I was in the waiting room for an appointment earlier this week, and after getting comfortable enough, then thinking of anything I needed to do for the appointment then later, I thought of “The Story.” One exercise I do, in fiction writing brainstorming, is I bring my characters with me and see how they react to the new location. What would bring John and Trishna to the waiting room of a pain management doctor’s office?
Spoilers?: Minor [late-narrative brainstorming session]
The result was something I’ve been mulling over perhaps later into “The Story.”
So “The Story” starts with Trishna introducing herself to John online, their budding friendship and relationship, then proceeds through their college years into later on in life. Somewhere along that journey, Trishna has a spine problem. She was born with a spine disability of some sort, and has led a careful life of limited mobility but with consideration perhaps minimal or no pain. There may be the occasional evening flare-up, but, she’s not out there hiking up mountains, so things work out fairly well for her after a series of diagnoses and surgeries throughout her early childhood.
Until something causes another issue.
The details of this are vague, but they closely mirror my own experiences, so it’s better if I don’t dig too much into these sorts of fictional details. Are they just me reinterpreting my own reality through the realities of fictional characters? Or did these characters exist in a reality outside of me? These sorts of existentialist questions are trivial when it comes to actually writing the material, so don’t worry about them too much. Instead, when I brought these characters into the waiting room, I saw John, Trishna, her service dog after Pollyanna, and one of her parents. I imagined both pre-COVID conditions and if there was a pandemic in “The Story” – would it be a zombie apocalypse outbreak? – and invited them into the waiting room. As I waited in the patient room, they waited with me – sometimes, with John and the service dog, other times they waited outside.
You have to quickly throw out myriad ideas until things start sticking.
I imagine that as I write, over the years, these essays and writing fiction will become easier. I’ll be able to write quicker with more nuance, but until then, I have to keep writing the same things and exploring the same ideas. I’ve been noticing on Twitch over the past few days a trend where people have wanted things for free, or they’ve wanted shortcuts to fame, or they’ve donated things in exchange for wanting things in return. It’s perverse to see. When I donate things, I don’t want anything in return other than knowing that the donated item or money is actually going to its intended source; if they throw out the donation or spend the money on superfluous bullshit, what’s it to me? Why would I want to control them?
That might seem like a 180-degree turn, but trust me, it relates.
I’ve published over two million words on this website, we’re getting close to two thousand essays, and do you want to guess how much money I’ve earned from this website? Zero dollars and zero cents. I wrote an essay that was used by the float tank company I like so they gave me a free $40 credit for a float tank session. Does that count as compensation? I didn’t start a 1099-MISC or I-9 with them. It was a credit on my account. Otherwise, I have not received any particular accolades or honors for the work I’ve put into writing anything here, except for the personal development I’ve gained along the way. I’ve explored my mind and its many eccentricities. If I have autism, I can tell you that more than any armchair psychologist – probably, but does it matter?
No, what matters is dissecting then showing the writing process.
If other people profit from my guidelines and formats, then so be it, because I will find more profit through my personal accomplishments. I don’t find joy from winning achievements in videogames. I find joy in exploring the nuance of a sentence. When there’s a typo, it creates a whole avenue for self-exploration. Illiteracy is common online and it’s created a fascinating place for me to navigate. Grammarly sends me a weekly status report of my writing and every week tells me I’m in the top 1% of all their writers, to the point where I thought it was a glitch, until I met someone that was in the top 2%.
My favorite streamer, crackyreads, and I were talking about how it pisses him off that people want to learn Japanese “someday.” He’s a professional Japanese-to-English translator and that same mindset applies to writing fiction. I may say that I’m going to write “The Story” “someday,” so there is some nuance here, but “every day” I think about writing. Every single day I, at the very least, do one small 1,000-word essay, or if I’m not feeling well, at least over 500. I pitch an idea to myself that’s worth the time and effort, mull it over, come up with that opening line to grab people in, then jam for about 30 minutes. I could be watching some livestreamers. I’ve missed cracky’s streams plenty of times to write.
Take priority of your ambitions.
For me, if actions do not help me write “The Story,” then I stop dealing with them. Paying taxes, figuring out medical bills, and grocery shopping helps me write “The Story.” Relaxing to some livestreams after doing my best thinking toward writing “The Story” helps. Self-care helps. What doesn’t help is idly daydreaming of having “The Story” pop out of the ether and into my lap. I have to grind for many more years or even decades until I can write the story of John and Trishna as it needs to be told.
Start practicing already.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: I normally don’t put in the music I listen to, but I listened to this Melvins set in the background while writing and I felt it really jell together. I didn’t have a whole lot to say about the brainstorming, so the shift in gear was a natural progression toward the reason why I write these: in order to do anything big, you have to start small and stay consistent.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2021 March 13 [10:28pm to 10:57pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 March 13 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|