Monday, November 15, 2010

Sick advantages

Today I am sick and home from work, and I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "You lucky duck! You get to stay home while the rest of us slave over the things we usually slave over on a Monday!" And this is true. But do I consider myself lucky that I'm at home and you're not? Not really. I would rather be at work, and have the ability to smell and breathe through my nose than be home drinking microwaved honey because the lining of my throat is gone.

But enough about the linings of my internal organs. Today I have the opportunity to finish the short story that I started over the summer. For those of you who like to keep track, the summer officially ended two months ago. And I'm still not finished with the first draft of this thing. This is the one I started about Michael and Betsy, but it's evolved tremendously since then. Now, I'm not saying that the actual writing has evolved tremendously. I'm saying that the story itself has ended up in a totally different place than I expected it to. The writing itself is about the same. To give you an example, whenever I find myself stuck I tend to write things like this:
"So," Betsy says, twirling a lock of her hair on her finger. "What should we do now?"
"I don't know," says Michael. "Gen's stuck. Until she gets her shit together we're just gonna sit here at this booth in this diner."
Betsy stops twirling her hair and looks around. "When did we get to a diner?"
"Hell if I know," Michael shrugs. "She forgot to mention that's where we are, and that we're sitting across from each other, and that we've got that disheveled look like we've been up all night."
Betsy rolls her eyes. "She's so bad with setting."
"I know. You would think after writing for 25 years, ten professionally, she would have learned a thing or two about that."
"Seriously, how many fucking writing workshops does she have to go to before she figures it out?"
"I don't know, but until she gets it together I'm ordering more bacon." He holds up his mug. "Garcon! Coffee!"
Betsy looks at me, the writer. "Genevieve, that line is from 'Pulp Fiction.' What are you going to do have us hold up the diner in a few seconds? Who are you, Quentin Tarantino?"
I feel embarrassed at having been corrected by one of my own characters and I change Michael's line.
"Garcon!" he hollers, holding up his plate. "Bacon!"

So anyway, I get to do a lot of that today, which I wouldn't be able to do at work. At work I would just be answering the phone and frightening people on the other line with my croaky, demonic voice.
"Safety and Security," I'd growl, then cough. "This is (hack, wheeze!) Gene-(wheeze)."
"Is this some sort of sick joke?" they'd ask.
"Sick, yes," I'd reply and cough up a lung. "Joke? Only in that God has a sense of humor."
So let's thank heaven I'm not in that position today. And now, to write. Somehow I have to get Betsy and Michael out of that diner. I don't like Betsy's attitude and Michael's had more than enough bacon.

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