time in a long time I have a dream to believe in that is within the realm of possibility.  Oh sure I’ve had dreams before.  NBA Hall of Famer, Olympic hero, multi-billionaire, etc… but this one trumps them all.  Well maybe not really, but it definitely is right up there.  And like I said, this is somewhat attainable (or believable, at least to me at this point).

And yes, I know hardly anyone actually reads anymore, at least not books and shit, but some people do and I like them.

And yes, the publishing industry is in a state of existential crisis and nobody really knows how it’s going to play out in the future.

So you know what I say to all that?

Heeeyaaaa hyenas, heeeyaaa!!!

(Yeah I saw that last heeyaa coming too, sorry for that.)

Like I said, I freehanded my new amoeba project.  It takes a different focus to execute it that way and I am not sure if it is better or not.  I do know that I am not looking forward to typing it all up tho, but at least that will allow another round of editing to iron out the details and grammar and spelling and that whole mess.  It’s hard to write something of this length and keep everything straight.

Thankfully I had my own kind of writing workshop last week thanks to a house sitting gig in the mountains of Northern New Mexico that allowed me a straight week of hardly any interruptions and unlimited time to pursue this launch.

I have tentatively called it Not the Autobiography of Olivia Jack? Don’t steal it, I think I like it.  Olivia Jack came to me in the form of two cats, brothers, Oliver and Jack.  They kept me company during the week and became the inspiration for the name of our lead heroine.  I knew I wanted to have the name Jack as part of the main character, but I didn’t want it to be the stereotypical alpha-male first-name Jack personae.  Instead I pulled a gender reassignment of sorts on Oliver and turned him into Olivia.  He still likes me tho, he told me before I left.

So the first line goes something like, “I was king for a moment in my castle.”  I hope nobody has written that before, especially as an opening line.   I should probably Google that sucker just to make sure.  And also to check the cybersphere for any Olivia Jack that might take offense.  Actually, it’s just fiction, so I don’t really care about that, nevermind.

The story is organized around a night, That Night, when Olivia Jack left this world.  The circumstances surrounding the death are of course up for debate, and they are examined from a variety of perspectives that were present That Night.

So far I have about 25-30 pages at around 375 words a page.  Lowballing it that gives me about 9,000 words last week.  I haven’t done much now that I’m back in Santa Fe again, I’m hoping to get back at it tonight after I knock out six pages for two clients over at the ‘ol term paper mill.  One is about comparing Hellenistic and Etruscan art and the other has something to do with analyzing some interior designer.  I’ve been putting them off all day and this blog seems to help me with that.  In college I was a notorious procrastinator – nothing like a tight deadline to get the juices flowing after a night of bingers and beer.

Damnit!  Sorry, what was I talking about??

Oh yeah the gambit.  So my instinct tells me that I should have been able to write more, but at the same time inspiration is a tough thing to quantify.  I am mostly pleased with the quantity of the quality parts, there are only a couple of sections that need to be re-aligned tighter to the arc.  Anyway, when I wrote the first five pages I was ecstatic and then I went back the next morning and wrote for a handful of hours – it was great to lose track of time, not even really paying attention to the passing of days and just being immersed in another realm up in the mountains by the Black Mesa away from the everyday hustle in the city.

Out there they had a TV but no signal and also no internet access so I was able to unplug from the world at large for most of the week.  My only outlets were some DVDs (Bottle Rocket, Almost Famous, The Life Acquatic, Superbad, The Dark Knight) and the radio.  The only station that came in was NPR and they were doing a fundraising campaign all week so I didn’t listen as much as I probably would have.  That being said, the people I was house sitting for had a great music selection on CDs – some that I’d heard  and others that were new to me.  I listened to a lot of The Postal Service, A Tribe Called Quest, Bob Dylan, The Replacements, some Clash – London Calling Live, old-school Modest Mouse, and others I can’t remember right now.  Oh yeah, some Beck too.

The thing I listened to most tho was the wind.  It was fierce all week and it seriously ripped, roared, whistled and did all the other noises wind makes.  The place was literally shaking at times.  I found the setting to be fitting and it was an apt atmosphere for my first serious attempt at doing literature.  There was one day that wasn’t insanely windy and the sun was out.  I went for a probably 3-4 hour hike (my watch doesn’t know what time it is).  I walked down to the arroyo (a mostly dried up riverbed) and scavenged for a walking stick and enlightenment.

I penned a few lines to some poems while I was out there picking up rocks and getting stoned.  I sat for awhile on this smooth as eggs log that had no business being so perfectly linear and comfortable.  It was my own little sofa sitting on this little ridge in an isolated area backed by the treeline.

I scribbled my signature on it before I left just in case I make it out that way again and it is still there – I will be able point at it and reminisce and that’s about it – not quite as entertaining or as romantic as I envisioned in hindsight, but at the time it seemed appropriate.

So in the upcoming days, weeks, months (?) I may have something tangible to show people what I’ve been doing with my life.  I was at a going away party on Saturday and a long lost friend asked me what I was up to.  I told him I was a writer and that I was working on my masterpiece.  No, actually I just told him I was a writer but that was the first time I’ve told somebody that.  It felt true to me and I was impressed at how fluently I could talk about my vision.

As I’m thinking this through, I’m realizing you probably don’t care about all of this so I apologize if I’m boring you.

So why should you care about Olivia Jack?  I can only tell you what I know.  Here’s an off-handed pitch:

Not the Autobiography of Olivia Jack? acts as a suspension of a drama being played out in the memories of those witnesses that attended the party That Night.  It was hosted by the supermodel, JLB, in a stunning red dress and you were there but not necessarily with me.  In the closet of an unsupervised upstairs bedroom there was a jacket covered in plastic, on the bar in the kitchen was a frog in a fishtank.  In the hands of Olivia Jack was a black gun – we are not sure if it was shiny and slick, or if it was rusted and heavy, we have conflicting reports.  What we do know is that Olivia Jack is dead.  Do you know what sweaty palms smell like?

It is ultimately a story of intrigue, deception, and death that is not afraid to admit that even with all of the obtainable facts, the true life of Olivia Jack remains elusive.

(Or something like that, I’m sure some editor can come up with something better to make more enticing copy.)

Well then that’s about it, it needs a ton of work and more clarity as to how to structure the sequencing, but it’s starting to make more sense to me and I wish I didn’t have to turn paper tricks this afternoon so I could pick JLB’s red dress up off the floor of my cerebellum and smell it.  It doesn’t smell like sweaty palms, I can tell you that much.

Wow, if you’ve read this far I probably owe you for your time, but I’m broke so I’ll just take my leave before you decide to collect.


~ by garcialoca on April 7, 2009.

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