Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Will Bring The HEAT

I always liked to write stories. I actually used to like to draw too. I'd doodle on all my notebooks in school which was a better use of the paper than note taking since I never developed the ability to take notes very effectively. To this day my notes from meetings usually have a bunch of broken sentences with IMPORTANT!! and maybe a couple of arrows pointing to some disjointed sentence fragment or barely legible phrase. If only when referring back to these notes I could then put those words into some kind of context perhaps I'd be more successful or at the very least less easily distracted. It would also help if I remembered to check the notes at all. It is clearly a skill set I do not possess.

The drawing thing kind of fell by the wayside over the years. I do still have a tendency to make rather elaborate scribbles using my favorite rapidograph pens occasionally. It's not as satisfying as writing for me though. In college - you know what, I really can't say "in college" in the same way that people who actually attended classes and, y'know, learned stuff can. I kinda fucked that experience up if I'm honest and if "kinda" means "totally".  I was super immature and neglected the opportunity completely. Anyway... In college I took a creative writing course and while I eventually blew off that class as well, the teacher (professor? I forget) encouraged me to keep on writing in order to work on expressing whatever the hell was going on in my giant noggin. I thanked her by bailing on her class and college in general. I'm the worst.

one of my lil' doodles
In 1991 I was a two-time college dropout living in Jamaica Plain, working at Copy Cop as a customer service representative and making $7.50/hr (what's up ladies?). I had an idea for a short story and so I wrote what I thought at the time was a hilarious and super interesting story about a man who, having given up on his dreams and aspirations, has allowed himself to become a shell of the person he had once hoped to become. Even that description gives this story more weight than it really deserves. I wrote this thing without an outline or an understanding on how to completely tell a story. There was a complete lack of any thought on where the story was going or what I was trying to say. I also ran out of steam halfway through and failed to write an ending. That's not entirely true now that I think about it. I seem to remember cobbling together an ending that was so wholly unsatisfying that I must have just torn up the sheets of paper. Oh, did I forget to mention that I wrote this thing out long hand? Yep. No computer or even a typewriter involved. Just straight up handwriting on what looks to be very expensive resume paper (thanks Copy Cop). I also found some lyrics that I wrote too. Jury is out on whether those get posted.

At some point I stuffed all these handwritten pages into an expandable folder and forgot about them. Recently, while cleaning out the attic at ye olde homestead, I came across that very same folder and those pages. At first I was all super nostalgic and happy to see them. Then I read the story itself. Oof. Oh my. Look, I'm not saying that I'm a good writer at all now but man oh man I'm certainly better than I used to be. At the very least I have an improved perspective.

Handwritten nonsense story + general disaster area = my desk space
My first instinct was to stuff the pages back into that folder and abandon it in the attic for another couple decades. My second thought was to throw them all out. My final and, I hope you'll concur, best idea was to share this stinker with you all. Yep. Just post this mess and let you drink in the cray-cray. I have a policy of "full disclosure" that I have upheld for many years now and therefore I have zero choice in this matter. What I plan to do is to post the entirety of what I have why resisting the DEEP TEMPTATION to edit what I was scrawled on those 24# ivory linen pages (remember when printing your resume on fancy pants stationary was a thing?). The first installment will be posted early next week and I will put up several posts over the next few weeks until the story abruptly ends (as the original does). Keep in mind not only does this tale have zero point, it's also clunky and, well, shitty. I also discovered while re-reading it that it is mean-spirited and border-line misogynistic. So, uh...sorry about that. I wasn't in the best place relationship-wise back then. So look forward to that? Ok, thanks.

1 comment:

Editor from Random House said...

Really looking forward to the story! I'm sure it will be well worth the read.