Friday, August 7, 2009

You can force it but it will not come...

is the opening line to "Planet Telex," and no matter what I've already said on this blog about writing no matter whether you can or not, forcing fiction is a very hard thing for me to do without ideas. I intend to do something of a "Fiction Friday," at least for the month. I did get an idea on Friday for a story to write, but as Warren Ellis once said, writing is something that can take a while. His actual quote was something along the lines of staring at a "project" (I think that was the word) from the 2PM to 2AM (as I've already said, I think that was the quote, so please don't quote me quoting him...) I plan on editing in my fiction piece for Friday once it's done and hopefully I can get a little bit ahead on this thing and be able to write these things to post live at the time I've stated. Hopefully. I've already somewhat amazed myself here and felt like I was writing quite badly (and sometimes at the same time), so we'll see. Rays won tonight/last night/Saturday in Seattle. I liked watching the Seattle games last year, perhaps the only series I can distinctly remember watching, due to the late start times. So, until I update here with a story, I guess that's about it. See I would try to run it out right now, but I think I should do today's/yesterday's/(from the perspective of the last finished piece) tomorrow's little rant, which I'm thinking is going to be about throwing baseballs at batters.

And on that matter I think I'll note that I know a lot of my ... metaphors? ... tangents, I guess, are actually these weird little ruts I get into, like always quoting from the same person or referencing baseball (which I would right now blame on the fact that it is the only major American team sport to be in season), and I guess I apologize for that. And out--

1:48AM EST 8/09/09

LEVERAGE [heh heh, the title of the show I'm listening to as I stare at the computer while typing this]

I am spreading the peanut butter out on your sandwich for today, something I never foresaw for myself, and something that might continue now for some time. I know that when I was a little girl going to school, I never really knew where my lunches were coming from. This was early on, maybe the first three years of classes, and I don’t really recall most of my thoughts back then, they’ve become as insubstantial as ghosts or dreams, but I’ve talked to Martin about what we expect from your first day. Neither of us could really say anything authoritatively about today’s schools, shucks, we’ve spent how many hours just seeing where you should head off to kindergarten and so our conversation soon derived into stories of our own first few years’ worth of school experience. It wouldn’t be the first time that Martin and I have talked about times like this—I’m sure if you ever read this that you’ll know what it’s like to have a spouse, sometimes you just assume you know everything about a person, even though you have nothing to back up this belief. I think that conversation helped to break this assumption in ourselves, became somewhat a turning point in our marriage. Of course I don’t know anything about the future right now…I probably shouldn’t predict. And, right, back to the fragment I’ve left, Martin and I had talked about our childhoods before, but only rarely and brokenly, we both came from…not bad homes, but places we wanted to leave behind. I would hope that although you may be able to understand this thought, that, if you do read this, you wouldn’t have experienced the same as us, but sometimes I fear that our parents had similar wishes. Sometimes I think that are no bad people in the world, there are only mistakes, misunderstandings, and that bloody thing called mortality, and this scares me as well. But right now I’d assume you don’t think anything can scare me, scare us, Martin and I, your daddy and mum, your godly parents. I haven’t really put an enormous amount of studying into this whole thing, I don’t know when the average child learns that his (or her as it could’ve been if your father’s genes went differently) parents aren’t infallible. I’m deep in these thoughts when I reach in the refrigerator for the jelly.

Ordinarily my daydreams are not spawned by such direct thought processes as these, but the glass I pull from the fridge makes me remember how I first saw your father, probably something like you see the man that greets you whenever he can, whenever his schedule permits. I surely thought he was a man who could not make any mistakes. I surely thought he was the perfect gentleman, but not the one for me.

We were out at the beach for the weekend before school started up again in the fall, I was going to be a senior, can you believe it?, I would whisper to myself time and time again, because, I for one, could not believe it. I still felt like the freshman I’d been three years before. Still gawky, still unnoticeable to the majority of students, the sort of character in a novel that gets named once every hundred pages for the readers to say in their heads, who?

Still, somehow, I’d gotten myself amongst a group of kids for the summer that year, we’d all worked together at the drive-in, and we were all happy to be rid of our jobs for the time being. It was a Sunday, I remember that because I’d skipped church, knowing my mother wouldn’t be happy about it, but also knowing that since I’d gotten my own car, there was very little chance of a terrible reaction from the woman. I’d driven down with two girls, Jenny and Lacy weren’t their names, but in the years past, I can only really recall their likenesses, names just won’t come, and I must’ve left my yearbooks behind in one of the house I’ve moved out of in the years since.

Lacy’s brother was named Spencer and we always called him a square, but I think we knew this was a misnomer, since we were the ones who never really got high, tried to skirt that ecosystem as we jogged through adolescence, or at least I did. It occurs to me now how much of what I remember is colored by who I am now, and so much of what I characterize as the three of us, a tight little trio for one summer, maybe even a little ways into September. Well, Spencer’s girlfriend used to be with your father, and we all knew this from junior, when I’d played a part in spreading a rumor, that she would spread them for any man, much like the peanut butter I just spread on this bread.

The first time I’d ever been introduced to your father, I was walking away from my friends, up the beach, my eyes on the surf, thinking about all the time I’d wasted idling, doing absolutely nothing, and how little time I could have left. Your…great-uncle…I guess, Nathan, he’d just passed at the age of forty, in a car accident, and automobiles were still a new thing to me then, something both dangerous and exciting, deadly, but soon enough I couldn’t get through life without a car. When I look over it now, it was like my thought process was what summed him up from all the inequalities that had formed my relationships with boys, with men as they were becoming ever so quickly, in those years.

He was sitting on a rock and looking out at the sun as if he’d stared at since it had come up and planned to see it down. I stopped and looked to him and he said, “You’re Doris, aren’t you?” which I guess somewhat floored me, that someone like him—like anyone really, since he didn’t have extreme social status or anything, but was someone I’d never spoken to—could know my name, and I momentarily lost my train of thought, which he took for lack of recognition. “I’m Martin,” he said, and hopped down from the rock to take my hand. “I used to be Natalie’s boyfriend, I guess maybe we never directly met…?” I think I smiled dumbly and he continued, “If you were planning on walking down the rest of the way, I’d have to caution you to turn around. This is jellyfish country and they can sting out water too, the sand up there is peppered with them and here you are, walking off alone and barefoot.” I looked down at my feet as if I was surprised to find them naked, mumbled a thank you and turned around.

As I walked off, he called my name again and I turned around. “Hey, Doris, look,” he started, looking me in the face again, searching for my eyes behind sunglasses I’d just bought the week before, “it must be weird to see me here…I’d assume you came with your friend…whatsername, Lacy? And her brother’s here. I…Natalie calls me and invites me out here just to show me how much of a bitch she is. First person I see here is her new man, Spencer without Fear and I started running back here to get away. Climbed yonder cliff,” here he pointed off to the point that I think we both knew was the highest in town and also the local version of lover’s lane. I wondered vaguely if he’d ever taken Natalie up there, or if Spencer had ever been there, before I caught myself and looked back at him. “And then I chickened out and came back here and sat this here rock.”

When he’d finished with that, he scooted off the level place where he’d been and left what was effectively a seat for me to sit in. He took a few more steps and picked a rock up off the boulder and tossed it into the water. As I sat down I watched it skip in the water once, twice, three times, and then I looked into the water where it went in and I saw a jellyfish.

Now, opening my eyes, I’d squeezed them shut in concentration, I look down at the jelly side of your sandwich as an almost afterimage of that water jelly in my past. And as for how your father and I became anything more than that one afternoon’s worth of acquaintances, well, Fred, I think you’ll have to ask him about any of that.

Heh, you know what the funny thing is? Other than seeing what I thought was one in the water, I have no more evidence that anything Martin said to me that day—about jellyfish and about anything else—was even close to true. Sometimes life is like that, I think. Truth is perhaps the most elusive thing there ever was.

11:20PM EST Wed 8/12/09 Back on track, seriously?!

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