Monday, June 06, 2005

A Real Post?

I so feel like you all deserve a real post. So here goes. My attempt at a real post. Hold onto your hats, it could be a wild ride.

Haha.... Right. Wild.

Today didn't start off so hot, because I overslept my alarm, but I made it to work ontime, so although I didn't get a shower... it's all good. Paxton, Dr. Dupper's baby has started teething, and he was extremely grumpy today. Also, I'm a strange person and he was left alone with me, and he was upset. In short, he cried a lot. I also got left on my own for the first time, and that was... interesting.

And my dog smells really bad, even after his bath. He smells like dog. Icky.

My original to-do list today was "1) get to work 2) survive work 3) be slightly ticked off with the world 4) go home and sleep." I did a lot of thinking though, in and among random story ideas, and my revised list ended up being 1) dance in the rain. Check, sort of. Danced in the parking lot after work, although by then the thunderstorms were over. 2) Laugh loudly. Check. Paxton is the cutest baby ever, and when he looks like he's so happy he just can't stand it, you can't help laughing too. 3) Read poetry. Check. Louise Gluck:

The Greeks are sitting on the beach
wondering what to do when the war ends. No one
wants to go home, back
to that bony island; everyone wants a little more
of what there is in Troy, more
life on the edge, that sense of every day as being
packed with surprises. But how to explain this
to the ones at home to whom
fighting a war is a plausible excuse for absence, whereas
exploring one's capacity for diversion
is not. Well, this can be faced
later; these
are men of action, ready to leave
insight to the women and children.
Thinking things over in the hot sun, pleased
by a new strength in their forearms, which seem
more golden than they did at home, some
begin to miss their families a little,
to miss their wives, to want to see
if the war has aged them. And a few grow
slightly uneasy: what if war is just a male version of dressing up,
a game devised to avoid profound spiritual questions? Ah,
but it wasn't only the war. The world had begun
calling them, an opera beginning with the war's
loud chords and ending with the floating aria of the sirens.
There on the beach, discussing the various
timetables for getting home, no one believed
it could take ten years to get back to Ithaca;
no one foresaw that decade of insoluble dilemma - oh unanswerable
affliction of the human heart: how to divide
the world's beauty into acceptable
and unacceptable loves! On the shores of Troy,
how could the Greeks know
they were hostage already: who once
delays the journey is already enthralled; how could they know
that of their small number
some would be held forever by the dreams of pleasure,
some by sleep, some by music?

4) Really look at people. I decided that the biggest problem with my writing is that my characters are all two dimensional. I also decided that the reason my characters are two dimensional is because I see real people as two dimensional. So maybe if I can really see real people, I can really write real people. Definitely not check. I sort of forgot about this resolution five minutes after I made it.

5) Ask the hard questions: Is this real? Is it worth saying?

Why is rain one of those ridiculously captivating things?

And even more than rain, the just-after-the-rain sky. I could look at it for hours.

On the way home from work today, after a long long day of 10 and a half hours, screaming babies, disgruntled and ill patients, and complete weirdness, I saw a rainbow. I was coming up over a hill and just about to round a curve, Jars of Clay playing loudly on the radio, and immediately in front of me, over a field glowing gold against a slate blue sky, was a rainbow.

I feel like my hold on joy is about as tenuous as that rainbow's hold on the sky.

It's funny how we think of rainbows as a huge sight that dominates the sky, whose colors are bright and overwhelming. In the abstract they're so clear. In reality they're just the opposite. They're wispy, ethereal, and they disappear if you look at them too long. They're subtle. If you're not looking, you may not see it. They do, however, dominate the sky once noticed. I guess I'm sort of saying there should be this greater faith metaphor there within the rainbow. I guess I'm also sort of saying that I don't know what it is, but I feel like it's important. Judge for yourselves. Take it as, perhaps, an oddly constructed piece of poetry, where your part in the conversation is to decide if it's important enough to figure out or not.

To me it was definitely a symbol.

You were there when I needed you,
You were there when the skies broke wide, wide open.


Jess said...

"ohhh... mackenzie likes rainbows, she must be gay!!!"

don't you hate how jerks have twisted a most beautiful promise of god?

call me a right wing actvist, but i don't like gay people.

sorry. that wasn't your point, was it?

Andrew said...

Characters have a fundimental problem (in general) which is that you (or me), as a writer, knows more about the character than the reader does. The writer may try to translate the character onto the page, but they can never really capture their ultimate idea of the character's essence. So really, no characters can be three-dimensional any more than-- Crap. My mom needs me to take out the trash. BRB.

Andrew said...

OK, trash and recycling are out. Where was I?

Hmm. I no longer remember where I was going with what I was saying... and now I feel bad about it.

Look, think about the characters in a play. When you read the script, you get the basics of a character: they're greedy or jealous or innocent or whatever. However, when you see the role performed on stage, the actors fill in the blank parts about the characters: their accent, their fidgets, their nervous twitches. The reader of a story fills in these details when they read. Just feel comfortable with your characters and let them do what they do. The audience will do the rest.

Jess said...

oh yeah, props on the jars reference..

Andrew said...

What Jars reference? Jars of Clay? I don't listen to them.

Jess said...

are you nuts?!?!?! BOOOO HISSSSS. anyone with half a mind would listen to Jars. they make the world go round.

Andrew said...

No, love makes the world go round.

* rock out old school! *

Mackenzie said...

Hm.... Good character advice I guess. Although it does make me somewhat depressed about the chances for getting a real character out.