Thursday, September 26, 2013

That One Entry

Status Update:  coffee plentiful with beans so dark I'm somewhat surprised every morning my teeth aren't stained black. I'm playing word soup with my next story, just taking things that sound cool--completely independent of each other--and throwing them against the wall, seeing if the stinking sexy mess sticks or falls apart. Or I get out the fire hose, wash the wall clean and do something completely different, try something else, pretend it never happened. No eye contact!

I've mentioned before that I keep several text files which have nothing in them save for lists of ideas. They're labelled cleverly: "The Big List Of Ideas" and "The Big List Of Status Update Ideas". Clever, am I right?

They contain all sorts of entries. If I have an idea for a story or a blog entry, I'll either add it there, or email it to myself to add later. Sometimes I'll sit down and just blue-sky ideas. Free associate phrases which might, at some point in the future, turn into something interesting. Or at least inspire me to look at it in the cold hard light of morning and say "What the hell was I thinking? I can do better than that."

Every time I sit down to write something new, I'll sift through it. As I write, I'll delete entries. Sometimes I'll add things during breaks in writing. I'll come up for air with a seed of an idea which doesn't belong in what I'm currently doing and think "hey, future-me, write about this awesome nugget of awesome-sauce." Now, here's the key part (yes, Virginia, there is a fucking point here): I'm kinda lazy. Yes, really. So, I tend to add list items to the top or near to the top. It's not really organized in any way as you may be completely unsurprised to find out.

As I pull from these files, I do so from any point of the list. The end result is that less worthy ideas just sort of drift downwards into a stinking heap at the bottom of the file. But they're still my babies, and I still hope they'll grow up to be something awesome eventually.

So I have a ton of these ass-babies, just floating around, clustered at the bottom of my idea-files like citizens of the island of misfit writing. Some of them are JUST plausible enough that I dust them off every week, get their hopes up, then laugh cruelly and throw them back.

The Pack AD, everybody's favorite Vancouver rock band, once mentioned something they call "That One Song." You know, the song they always try to write for a new album, the one which leads them along and then they come to a point and realize, "hey, this song sucks, why do we always try to do this?" And then they forget about it and the cycle begins anew.

Most of the bottom of my list falls into that category. I have a blog post constantly in the works called "A Slowly Drifting Target" about how cultural drift will occasionally bite you in the ass if you don't keep things contemporary. It lurks near the bottom of my status update idea list, just plausible enough to be something I'd write about (maybe I will!), but not really grabby enough for me to fully dress it up.

I'm not even going to talk about the bottom of my story idea list. Near the end, there's an entry which simply reads "coathanger abortions" and then it just goes downhill from there. I'm actually a little afraid to scroll further down, just in case my laptop turns into something resembling the house from "House of Leaves" and tries to eat me.

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