May 03, 2011

Little Nothings

Yesterday I was taking the MINI in for it's yearly check-up at the doctor's office and shelling out $600 worth of tune-up shtick and so forth. It's just a "drive in when you feel like it we'll be done in a couple hours" set-up so I always go to the bookstore a little ways down the road to browse, read and have some coffee while I wait.

Of course all this does is reinforce the fact that I find it difficult to read fiction for pleasure any more. I don't get the same enjoyment from it that I used to. It doesn't have anything to do with editing Thrice because when I'm reading submissions people send that's for a whole other reason and I am actively looking for things. I'm talking about the feeling I got when I discovered Bruno Shulz or quite accidentally fell upon the genius of Flann O'Brien (aka Brian O'Nolan). It's not happening for me any more.

It's not because there aren't great things going on out there, even great old things I probably haven't discovered yet. The problem is I can't help but look at everything with a critical eye now. Again that's not because of the Thrice gig. It's more because I've grown more and more vicious regarding my own stuff and I find it carrying on to everything I read.

I mean it's not wholly unusual. Many's the time I would be reading, even in my yoot, something like, say, Arthur Conan Doyle. And I'd be happily wallowing in the atmosphere of the Great Detective's world only to come upon YET ANOTHER example of Doyle's stilted, ridiculous, unreal, affected, and amateurish dialog and throw the book across the room in disgust. So this isn't a new phenomenon.

It's just I find the feeling enhanced as of late.

Like I said, it's not just me-to-others. Mostly it's me-to-myself. I'll open up work I did just yesterday and I don't like the sentence structure or I see that this would have been better said with 40% less verbiage, or that whole paragraph has all the signs of being overworked, or this vignette has no business anywhere in the work at all. And I delete with relish. I think - and this is no exaggeration - I must write 40,000 words for every 2,000 I keep. And that's a conservative estimate.

So I either obviously suck at this or I'm hyper-anal. I guess it depends which day you catch me.

Back at the bookstore - I picked up two "literary" magazines. You know, the well-funded kind nobody in real life actually reads. And I'm going through them and I keep shaking my head. No no no. Oh God don't say it that way. Are you trying to be Victor Hugo? And so forth.

I finished my coffee and decided to head back to the car, convinced I could easily contribute something to either one of these two booklets in the future since what they're accepting is just so much shit.

And then I get home and go through my pile of things never submitted anywhere, only to find I don't like anything in it and no matter what I sent it would need a major overhaul before I'd feel good about presenting it. And there I am, convinced I could do better than these shmucks one minute and certain I don't have anything worthwhile to send the next.

Welcome to my world.

Well that's my lament today. In thirty minutes I've got to go off to my real job. 40 hours in three days begins in 3... 2... 1.

It's okay though. It was pointed out to me that, though my schedule is intense and all-consuming for 72 hours, I only actually work twelve days a month. That's a sustaining thought anyway.

Oh and, may I be permitted a "blast from the past" from an old blog post of mine? Why yes. Yes I may...


Sorry, couldn't resist. I just got done telling someone how I dislike celebrating revenge and now I go and republish this photo set. Just kill me now...


Petunia said...

I always get a kick out of reading your descriptions of the love-hate relationship you have with the way you think and write. You're probably scowling after reading that sentence, but seriously, it's good stuff, embrace it! Maybe you should submit this post to those journals and see what happens...

Gino said...

i would value a work schedule like yours.

sybil law said...

I can't even form a proper sentence tonight, but I feel a complete love/ hate thing with anything I've written, too. And the difference is, you're still plugging away at it (which is awesome), and I've given up.

B.E. Earl said...

Gino said it.

sligo said...

keep reading.

Brian said...

Discerning taste is a mixed bag. Or so I hear.

Mrs. Hall said...

rw: so here's the thing, despite working crazy hours, putting out posts 8 paragraphs long, writing novels on the side AND contributing to THRICE, you can't pick up the phone every other month, give a call and ask how people are? *

you can't hop in your little car every so often and meet for a quick coffee??*

i don't think your dumb, i just think my brother is not putting effort in. he puts lots of effort elsewhere, he's a coach and teacher. has friends, etc. that is a choice he makes. and this makes me sad.

family is awesome. it's just too bad we aren't closer. but this new baby, this may be the ticket to bringing everyone closer. at least I will give my best shot.

*this may OR may not apply to you. just venting and projecting! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011 8:57:00 AM CDT