First, random highlight of the week. This is truly spectacular; really inspires the human spirit:
I have found that in fiction writing, organization appears to be half the battle. As I begin to amass an increasingly large body of work –drafts, revisions, finalized copy, brainstormed ideas– the challenge becomes keeping track of it all. Luckily, I love to organize things! I’ve been having a fun time tagging everything and putting it all into a sort of coherent structure. Onward!
So things on the health-front have unfortunately deteriorated recently. I think Bagel, having been gone for over two months, certainly contributed to that, to some extent. But of course I don’t blame her at all; I’m glad she’s off doing what she wishes to do. She’s currently still abroad and having just finished training, she just flew off again, to yet another country, to actually begin her real job. I’m very excited for her. We still talk nearly every night over video chat and that certainly helps. But currently, more than ever, I’ve been gripped by an ever-expanding loneliness, especially when it is late at night and I am alone in the apartment. During the day, when I’m feeling well enough, I can escape to the library or to cafes and achieve some level of human interaction. But at night I’m left by my lonesome. And consequently, I think the illness has unfortunately become worse recently and more debilitating.
To this end, one of my doctors suggested I take on a new
hobby to try to organize my time into a more specifically-directed
activity. The thinking is that by taking
on a more active hobby, it could possibly help me feel better. Because of the illness, I’m unable to perform
any kind of strenuous physical activity so exercise and sports are out of the
question. And while I’ve always reads lots
of books and watched TV shows, these activities are too passive. So as we shift into a more palliative mode of
care, doc suggested I try writing; specifically, writing fiction. Of course I’ve always journaled. But the idea now is I would try to marshal
whatever mental energies I could summon into weaving together a story. It’s an interesting thought. And many decades ago, when I was a child, I’d
always dreamed of wanting to become a writer one day. So hell, why not. Maybe one day I’ll look back on all this with
great amusement; let’s write a story.
To start, before I begin writing in earnest, I think it’s necessary though to establish a tone for what is to come. A sort of “organizing principle.” Having read a lot of fiction, I feel all authors possess an “organizing principle” when they write fiction. JKR writes with a childish whimsy with a firm grasp on worldbuilding. Lev Grossman writes similarly, but more adult material. John Scalzi is a shamelessly commercial writer, hugely successful, whose prose centers mostly around quippy dialogue. So after some thought, I’ve decided that my organizing principle, if it can be called that, will take after what I affectionately refer to as the “Michael Bay/Fast & Furious” model. Even when there are explosions happening on screen and a $100M-worth of special effects blasting into your eyeballs, I never want the personal and intimate human story to be lost. It’s a tightwire balancing act of never losing focus on the personal while still acknowledging the sweeping grandiosity of the world writ large. Because, yeah. Whenever I write, I do wish for there to be a twinge of spectacle. Larger than life characters and plots. Monstrous villains and gallant heroes. I strongly feel an important component of fiction lies in its ability to give the reader a chance to escape from the mundaneness of the real world, into another more exciting, funnier, adventurous world. That’s my aim at least. How well I achieve that humble aim, well, I leave to you, dear reader.
Last weekend I was having dinner with Alex and we got to talking about relationships. I’ve been together with Bagel now for a little over two years and Alex, who’s known me for a good long while, was frankly flabbergasted and mind-boggled that I’d sustained this relationship with Bagel for as long as I have. To be fair, if I’m being completely honest, I’m somewhat amazed too. Anyway, Alex suggested that I write up what I’d described to her. Haha, she even suggested that I write a “relationship book” one day! While I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, I still needed to complete my long-form writing for this week. So here we go.
First, some background.
As with many things, I think’s useful to understand whence this story starts in order to better appreciate where it is now.
When I was a (much) younger man, and I can say this now with the full benefit of 20/20 hindsight, but it is fair to say that I lacked a fair amount of social grace. I was selfish and arrogant. And looking back now, I realize I was quite insufferable. It’s actually a small wonder that I possessed any friends at all. Emboldened by having achieved a modicum of success early in life, that’d given me an inflated sense of self. I remember studying very hard through my high school and college years, not even bothering with dating or paying an iota of interest to girls or relationships. In my own mind, I was too busy for all of that. While other kids partied and went out to have fun, I was always in my room or at the library studying. While they went to Prom or Homecoming, I was inside hitting the books telling myself that, “one day, all those morons will be pumping my gas” while I, in my elaborate imagination, worked tirelessly towards a life of riches and luxury.
Bagel and I have spoken at length about my responsibilities if I am to stay at home and become a “house hubby.” She has it in her mind that she wishes to be a strong, independent, career woman who is the family breadwinner and brings home the bacon. It should be noted that I am several years older than Bagel and in a previous life, I spent six long years in Corporate America. I possess not an iota of desire to return to the Dilbert-style cubicle farm. In fact, it was working in Dilbertville those long, grueling, interminable hours and years which led to my first ER-hospitalization and my current health issues. So I’ve told her repeatedly and have encouraged her at every opportunity: Bagel, if you wish to embark upon a life of early-morning conference calls, inner-office politics, and sitting inside in front of a computer for 10, 12, or even 14 hours a day, you are welcome to be my guest. I will dutifully and joyously support you every step of the way!
I will cook, grocery shop, and wash the dishes! I’ll clean, tidy, vacuum, and do the laundry! If one day we have kids, I’ll gladly change diapers and feed them Gerber’s baby formula so they don’t die. I will be the best house hubby the world has ever seen. Granted, I’ve never been a parent before. But I’ve seen first-hand the horrors of office life and there’s no way, in this lifetime or the next, that you can convince me that bending over to put Moana into the DVD player to entertain the little ones for the eleventh-hundredth time is somehow possibly more difficult than the soul-crushing, spirit-defeating office work that I did back in my bank days. Than being tethered, 24/7, to my office Blackberry that was my ball and chain. No way.