Saturday, 5 April 2008

A life in words (Bridget is rambling, please ignore).

Ben is not forthcoming with his writing. He's encouraging but he won't share. He never shares until the public gets to devour it first. I let everyone I know have first dibs. Even though it's two different things altogether, the process is still the same. Be inspired, fulfill the steps, be happy with finished, working product.

Like two mechanics side by side, each working on the same set of identical brake shoes, he'll offer up help or advice or stimulation but never once tell me how his is going, or show me his already-long-finished wheel. He's moved on to the exhaust and I am still struggling to get the shoes bolted on properly.

Yes, that's my complete and succinct knowledge of car repair from years of sitting in cold garages polishing chrome with the Never-dull can beside me while the guys put cars back together. Wait, I can refill oil and washer fluid and I know how to jump start a car. I can't be the pusher but I can drop a clutch.

I'm so happy the days of cars that we couldn't afford to fix are behind us, for the moment.

Though that doesn't stop the tinkerers and I was left to my own devices today because bike season is just around the corner so I will not see many of the guys on the nicest days, they'll be out on the Open Road which is where you go on bikes, and Sam will be back entrenched in the fray and Ben will be the daredevil but maybe that will be interesting, for he says he feels less inclined to break his neck trying fruitlessly to impress me now.

Ah. Isn't this where you begin the rapid descent into being comfortable not brushing your teeth before bed? I hope not. I like holding out on him and doing my very best to have brushed hair and a cute outfit on and be conversational.

It beats the wrapped-in-a-sweater, hostile, brittle writer-girl who only comes out of her turret for food and sex.

Or maybe it doesn't. I'll have to ask Ben.

I'm having a very hard time with said third novel and I only took the gig because it meant a payday down the road and I'm not one to burn career bridges because I find life as a writer tenuous at best. My style is hard to swallow, but easy to read. I take people to uncomfortable places and sometimes, on weeks like this, my heart isn't in it.

When Jacob and I got together I had just come off finishing up the second book. I was down to easy editing and a few changes and then I wrote a bunch of short stories and sold a few things and dabbled in some other stuff and put forth a lot of effort into Bridget. This. Saltwater Princess, the journal, giving it attention I hadn't before and it surprised me, never having written as myself or for myself, never having given any sort of voice or importance to a female character of any regard.

I have voiced many audible doubts over the past week that there is even a third book inside me at all, or maybe I'm just tilting at windmills. I began with a female protagonist. Only she's me, Bridget. But she isn't. But she is. Try telling her she's not and she clams up and marches off. I'm getting nowhere fast. I tried to let go a little and give her some growing space and she held up a mirror.

I feared this would happen, I really did. Writing is an incredibly personal experience, your characters wear your blood on the outside, it's almost painful. We'll tell you they are inventions and we lie when we do it.

Ben suggested I just keep plugging away doggedly. Keep working at it, eventually it'll fall into a rhythm and I'll return to the cold-turret girl that I am, when I can't even pry my head out of the story long enough to make dinner and we order in for weeks on end. When it's on my mind night and day and I'm preoccupied and miserable with glee over how I can make these people do whatever I want instead of waiting for fate. I am God in my novels.

What I'd like to do instead, is turn Saltwater Princess into a book. Maybe the general entries, weed out the useless ones, maybe add in some essays from my handwritten unpublished journal that lives under my bed. Maybe spruce it up a little so it makes more sense, replacing every place I called Cole by his nickname, Trey Anastasio, maybe replacing some of the harder parts or the drunken parts with better explanations and clearer intent.

Maybe take this down and make you buy the books. How evil.

In a perfect world, that's how this would end, a perfect set of volumes maybe categorized by year, because there is far too much for one lousy paperback here. This is a life you're talking about here, not a year in Provence. I would have to start with pre-2006 and then lump in 2006 and most of 2007 and then hold out for a while and see how 2008 and beyond pans out. Maybe there would be a comeback bestseller years from now to bring everyone up to speed on how the princess (hopefully) gets her happily ever after. I don't even know because it's autobiographical and I'm only thirty-six years old. No one is that egotistical as to publish their entire life story before middle-age, are they?

I'm not. Be grateful. All of you would get angry and boycott having to purchase a book after reading the daily segments for free, at your convenience. I know. I would, too.

I'd hate to see it end. I've grown fond of public-me. I didn't hate her as I feared I might several times. Nothing is a mirror like black words on a white screen. Nothing says accountability like real names and real events and real violence and really bad decisions. I got comfortable writing under some guy's name that doesn't stand out but you think he's a creep because only such horrors would come from the mind of a monster when in reality it's a somewhat fragile young blonde mother who has known a few monsters but otherwise has a weird tactile addiction to affection, bobby pins, Mexican food and being scared to death.

Only maybe not to death, because death is final. And I know I have more words in me, and more stories and more to show to you, but those words are about me, and maybe there's a reason for that, just like there's a reason for everything, even death.

I know you're disappointed, you expected this post to be about a lapdance and an epic one at that. No worries, it's still in the queue, I just needed to unload a whole jumble of professional self-doubt first. Sorry about that.

Wait, no I'm not. I'm not sorry. It is what it is-just me again, breezing through with another litany of fears and hesitation while Ben ignores my pleas to let me in just a little, to see his madness so it would make my own that much less glaring.