Well, I tried. I did. For several hours, in fact. I was worried about finishing the project, but for all the wrong reasons. I still don’t think it’s going to happen.
You may be wondering what I’m talking about. After having spent college + 1.5 years in New England, I came back to South Carolina in 2008. Shortly after arriving, I started a project that was eventually to become part travel writing, part memoir, part fiction, part exorcising of ghosts. To clarify, here’s the premise: Girl dates boy. Girl breaks up with boy. Boy rapes girl. Girl has small nervous breakdown and drags friend on a cross-country road trip. Hijinks, of some manner, ensue. There’s a Backstory, and seven chapters, each titled with the motto of the state they’re spending most of their time in – which also happens to be thematically linked to what’s going on. Alternating with the present-tense road trip snippets are bits of plot, also relating to said state mottos. Maybe I’ll post some of it. It’s fun.
Actually, it isn’t. Which is why I can’t finish it. I was afraid that, three years later, I wouldn’t be in the same head space as I was when I began it, and that if I picked it up again, it would seem inconstant. I am, in fact, decidedly not in the same head space as I was, and I discovered yesterday that that is a hell of a relief. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was thinking about gutting it, or just junking it for parts. I’m not sure I can do either, now. A lot of it hits on dark, heavy feelings inside me and after those couple hours yesterday, my mood was not a shiny one. I think it’s a great idea, I think, more importantly, that it’s a really cool format, but there’s so much of it that still rankles that I just can’t do it. Maybe years from now. Maybe I could gut it – but it would be more of a complete rewrite – and that makes me sad. I think it could be so good.
Look, novella, it’s not you – it’s me. I think we should see other people for a while.
So I’ve decided to expand my horizons a little. I’ve also had some thoughts regarding my tirade about what selling out actually is, and I’m thinking, if I look at them like writing exercises, I won’t feel so bad. Right? Sure, right. Whatever. And if that writing exercise happens to be 85,000 words with some nice rising action and characterization, what the hell.