Tony Noland tagged me with the meme.... WAIT. What the heck is a "meme," anyway.
*off to the dictionary*
The definition I just found made little to no sense... something about "an element of a culture or system of behaviour that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially by imitation." OK, it makes a little sense. I was just about to use the word meme without even knowing what it meant. Sometimes I do that because I don't want folks to know my ignorant backswoody nature. At the many cocktail parties I never attend I can be found standing there, wide-eyed, nodding enthusiastically. Not. A. Clue.
So this "meme" is writing and what it means to me. I'm supposed to pontificate and then tag four other people to share their thoughts on writing. For me, this couldn't come at a more or less opportune time.
Writing is the bane of my existence.
I'm teeter-tottering between wanting to write a novel and wanting to just absolutely forget about it. Some days I think, hey, this is pretty good. Some days I think, I SUCK and what the heck was I thinking? I'm in the midst of reading Alice Munro's book, The Beggar Maid, and that's real writing. She is a master. She writes with seeming ease; but the simplicity in her work is deceiving. The character development is intricate and dazzling. During one section of the book I cried, I laughed, I held my breath; I finished, exhausted.
In this section, Rose, the daughter, has done something to anger her stepmother, Flo, and Flo has called in the father to deliver punishment. The deliberate way Munro works through the process of the father's developing anger is chilling.
Rose detects in her father some objections to Flo's rhetoric, some embarrassment and reluctance. She is wrong, and ought to know she is wrong, in thinking that she can count on this. The fact that she knows about it, and he knows she knows, will not make things any better. He is beginning to warm up. He gives her a look. This look is at first cold and challenging. It informs her of his judgment, of the hopelessness of her position. Then it clears, it begins to fill up with something else, the way a spring fills up when you clear the leaves away. It fills with hatred and pleasure. Rose sees that and knows it. Is that just a description of anger, should she see his eyes filling up with anger? No. Hatred is right. Pleasure is right. His face loosens and changes and grows younger, and he holds up his hand this time to silence Flo.
"All right," he says, meaning that's enough, more than enough, this part is over, things can proceed. He starts to loosen his belt.And then, as the beating, the "royal beating" begins, even the most familiar objects in the kitchen turn their backs on Rose.
She tries again looking at the kitchen floor, that clever and comforting geometrical arrangement, instead of looking at him or his belt. How can this go on in front of such daily witnesses – the linoleum, the calendar with the mill and creek and autumn trees, the old accommodating pots and pans?
Hold out your hand!
Those things aren't going to help her, none of them can rescue her. They turn bland and useless, even unfriendly. Pots can show malice, the patterns of linoleum can leer up at you, treachery is the other side of dailiness.Oh, to write like that. The depth – amazing. I feel like such a pretender. If you've never read Alice Munro, one of the biggest stars of Canadian fiction, you must go now... now... what are you doing still standing there ... and find one of her books.
I'm not writing this down to elicit encouraging comments ... that's just how I feel.
The other thing about writing is its loneliness. I'm such a social critter that I find it hard to sit my butt down in the chair, all by myself, and just write. Once I start, I'm usually good. It's the starting that I find difficult.
One more thing about the project I'm working on – sometimes I do not like what I'm doing. Everyone always talks about loving their characters and while I do like them, most of the time, sometimes they bore the pants off me. I feel like saying, can't you just write yourself? Why do you need me? What a pain in the butt you are... In journalism, if a story is boring you, it's time to stop. Is this the same with novel writing? I don't know because I've never done it before. Does 'bored' mean the subject matter is terrible? Because, if it bores the writer, surely it will bore everyone else. Or do I just have a short attention span and everything bores me after five minutes?
Maybe a blog isn't enough. Maybe I need a shrink.
So that's what writing is to me right now: the bane of my existence. Tomorrow it will be my salvation, my obsession, my light.
Speaking of light (notice the segue), we have had some exotic visitors to our Light of Death. That's what we call our electric bug zapper, which emits sleazy ultraviolet light that all bugs are drawn to like sailors at a tart convention. I'm not a big fan of the zapper, by the way, because it kills all bugs, not just mosquitoes.
Fortunately for these two beauties, they are too large to enter the sacred portals of the Light of Death, so their lives were spared. (Double-click on the photos for biggie-size big moths.)
The big green one is called a Luna Moth; the brown one is Atheraea polyphemus, or brown one, for short. Obviously the brown moth doesn't inspire people as much as the green one because nobody gave it a cute name. I'm going to call him Frank.
Oh, and I almost forgot. The four people I want to tag with the "how I feel about writing" meme are:
Notice they are all "L-women." (In alphabetical order, no less.) Notice they are all talented writers.
I think the key to writing must be changing my name...