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Wil - I think it's when you look back at something you wrote 8 years ago and don't want to cringe that you're in trouble.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2010 on From the Vault: Still Cool at WWdN: In Exile
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I've been writing since the second grade (well, on and off). I do have that "man with the video camera" feeling, but I'm not sure if that feeling caused me to become a writer, or if I developed that feeling as a result of being a writer. Chicken, egg, etc. I suspect it was the former. I've always been incredibly shy and never had many friends, so writing has just been a way of expressing myself, I suppose, though I don't really think of it in those terms. When I'm in public places, I'm constantly zoning out, unconsciously recording details, listening to other people's conversations. I feel like there is always two versions of me; one living in the moment, feeling whatever I'm feeling, and another hovering around me, thinking of how I would transcribe this emotional state if the other Me was a fictional character in a book I was writing. Sometimes I feel like an alien that's been sent to Earth to observe humanity and report back to my superiors about what makes them tick. "These Earthlings have a strange custom of pressing their lips together and orally exchanging bodily fluids; but to what purpose? Resolved to find out tonight by engaging in said ritual with elderly female currency-collector, the one they call 'Lann Dlord' of the Apartment Complex. Gromtock out." Christ, my life is a bad sitcom...
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It's weird to read old writing, isn't it? I just found a couple of old floppy disks with the first six chapters of a fantasy book I was working on circa 2002. Reading them over is both mortifying and a little pleasing--it's almost entirely crap, but every so often my Voice sneaks in and does something cool. Anyway, I really like this post. With the snappy dialogue, the seedy setting, and the run-down waitress archetype, it reads like hard-boiled detective fiction, but there's an undercurrent of tragedy brought about by the perpetual intrusion of mundane reality. In a Raymond Chandler novel the waitress would show up at the end with a gun and a bad case of double-cross, or Phillip Marlowe would rescue her from the bad guys and whisk her away to a doomed but passionate affair. In real life, unfortunately, the encounter is nothing more than a memory in the making. Two people converge at the whim of fate, get a sense of each other's stories, meet at a surprisingly intimate place, but when the hero walks out of that bar he'll never see that woman again. It is a simple yet evocative portrait of two souls meeting in an unromantic reality, with only dreams and fantasies to give substance and shape to the meaning contained within that seemingly unremarkable moment. I think it says a lot about being human.
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Jan 7, 2010