Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I can hear every plane that flies over my room.

Sometimes this is fun. I was sitting in Dunkin Donuts the other day, and it was cloudless, and all of a sudden this huge shadow quickly swept over us. It was a plane, and it was pretty cool. I forgot about the air traffic over Jersey.

I also forgot that I have trouble sleeping in my own room. I think it's because I get too much sleep at home.

My 101 Things to do in 1001 Days list is almost done. It's hard coming up with that many things.

I was looking for a quote on painting by Renoir, the artist not the filmmaker, the other day - well, that was really just a cover for me looking for quotes on writing - and I came across some really good quotes. I will sprinkle my posts with them to make myself look learned and witty.

"Writing is a fairly lonely business unless you invite people in to watch you do it, which is often distracting and then [you] have to ask them to leave." - Marc Lawrence

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." - Red Smith

I've been living at home for the past couple of weeks. This has been a great experience for me creatively. Not only have I had the opportunity to sit around and do nothing all day except take long walks and write (note to self: it's 11:15 and you still have not written 5 pages for Current Draft. Darn.), but I have come to acknowledge something. Every writer should take advantage of the inspiration around them to write a family drama.

I most of my ideas are dramatic. I'm not really good at comedy, and though I'd like to take a couple of stabs at action, I'm not as interested because I don't think it has the potential for revelation and exploration that drama has. In drama, you *expect* people to have life-revealing monologues dripping from their lips. Yeah, so, anyway, I had this idea for a family drama. I was thinking of writing it after I finished The 4:05, so I did a little prewriting on it (which for me is saying something) and promptly moved on to something else and forgot about it. Now it's in my notebook with a whole bunch of other ideas that are in no hurry to be written but are waiting for a time when I'm just looking for something to play around with. Should have picked that story instead of Current Draft.

The point is, I was hanging out the other day with my Aunt. We had gone out to lunch, just the two of us, because we have nothing to do. It's fabulous, we're living this life of ridiculous luxury (until I go to work next week), and her new favourite line at restaurants is to tell the waiter, "Don't worry. We're not in a hurry." Because we're not. She's living us (and other various relatives) while her house is being built, and I'm just doing... nothing. My aunt is a great talker. I have a problem coming up with interesting things to talk about with people I see on a regular basis, but not this woman. One thing we talk about, because she has spent so much time travelling around different family members, is our family, especially the stories that my grandparents tell her. In fact, we've decided that our family history, as colorful as it is, would make an interesting book.

So I already have it in the back of my head the vague idea for this novel, when I really start to pay attention to how my family relationships are *right now.* I mean, sure, the fact that my great-grandfather rode off with my great grandmother when she was 15 and they got married at a crossroads before her father could find her is definitely interesting. But at the same time I have all these ideas in my head spinning. About how siblings interact. The ways that you can learn new things all the time about people you've known you're entire life. How to so many people who've lived independent lives can come back to one place and coexist together. How just taking the time to go to lunch with someone two times a week and listening to them can strengthen your relationship with them. And all this time, I realize that the time I should be writing my family drama script is right now. Because you never understand family dynamics so much as when you are actually in the midst of them.

And besides. If you're looking for inspiration, well, your family will give you an infinite amount of drama.

"I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." - Joan Didion

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