Thursday, October 4, 2007

"Oh, if I had but one night"

I often ask myself, if I could sit down in one evening, and disregard my own parental duties and even those of the more responsible post "cavemen era" beings---you know, the little things like shaving, brushing my teeth or even bathing--could I sit down within total silence and pour my soul onto an empty literary canvas and create in one sitting, in one night, a completed masterpiece? Well, exclude the word masterpiece if you must, but the question remains the same. Could I honestly sit down in one night and lasso those floating figments of my imagination, the ones that have me answering my own questions in line at the grocery store while I ponder over magazines to give the impression that I am busy reading some tabloid headline and create a single, raw, completed work of art?

This is a seemingly important question to me, as a writer, as daily, sometimes minute-by-minute my mind is racing in a thousand directions almost at once. I see visions of my next work, my next great story and then bits and pieces of the broken puzzle that will one day become my next story. And on top of those images, are the images of other images on top of those, which are nothing more than broken sentences, fragmented words or phrases that probably won't ever amount to anything more than a grocery list or email I was supposed to write last week. But either way, they are there, and any good writer--real writer that is--not someone who waits for the literary gods to place the stamp “oficionado” on their desk that thereby from this moment forward allows it to be known that they are indeed a writer, but those who pick up the pen on a daily basis and wrestle the demons within their mind to create words and then sentences and lastly stories. I mean those writers.

See, I start writing one thing and it leads to another and I totally forget what I was arguing about in the first place. But back to purpose of the title henceforth called from this day, in the year of our Lord 2007, "Oh, if I had but one night." Yes, if I had but one night to sit down and disregard life and the world around me, the very life that burdens our existence and makes it hard to get out of bed each morning and in that moment did nothing more than sip my ice-cold tea, minus the ice, and write my next story in full. Could I do it? Could anyone do it?
I have written short-stories in a matter of days, but they don’t count. Short-stories are a beautiful part of literature and essential learning keys and moral templates for sharing the lessons of life or chariots by which authors take readers on journeys to unknown realms or chambers within the halls of the mind. But the novel, that dangerous and self-absorbing demon, is a beast entirely to itself. I know they are in they, you know they exist and they haunt our minds and they torment our sleep. Novels.

So, I remain still in bed, hours after everyone has fallen to sleep and I sweat and fidget in bed, knowing an entire story is ready to be written, it is there on the tip of my tongue—but I am scared, afraid, worried that once I start, I will become nothing but a lunatic, strapped to my own desk, wearing my pencil down to the nub as I slay that literary beast and bring it forth to life. But its impossible. I can’t do it. It wouldn’t be worth it anyhow. The beast has a cousin—the re-write. Curse the editorial process!

Come on, what do you say? Would it be worth creating a completed novel in one night, or is the joy we receive from finishing our novel no different than the euphoria a smoker gets taking a drag of a long prepared cigarette break? I don't have the slightest clue. So until then, I write....one word....one phrase.....one chapter at a time...

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