July 15, 2010

A Life of Confessions

Wednesday is my day to write. I try to write everyday to get the practice in but life does get in the way, so Wednesday is my scheduled day to take the time to write despite laundry or phone calls or whatever. It’s a good plan except on days like this Wednesday where I really didn’t know what to write. I have a Last Saturday assignment I could have worked on—meh. I have interesting life events I could have related in humorous anecdotes—yawn. I have a list of writing exercises I found on someone else’s blog that I could have tried—bleah. None of those seemed appealing to me, so I decided to come up with my own writer’s block breakthrough. As you may have noticed, I started using song lyrics as the titles of my entries. So, I decided I’d let my iPod decide what my latest entry would be about. I set it to “shuffle,” pressed “play,” and awaited my fate: “Lazy Flies” by Beck.

Boy the flies have been bad in San Antonio this summer...

That’s no good! What kind of topic is that for a blog entry? Stupid iPod wanting me to write about flies.

Actually, “Lazy Flies” is a really good song. It is a quintessential Beck song—all esoteric lyrics and moody tonal quality with a bit of goofiness to show it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I envy that type of art when the artist is unabashedly weird or different or just doing what he or she wants and hopes the audience will just jump on board. I mean lyrics like:

Lazy flies are hovering about,
the magistrate, he puts on his gloves
and he looks to the clouds,
all pink and disheveled,
there must be some blueprint,
some creed of the devil,
inscribed in our minds...

That’s not exactly rock and roll, now is it? That’s a whole other type of song experience outside of your typical genres. That’s Beck. It’s amazing to me how uniquely Beck, Beck is. It reminds me of a book I just finished reading, Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. No ones’ writing is like Fforde’s writing. There is something just so Fforde about Fforde.

It’s too easy to describe his genre as sci-fi/fantasy. Jasper Fforde is more surrealist-satire-cum-sci-fi/fantasy. His books are set in whole other universes and are so weird yet so well done. I love that! I love how petty rules of reality don’t seem to affect his writing, and how he manages to pull off stories that are so very other-worldly.

That’s the sort of writer I want to be. I think about the latest story I’ve been trying to write. They (the great “They” of myth and tale) say to write what you know so my latest story stars an angsty female who’s confused about where to go in life. (Strangely enough.) Well, no wonder I don’t want to sit down and write about that. I have plenty of that all the time, I don’t want to spend my free time on that. I wouldn’t want to read about that, certainly. I want to read about parallel universes where people can only see the color red and they have to watch out for feral swans. Obviously, I don’t want to write about reality, I want to write weird out-there stuff and hope my audience jumps on board.

The problem is, how do you get people to jump on board. Seriously. How did Beck ever get a recording contract? Who read Fforde’s first book and thought, “Yeah, a detective who jumps into Jane Eyre to protect the main character—now that’s a story.” How do you know when your fun absurd writing is fun absurd brilliance and not just silly tripe?

Silly Tripe would be a great name for a band, but I digress. Currently, I’m trying to get published a book of poems about supernatural ravens who fly across cultures and have witty philosophical conversations before they meet God. As of yet, no one has jumped on board. Still, it was more fun writing that than it is writing about real life.

So, maybe my iPod has a point.