Terror

I just started writing again last night, which is good, but now I’ve found that the story that I’ve started has wrapped me up tightly in a blanket of sheer terror. I’m going to continue with it, because I am determined to actually someday make money with my words, but it will be a real test to see if I can actually make it through the writing process. I’m going to be starting up again this evening, and plugging away at it tomorrow, with the hope of trying to have it ready for sale on Amazon either at the end of this weekend, or sometime next week. To be clear, for those of you who may choose to buy it, it is fiction, though parts of it are inspired from things which I have experienced. In some ways, I suppose that you could say that it is “Based On A True Story”, if you take into account just how little most stories which advertise that bear any more than a passing resemblance to past events. But it is a good chance for me to practice digging into my various hurts and traumas to try to find something of value to write about.

It will also mark the first time that I have written anything which puts to use my decade-plus of time spent working in the restaurant industry. Seriously, despite the fact that I was in food service since 2001 (it could be argued that my time associated with kitchens began in 1996, when I was working as a “Food Removal Engineer” at a local nursing home back on The Rock, but as that job lasted only long enough for me to purchase Pink Floyd’s, “The Wall” and its necessary accessories, I think that I’ll keep the start date firmly set in the twenty-first century), I have never found a way to incorporate my experiences in restaurants, nor even truly felt inclined to try. Perhaps I was just too close to it, the stresses of the industry having blinded me to the forest while focusing my myopia upon the trees. And even now, the story really isn’t even about restaurants; maybe someday, I’ll think up a story where that industry is front and center, integral to the plot, but for now, the setting is merely incidental. Though I’m doing my best to keep it from feeling like it, the whole food service aspect is basically just there to frame the actual story which I want to write. So, in other words, it’s filler.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m working on it, and will be developing it so that it feels like needed to be written, but reason for the story is nestled deep within it. The thing I really wanted to write just won’t work in the original way that I envisioned it, as it would have required character interaction which I am, at least in this instance, uniquely ill-suited to provide. Once I knew that I couldn’t present it as the story itself, the rest just sort of came to me. I’ve got the first part of the really good part written, but I’m holding off on finishing it until I’ve got the framework done. As long as I can keep the carrot before me, I can keep working toward making the whole story worthy of its premise, as opposed to a hodgepodge, hastily assembled marriage of two ideas which truly don’t belong together. But now I can make sure that before I write the part which I am dying to get off my chest, that the rest of the story is good enough to risk including with it, because once I’ve put it out there, I can’t simply recycle the “good part” if the rest of it doesn’t really work. I know that it’s not technically plagiarism, if I’m stealing from myself, but I don’t really want to be that guy who only rewrites the same damn thing for the entirety of his career (“Semantics: they’re my favorite kind of antics” notwithstanding).

And unlike Terracratsthis is the first completely new fiction which I will have written in years. I mean, I’ve started some open-ended things, and been assembling my notes for {Untitled Project #4}, but I haven’t come up with anything truly original (and by that, I am referring to self-plagiarism) since that hastily assembled thing I threw together that night that Flor was late coming home from work, and I started to freak out. Terracrats was a chance for me to look back at one of my favorite stories and see if I could do something better with it, which I believe I did. But I’ve only got so many stories which I could rework, and some of them are good enough as is, or, on the other hand, aren’t nearly close enough to worthwhile for me to waste my time upon. No, if I’m actually going to do this, I have to trust enough in myself to value the stories which I want to tell, and though this one isn’t what has been consuming me for several years, it is near and dear to me, and a good a place to start as any.

So why am I afraid? It’s not of failing, as my royalties from Amazon have tempered my expectations. And it’s really not that I won’t be able to write the thing, or that it somehow won’t work enough to sell it. Ultimately, though I would like to be able to support myself like this, I just want to have my words out where other people can read, and maybe appreciate them. The story will be good enough: of that I’m fairly certain, and I have a small group of advance readers to help me make sure that it doesn’t completely suck, who I need to sign off what I’m putting out. No, in this case, what scares me the most is finally putting into words, feelings which I’ve not allowed to see the light of day. Bits and pieces of Tex Batmart that existed before and apart from my lovely wife. To reiterate, these words are fiction, and not some deep-seated desire for confession, except, perhaps, on an existential level. But I’ve always thought of writing as the smart man’s therapy, and by spending this session with me, you’ve helped me come to terms with what I’m feeling, and set me down upon the path to writing something awesome (I hope).

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