Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nope, no novel yet

Sometimes I think that the more interesting work would be writing a memoir about trying to write this damn novel.  I just can't find my voice.  I know why I'm telling the story, but it's too intellectual.  It doesn't appear to matter.  When I am writing about my life, it matters.  Being clear matters.  This thing that I'm trying to do -- it's just a thing that needs energy, and though I'm trying to communicate that love doesn't have to look like it does in Harlequin novels to be bodice-ripping and delicious, in the guise of these characters that message keeps falling flat.  There's no depth because it doesn't matter.  I'm writing a fantasy.

The thing is, fantasy has it's place.  Dreaming our way forward is a legitimate means of locomotion.  If some of our hopes are unrealistic, well, that's life.  Unrealistic goals are destructive when they create the expectation that anything different than them is less than them.  All values other than x are different values, not necessarily lesser ones; unrealistic goals that provide an extra push are helpful.  Fantasy has a place in the mind that is fluid in its dreams.

I am inspired by writers like Liz Gilbert and The Gluten-Free Girl.  They go in search of truth for themselves, they do all this work to figure out how to live a good life -- for them -- and then they share it, without proselytizing.  I want to do that.  That's what this book is about for me: taking the tropes of the romance novel, showing that they all exist in real relationships, but showing that love happens with honest conversation.  It doesn't just fall in your lap, most men don't have ESP, and being catty and coy will not get you the guy, most of the time. 

I think the answer is right in front of my face: I can't write this book because I can't fictionalize my life.  Only, I'm not doing that at all.  I'm writing half-fiction half-memoir and then resisting my impulse to write reflectively.

Maybe I can write a memoir about trying to write a romance novel. And in order to do that... I have to get back to work.

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