Monday, April 19, 2010

Brilliant Thought and Eyebrow Plucking


I have to say it. My weekend was glorious. Not only was the weather absolutely perfect, but I experienced something rare. The heavens opened, the birds sang, and I got A Great Idea.

At least I think it was a great idea: a book project that would be so fun to write. And guess what else. No sooner had I thought of it but my husband and my youngest child took off on a road trip, allowing me the luxury of retreating into my head for the rest of the weekend, to come out only when my teenage cave-boy beat his club on my door, foraging for food. The more I thought of my idea, the more excited I became. This is brilliant, I thought. Why hasn't anyone else thought of this?

And then Brian Doyle's essay smacked me on the head and I had to laugh at myself. Have you read it, Notes From a Writer's Mind? My friend Jimmy sent it to me ages ago, but my little brain filed it away for just the right moment, which I guess was Saturday. You can read the entire essay here, but I'll share a few favorite paragraphs. You don't have to be a writer to appreciate the nuttiness.

"(At the beginning of any piece of writing) This is the greatest idea
ever! I am a genius! No one ever had this idea before! What a great
first line! Being a writer is better than a stick in the eye! This is so
exciting! Those words were never in that order in the whole history of
the English language! That's incredible! That's astounding! Now what?"

"(In the middle of any piece of writing) O my gawd this is drivel.
This is the worst muddle ever inflicted on an unsuspecting populace. I
should crumple this and go into insurance. I should cease to write
forevermore. I should be a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the
floors of silent seas. I should eat. Maybe I should take another shower.
Who will ever pay for this muck? This is worse than anything Jerzy Kosinski
ever wrote, and what could be worse than that? My gallbladder hurts.
Just one more cookie. Is that the mailman? How do you spell labyrinthine?
Should I do the laundry?"

(Becky, here. If Brian asked me, which he didn't, I would add: My eyebrows need plucking. How long has it been since I cleaned out the fridge? I wonder if they'd hire me at the dry cleaners. My feet are cold.)
Now back to Brian...

"(At a reading) How many people are here? Will they buy my book? Does
the microphone work? Do I need the microphone if only four people show
up? Is everyone here related to me? What if everyone leaves during the
reading? What if no one wants me to sign a book? What if all these
people are here to return my book? What if they throw books at me? Is
the microphone big enough to hide behind? Is my fly zipped?"

(Me again. And I would add: oh my Lord, my lips are sticking to my teeth. What if I faint right here and knock this podium over? What if I fall in an unladylike position or my tongue hangs out and I drool? Is that...? It is! My roommate from my senior year. Oh MY LORD IN HEAVEN, what is that girl's name?)

You know, the next time I go to a book signing, I think I'll be extra friendly and supportive. And I might just wear a name tag. But until then, I better get busy with my new idea. I might be a genius now, but I have no doubt that within a day or two my eyebrows will be calling.

Have a great Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky

PS. This video has nothing to do with the insecurities of the writer's mind, but enjoy it anyway.
You just never know what people or dogs are really thinking.

9 comments:

Jill said...

OMG!!!! I've had just about each and every one of those thoughts! I did two library events and threee bookstores last week, and before each gig, I was fretting and nervous as all get out! And that's when the doubts set in. Should I have done this or worn that? I can't be here... my feet are too sore (or my gall bladder).... Scary but fun!

adrienne said...

Thanks for the morning laughs - that essay and the video were hilarious.

Have fun with that new project! And pay no attention to any inner voice that says you should go into insurance. :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh that is so true. Ugh.
But thank goodness you had time to pursue the idea! Keep at it!

May @ Anne and May said...

I just complete a first draft of a new book and for exactly a day I felt awesome.

Then, it was pointed out to me that it needs more work.

Today I told myself husband that I just want someone to put me out of my misery.

Oh writing! The ups! The downs! The long afternoons staring at the blank screen.

Sigh.

But I'm sure your new idea was genius. Good luck, my dear.

LW said...

I love the excitement of a new idea, a fresh thought,
to completely live in one’s head for a day or two.
And then the work begins; keep plucking those keys.
I want an autograph copy of the first edition; I will be at the first book signing,
See you there……

On another note,
This last summer I had a long talk about the PANITED BIRD and Jerzy Kosinski.
It was a book I was thinking about reading again but I am not sure I have the heart for it now.
I will have to spend sometime this week and research to see if it was ever proven that he was a plagiarist.

Louise

Jenny said...

Go, writer, go! I am most assuredly NOT a writer but I have thought some of those thoughts (is this drivel?, my feet are cold, who will care?) from just plain blogging and then I remind myself that I would still be sending my thoughts out to the blogoshpere whether they were read or not. I just have to reiterate that I loved your first book, yes, because it spoke of dear to my heart France, but I read the whole thing because your writing was individual, FUNNY, and plain ol' interesting. Keep going and I can't wait to hear more.

Fete et Fleur said...

Living with a writer . . . I know this process well.

I think that pink shirt does make his eyes sort of POP!

Nancy

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Oh wow. Love that thrill of new ideas. Here's to
wishing you lots of stamina to flesh out your brillant
vision.

And we can't wait to read. Bet it's awesome!

Happy writing

Angie Muresan said...

Insurance? Woman, not with your talent! Write away!