Sunday, September 11, 2005

On Writing...and Reading

I wrote a lot in my novel today. It's just a rough first draft and I hate how it reads. But Sera keeps reminding me that this is just a first draft. My problem in the past when trying to write is that I'd rewrite the same pages over and over and never get anywhere with the book. Eventually I'd get so frustrated I'd just toss the whole thing. Her solution was for me to just write the entire book from start to finish without any rewrites. Just get the whole thing down. The farther along I get the more motivated I'll be to finish. It has worked in that this is the farthest I've ever gotten on a novel. I'm so close to finishing. But it just reads like garbage. I have all these great ideas for rewrites, but I know if I go back and do that I'll never finish. So for now I'm just going to keep going forward.

I'm a voracious reader. The library here in Orlando will deliver books to your home. I find that amazing. My obsessive compulsiveness leads me to order about a dozen books at once, and I often wind up with lots late fees as a result. I currently have 8 books out. I've also recently placed several recent orders at Amazon, and so I'm expecting quite a few more. I'm currently reading Gabriel-Garcia Marquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera." His books always intimidate me in that I doubt I can ever write that well. Writing teachers have always recommended reading bad novels to get motivated. I tried that once, but if the novel is that bad I just can't read it.

I'm very insecure about my writing, though people tell me they enjoy my style. I just don't know. I began reading "Leaving Las Vegas" by John O'Brien, which arrived from the library the other day. It's brilliantly written, and, of course, it intimidates me. Sera told me last night, "you have you're own writing style. Don't be so intimidated by others." I know she's right, but I need reaffirmation.

In case you don't know, O'Brien committed suicide a few years after the book was published. They were just getting ready to begin production on the film with Nicholas Cage and Elizabeth Shue when he died. I wish I knew more about why he killed himself. He was such a talented writer. His book was a success and he was a part of the production of the film when he did it. I guess that wasn't enough. Kind of like that actor on "Suddenly Susan" who did the same thing. There's a lot more going on than fame and success.

The book I have is a first edition hardcover, printed before his death. The book jacket says, "...married happily in 1979." I spent a lot of time staring at his photograph and thinking about that. He hides behind dark glasses in the photo.
Don't most book jackets just say something like, "married to so and so...has 2 kids and a cat?" The "married happily" is what gets me since he ended up killing himself. Plus the book is supposed to be semi-autobiographical. It's about an alcoholic whose wife left him and he goes to Vegas to drink himself to death. Now, if this is an autobiography, does it make sense for the jacket to say, "happily married?" He was just so talented.

Anyway, at least I wrote something today. A lot actually. My book is an autobiography about a period where I was pretty much wasting my life away in NYC. It's supposed to be kind of funny, though that brief description doesn't exactly show it. I just want to get this thing done. But the important thing is I did write today and I'm determined to write more tomorrow.


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