Sunday, March 6, 2011

For A Change

Last night was different... I mean, not in the 'I got drunk' kind of different, but in the kind of different that really shouldn't be different - I actually wrote something. I've had this problem where words just didn't fit together for fiction, and last night I overcame it by handwriting a story that I hope to submit to a magazine when it's all typed up and edited. It's sort of Sci-Fi/Speculative Fiction, but I tried to write it so that it's more accessible than a lot of Science Fiction, which can sometimes limit its audience by being too technical.

It was nice to actually get writing again, to forget about the world for a while as I wrote away, creating a character that's more messed up than even me and having him go through a whole world of change as he goes from whining and depression to bursting with happiness; I won't go into detail about that, too much, because I'd prefer that the story remain mostly a secret until such time that (hopefully) it goes into print.

As I started to write this blog post, I wondered if maybe people thought I wrote all the time, and that was why I called myself a writer. Truth be told, I do more consistent writing on this site than on anything else, because it's a forum for self-expression but with an audience, and it allows me to communicate messages publicly to people without having to embarrass them by naming them or starting a private war. I like that I can write something, convey a message, and if people don't like what I've said they point that out; it's happened before, and I appreciate the comments, because it lets me know that what I'm writing is not only being read, it's being interpreted, and at the end of the day stories are made by the things we interpret.

Mostly, when I write fiction, I write in what I call binges. I go through the same stuff with reading, I might add. During the summer I wrote three novellas - one of which I refer to as the Book on this site. A couple of weeks ago, I read three books in a week, just for the sake of it. When I was seventeen, I wrote a novel in a month. Between reading binges and writing binges I generally do my college work, because I purposely don't let one overlap with it - it gets messy and complicated and bleurgh. That's a technical term.

I suppose last night was something of a writing binge, in micro format, but it was also a chance for me to just get away from things; I didn't want another night of doing nothing, I wasn't in the mood for television or for going out, I wasn't really sure what I would say to people if I decided to call someone, I've had this whole "bully" situation stuck in my head and college work is beginning to rear its ugly head again. So I just got away from it all. It's why I write a lot of the things I do, including those novellas; I turned the world I missed - the college life - into something I could have fun with for some time, and something I could later share, so I could get away from the mundane summer I was going through.

I suppose my summer was only bad because I never had money to do anything. I don't mean a holiday or anything, just regular things. After the shop closed this time last year, my saved-up money only lasted until May, and until about July I was paying people back for money I had to borrow or buying the things that I'd been trying to buy for a while, and I never really had anything saved up to get to do anything at all. The highlights of my summer were trips into town with Miley Cyrus, a visit to her house, a trip to a friend's house in Westmeath and a trip to our friend's house whose dad is a lecturer, and that single 21st birthday party I went to. I had a couple of days with other people, but mostly I was at home feeling like I was wasting my life and writing to try make up for it, and worrying about my friend's exams in August. It wasn't a healthy summer.

While I don't care if I go anywhere this summer - as regards a holiday abroad - I don't want a repeat of last summer. Yes, I want to hang out with Miley if she comes up to Dublin, and yes I would go to friends' houses if they were having people over and if I wasn't in work the next day, but I want more than that, because those days don't fill up a whole lot of time relative to the three and a half months off we have from college and only weekends to work in the shop. I want to write and to submit to magazines, and hopefully to a publisher, and get out a bit more and just do some exploring of the city I grew up in but never really looked at; there are so many places I haven't been that are open to me to explore, just a train away most of them, some of them less than that, and there's a whole culture and a whole world out there that I can see within a few weeks.

I find I always write these things down on my blog, my plans for the summer and my not wanting it to be a repeat of last year. I already know it won't be like last year, though, because so much is different already. For one thing, it's March and I still have a job. And, unlike this time last year, I'm actually happy. There was so much getting me down this time last year that really I wasted time even before the summer months came along. Writing that story last night is, I hope, only the beginning of the changes I'm making in my attitude to life; I don't want to waste days doing nothing. Even if I did nothing but write for a week during the summer, I would be happy, because that could at least lead to something, and the practice is important. Writing is a trade and an art, and people never stop learning about those things.

I'll stop now, before I accidentally reveal my plans for world domination in my ramblings.


Rebecca Woodhead said...

If you come over to England in the summer, I'll show you round the colleges in Oxford and we can write really pretentious poetry in one of the quads! :)

Paul Carroll said...

That's too tempting... you know me too well. That's scary! :)