Sometimes worse than staring at a blank sheet of paper is staring at one that has a lot of words on it.
I tell myself that I edit best when I have a pen in hand and printout of what I’m editing in front of me. However for the last several nights I have had the pen and the printout and nothing. I can’t get going. I have editor’s block.
Perhaps this is so because I put pre-punched paper into the printer backwards and it bothers me to see the three holes lined up on the right margin of the page. Or maybe it is the content of what I have written. Take this example:
“Now I don’t know what the fuck I am writing. I have lost it.”
That is ridden, of course, with self-pity and it’s a little melodramatic, but I do believe it captured my feelings quite accurately at the time. Take note, right before this I was writing about Cindy…
“…after we dated, she left me and got married. That has happened more than once, actually; a friend becomes a lover then not and soon thereafter she’s married to some better-than-Shane kind of guy, regardless of his faults or merits.”
God, that’s rough. Horrible. That’s got to go.
By the way, I do write my first person narratives using my first name. It is easier for me. Although it could cause problems should I leave a pile of papers behind when I die. (“My god! Do you think Shane really killed a Geisha and her naval captain lover on a trans-Pacific flight to Anchorage?!”) Ideally my people are smarter than that.
“I loved Cindy, at least for as much as you can in a week or two. She wasn’t right, she wasn’t normal. She came from a good family.”
You can see why I am having trouble editing my pages, can’t you? And this isn’t the stuff I want to tackle. No. That is a story about Lisa in the bathtub. Much better. But let’s stay with Cindy. We are with her now and I see no reason to leave, not yet. Besides, I aspire to write bad young adult novellas. (Kid’s don’t care, right?)
“She had thick luxuriant hair, deep dark brown hair, hair that could use a good brush. And she smelled like an old woman’s closet, like furs and wool and other things…”
Oh, that’s right. This is all fiction. Well, I’ll confess that I did once know a woman who smelled like an old woman’s closet. She was tall, slender, and broad-shouldered. I forget her name — it was probably Cindy — but I don’t forget her. She liked to pinch.
“Cindy” was quite something…and I never knew what that something would be until we met…or maybe until she left.
Cindy liked jeans and that was good to me. Or she wore dresses and that was good to me, too. I doubt there was a polo shirt or anything khaki anywhere in her life. Aloof, moody, and as sweet as lemon pie. This was a serious girl. One of the real ones.
“…with crows feet and crow-black eyes, she was an impossibly impish beauty for someone so untroubled and sure. She called me Buck.”
I haven’t decided if this is a comedy yet, but I’m starting to love myself…
Anyway these invocations just ramble on. “Oh come sing, Muse, sing in me the story of Cindy, the raven beauty, busting forth from her heavenly bustier!” Something like that. By the way, that bustier line, that was good, huh? Really real good. I think I’ll write that one down.
I haven’t even turned the page yet. How many words to a page? 250?
And I’m kind of up against a deadline, too. My printer is going away and let me explain what I mean. I always try to write something that I would be uncomfortable leaving behind on the office printer. The more uncomfortable, the better. So, naturally, what I do is email my documents to myself and print them at the office. If I find myself hovering over the printer making sure I pick up every last sheet before anyone guesses what’s going on, I feel like I’ve got something with potential. If I do in fact forget what I printed at the office printer and don’t really care, I never go back and pick it up. I’ll let someone plagiarize that…
Alas, I’ll be working from home after this week. No more office printer. But plenty of time to conjure Cindys, Lisas, and whomever else might still be lurking deep back there somewhere. Can’t see a lot of downside in that. I might even get better describing them to you.
For now, let me thank you for letting me write through my writer’s block en plein air or whatever I mean. I feel like I can move on now. Thank you.