Here I am, again. I think this blog is a good opportunity to air out my thoughts and really get to the heart of writing: honesty (along with craft, skill, practice, and studying). Yes, it has come to my attention that at the heart of writing good fiction is storytelling. Most people can’t do it any more. No one is original and people’s imagination seemed to have gone on pause. Is it the over dependence on technology (which dulls our senses, attention span, and imagination), or the absolute control of the entertainment business by corporations, or has it simply gone out of fashion for one reason or another? Everybody wants to rehash something, recreate an old formula, or simply trying to get big. No one wants to take the time to get good. That shit takes a long time, and perhaps not many people want to take that time to get good; it’s learn three chords and write a hit song, or train for 3 years and trying to make the national team, or trying to get a bestseller after 2 years.
I can stay and bide the time. I am in it for good now. This Friday stands as the last day that I am officially employed for a company. After that, I cut the cord and I am cut off from mainstream society just a bit more. I have to admit, I was tired as shit for about 5 days as my shifts were winding down, but I have some serious long term fatigue. But as I am coming out of that spell, I feel so relieved and refreshed and alive and motivated. All of those heavy feelings, neurosis, and simply energy drain from being in the wrong place at the wrong time are lifting off. I am alive, awake, and ready for the present moment. I feel great power lies in doing what you love, and I am feeling the effects more and more. Each word I type, I feel as if I am doing my soul’s duty and I am in touch with the deepest core of my being.
Going back to biding my time, any accomplishment simply requires “Kung Fu” (a word used for Chinese Martial Arts), or “Kung” = effort, and “Fu” time. So if it takes 10 years or so to really begin to master the craft, then hell, bring that shit on. I’ll be close to 48 and doing my thing.
Yep. So next, is an analysis on my writing skills. I feel my storytelling abilities are slowly improving. I feel I can weave together a plot and narrative, and my technical abilities (ability to describe a scene, to create a character, or to bring a feeling or sensation into fruition) are improving. However, I do need work on improving my vocabulary. I want to be a Nathaniel Hawthorne, a Mark Twain, a Henry David Thoreau, and not a modern novelist like Nick Hornsby (even though I love his work) and definitely not Nicholas Sparks (f*ck Nicholas Sparks). I don’t want to just sell novels – I want to create stuff that is timeless.
Okay, I am getting tired. Let’s take a crack at the beginning of a short story that I’ve been rolling around in my mind.
Here it goes:
The tinkering of glass reverberated throughout the small, one floor house in the still of the night. Rapid footsteps trembled through the hallways as doors opened and slammed. A faint sound of a woman screaming echoed in the house. Nick turned over in bed, and rubbed his eyes. The full moon was still illuminating the carpet of his bedroom as he sat up in his twin sized bed. His long sleeve white and blue cotton pajamas laid lightly on his body, while the matching pants, that were given to him by his grandparents two years at Christmas, fitted comfortably around his waist and legs. “Yo!” he heard in another room down the hall. He snapped awake. That was the sound of his father. Nick quickly turned his body and laid his feet off the edge of the bed. It is time to check up on what is going on, he thought to himself.
BOOM! His bedroom door opened, and a dishoveled, grey-skinned, rabid lady, who appeared to be about 49 years old, stared him straight in the face with anger and desperation. She lunged at him across the room with an urgency that could only be categorized as out of survival. Nick leaped to his right side and dodged that strange lunge. There were figures and loud footsteps in the hallway across the room. The strange creature made another crazy lunge toward Nick, and this time he ducked his head as she flew crashing past him. He jumped on and over his bed as he lifted the window open with quickness and the speed of jaguar, as his heart pumped with ____________ and sweat rained down his temples. More figures and screams were heard trampling into the room, and he dove face first into the soft, mildewy, safe, clean, and mowed lawn of the suburbs – of every suburban neighborhood really. Windows and glass crashed behind and then over him.
“Ahhhhh!!!!” he heard above him as he scampered to his feet, and used on the skills that he had honed in his track team in the past 2 years. George and Jane would not believe him if he told them. He sprinted trepidly for what seemed like hours, as he left all the noise and the creatures behind. “What the fuck was that? Why are they here? Is this a dream?” he asked himself as he rested behind a dumpster in the downtown. It was quiet now as his heavy breathing slowed down, and he had time to sit, rest, and reassess the situation. “What is my best option? Where should I go? How can I survive? What were those things?” he said to himself. The first option would be to go to a store to get supplies. The streets and town were eerily still and constrained.
Okay, that’s my first go at a story in 4 years. Not bad. I feel I am able to create the story and move the action along without being cliche’ or resorting to cheap tricks (e.g. – gruesome deaths, morose thinking, or empty descriptions). I also respect writers who can convey a lot of feeling and description with few words. As opposed to saying: his leather jacket creased on the vinyl material of that classic vehicle, somebody like Social Distortion can write:
“Well it’s been ten years, and a thousand tears
And look at the mess I’m in
A broken nose and a broken heart,
An empty bottle of gin
Well I sit and I pray
In my broken down Chevrolet
While I’m singin’ to myself
There’s got to be another way.”
Those are lyrics from “Ball and Chain.” Simply beautiful. How can he convey so much feeling without actually physically describing a bottle, a car, or his actual emotions? I want to write like that some day. Other author’s can do that so well. I do respect how authors like Hornsby (or Hornby?) can write such clever stories without describing the scenery much, but your Gabriel Marquez’s can describe everything to the tee, then discuss the character’s family background, and how their individual or collective memory is partly responsible for their actions and thoughts. I wonder is this simplifying perhaps pre-Freudian psychology, or was he tapping into some deeper psychic impressions that the average human is not consciously aware of?
Either way, I’m off to being a writer, and this is a new start. As Austin Powers would say: “Yeah baby (yeah)!” 🙂 Have a nice day.
As always: email: email@example.com or find me on Facebook as: Chingyin Writing. Have a nice day. I am glad all two of you took the time to read this bullshit. 🙂