Draft skeletons in my closet

6:30 pm

I’m sitting down to write something. And it’s gonna be the shit.

What to write about? Nonfiction—no that requires a lot of reading, too late to start now. How about a nice story? That’s right. When I get up, I’ll have a novel…that inspires tears…from Hemingway…in a fetal position cursing god for making me more talented. I need characters, plot arcs, story lines, a central theme…

You know that non-fiction idea is looking better and better—the heart wants what it wants.

7:00 pm

What do I begin with? Lesser men choose titles, rough measures of article size—but I’m not a wimp. First, the font. Because the only thing worse than getting kicked in the nuts is writing a treatise on macroeconomics that’s a Nobel shoo-in only to learn that Stockholm despises Helvetica. (Why do you think they bumped me for Krugman?) Too many choices, but I’ll know it when I see it.

7:15 pm

I keep going from Georgia to Courier New to those special typewriter fonts I downloaded from dafont.com and all the way back to Georgia. Times New Roman? What am I, an animal? But I admit that Times New Roman tempts me like Jon Hamm probably does to Ted Haggard. No, I need the right font. Courier New is the best—everything I write looks serious. Like a philosopher who’s finally decided to make metaphysics his bitch.

Or does it? What if I just look pretentious like those people who drink Chardonnay and say things like avant-garde and milieu?

7:45 pm

I imagine myself as a heroic Thomas Jefferson punching declarative statements on a typewriter before realizing that Jefferson died forty years before the typewriter was invented.

So everything he wrote was by hand. How did he get past the first sentence? How come no one crushed his spirit by saying, Your ‘s’ looks like an ‘o’? (Yes, I’m looking at you mom.)

8:00 pm

No, Courier New won’t cut it. Who am I kidding? I routinely end sentences with prepositions, and I recently declared my closet desire to shamelessly split infinitives, and I used ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’ in the previous sentence. I need a non-prescriptivist font, preferably one that doesn’t smell too Victorian. (Not that I know what Victorians smelled like, but I hear they showered sporadically.)

I can’t think straight until the words staring at me look alright. That’s how Christopher Hitchens did it right? May his soul rest in…wait, what?

8:15 pm

Maybe the font is fine, what about the screen brightness? I don’t want it too bright, do I? A soft light that prevents eye-strain without making me squint is what I need. But first, some music. Nothing but the soft gentle stirrings of Adele to boost creativity. Did I say Adele? I meant Metallica, with beer, and a shotgun.

9:15 pm

Alright, so that episode of Breaking Bad was awesome, but I really need to write now. Hell, no way I’d have been this inspired if I’d started typing away without … you know … inspiration. Hey, how about this for a story — a guy with a low-profile life in Smalltown, USA gets cancer and decides to cook meth…no wait…I’m getting close now, the idea is not far away. Come on…

9:30 pm

I can’t be creative on an empty stomach. I need some Chinese. All that stops me from being Tom Wolfe is sesame chicken with pork fried rice. Great, no cash, meaning I have to tell my credit card number to the post-doc at Hunan palace who likes to repeat every digit loudly, his accent disappearing with every number. But he forgets the chicken wings every time.

I guess I’ll resume after dinner.

11:00 pm

That’s it. I’m not getting up until I write something of value. I almost sympathize with people now—how empty and bourgeoisie their sundry lives will seem after reading my outpourings? But should I write now? My mind isn’t the sharpest after bingeing on Chinese. The people deserve better; I’ll start writing tomorrow early morning, fresh. By 8 am, I’ll be emailing the New York Times.

9:00 am

Is Courier New really the right way to go?

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18 thoughts on “Draft skeletons in my closet

  1. The fact that I’m intimately familiar with Comic Sans, Courier, Times New Roman and Papyrus (which I once used on a business card…huh?) and, therefore, fully understand your dilemma, is terrifying to me. When I started writing my novel, I even asked a successful author friend of mine which font she preferred, Googled “best font for fiction manuscript” and consulted with a few writing books. Like yourself, I was fairly certain that particular fonts would ensure that my manuscript ended up deleted by every potential literary agent. Until now, it hadn’t occurred to me that I was merely a procrastinator, and not a candidate for medication to control OCD. Actually, that’s not true. I’m a terrible procrastinator and I’ve been fully aware of this for many years. After all, here I am commenting on your very funny blog post while simultaneously watching Bethenny Ever After (and embarrassing myself by admitting that I watch this terrible program), instead of finishing up a rewrite of that manuscript. This is good stuff. Keep writing it and I shall keep reading. P.S. I like this blog font. And I really don’t like Chardonnay unless it’s unoaked. Why anyone would want to drink something that tastes like a barrel is beyond me.

    • I procrastinate too. They say perfect is the enemy of good. People usually sit down at their computer and expect genius in their first draft. That’s what I do. So I end up with almost nothing worthwhile often.
      I don’t even know what Bethenny Ever After is, but here’s hoping it inspires you!
      What’s your novel about?
      Thanks for visiting.

  2. I was going to come write something super-inspirational on your site but then saw that my blogging bestie (who you read about in the Freshly Pressed blog) already said everything I was thinking. Like, everything down to descriptors. Freaky. So anyway, now I can sleep. Which is much needed. G-night.

  3. This would have been funny were it not so painfully familiar. Okay, it was painfully funny. Have you ever Googled the phrase “free fonts?” I once lost an entire afternoon that way.

    The more popular “Breaking Bad” becomes, the longer Bryan Cranston’s character lives. I think Walt’s exceeded the average life expectancy for lung cancer by a year or two. Maybe there’s something to this meth madness after all.

  4. I’m sure this suggestion will be an unknowing case of plagarisim, but what the hell – it’s Saturday, and I’m jittery from too much coffee: what about writing about someone trying to write about writer’s block? It could be a wonderful and epic saga that feeds on itself and draws the reader into a never-ending loop of frustration with a sprinkling of character development and obligatory car chases…leaving the reader confused, perplexed, jaded, and craving pad Thai and more car chases.
    Stepping away from the coffee.

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