Sunday, September 04, 2005

Okay, that motherfucking commenting thing is a little more difficutl than I, at first, suspected. In the meantime, I wanted to post a little something to distract you: for those of you who haven't read the first draft, I wrote a short story with the working title "Doublewides" quite a few months ago, and now that I've had some time to let it air, I'm thinking I'll go back and work with it, give it some more depth, maybe turn it into a novella (because I haven't acted really pretentious in a while.) Anyways, I was looking it over and I realized that if I edit it that much, the following excerpt will probably change, and I think that would be too bad, because it's a kick-ass excerpt. So read.


They were both quiet for a few minutes before he spoke again. "Trish?"


"We need to talk about last night."

"Yeah." She nodded. "What about, exactly?"

"Well, you know. Shit went down."

"I know." And it was silent again.

"I think we're both worried about me going back to college." He was hoping for her to interject
at this point, but she did not. "Like, what it's going to do to our friendship."

"Eh." She shrugged.


"We kissed, Tracy."

"Good. I wasn't sure you'd remember."

"I was really gunning to forget. Guess I'll need a little more Vodka next time."

"Please, no." He examined the water-stained institution-style plaster of her ceiling. "But I think why it happened know."

"We were trying to fit a round peg in a square hole."

"Yeah, exac--huh?" He turned his head towards her.

"Trying to...make sense of what we are. What we're supposed to mean to each other."

"Right." He agreed. "I mean, to an onlooker-"

"It'd seem like we were supposed to be like that." She said. "Romantic."

"Exactly. Because--"

"Because that's what soceity is trying to make all the good stories into. Love-fuckin'-stories."

"Romantic Comedies." He added.

" Best Sellers. Because no one understands a deep connection if it doesn't fit into a stereotype. "

" Because a hero is not a hero unless he's getting some."

"Yeah." She said, and it fell silent for a moment.

"But...that's not us, is it?" He asked.

"I fucking hope not. You're a bad kisser."

"And you're a slutty drunk."

"I'll drink to that." She turned her head to look at him, now.

"So...that's out of the way. But what about...the other stuff? When I go back to college. What's going to happen to us?"

"God, Tracy, let's not have this discussion. I mean, Christ, the last thing I need is another cling-on."

"What do you mean?"

"All these people, from my past. From the different waves of friendship-- a new leading man or woman for every stage of my life. Some last a month, some last a year, but they all come and go, except none of them ever really go. It's just that the relationship fades out, becomes dimmer and worthless, and sometimes I cling to them, but mostly they cling to me. In hopes of, god, I don't know what. In hopes that if they say 'I love you, I miss you, things have changed' often enough, than things will magically be the same. As if you can ever really go home again. You can't."

"So what happens?"

"They cling on. And we talk online every now in then in short conversations, and they complain I never have time for them anymore." She sighed, heavily, and looked back up at the ceiling. "Then I have to explain to them that I have long days at work, and things to I have to do at home, and when all is said and done after devoted 90% of my life to things that have to be done, then I have to divide what's left between all the different people I'm struggling to keep in touch with. Except..."

"Except what?"

She sighed again. "Except what I don't tell them is that all of the people I'm really trying to keep in touch with are just different versions of myself." She was talking slower now. "One by one, I lost them-- the ones with ideals, the ones with strengths, the ones with ambitions. Ants go marching."

He mock-shuddered. "Dave-fucking-Matthews."

"Oh, god, I did, didn't I?"

"You did."

"Shit. There goes the version of myself that didn't make references to songs by overrated pop singers." She looked at him again. "So I think we've officially reached the worse version of myself."

"She ain't so bad."

"Not to you, maybe."

"So get the old versions back."

"Can't be done, I've tried. I've tried more than you know, Tracy."

"Are you telling me you really don't believe that people can change?" He asked, hopefully.

"No, are you kidding me? I believe one hundred percent that people can change." She smiled, casually. "Just not for the better."

He let that sink in a moment, and tried to get things straight in his mind, tried to compute what it meant if she really thought she was just a shell of herself, but in the rush of it all, it came out as hollow words jumping around his head. He knew there was some inevitable conclusion to be had, but he just couldn't put his finger on what.

"So what about all the people who still care about you? And what about us, Trish?"

"I'm glad you asked, because I have a theory I've been waiting to unleash on this one." She flipped on her side, and propped her head up with her arm as he waited in careful attention. "In all oriented...what's the word? Of or relating to family?"




She shrugged. "Okay, then. In all non-familial relationships, there is a basic formula: Stage one, discovering your similarities. Stage two, getting over your differences."

He nodded, in schooled agreement. "What's stage three?"

"Heh," She chuckled, flipping onto her back again. "If I ever get that far, babe, you'll be the first to know."


Incidently, the story was originally not supposed to have a romantic element to it at all, but it evolved (not unlike the story of my life, in that regard). I had e-mailed the beginning of the story to a certain ex-librarian of mine, who automatically interpreted the relationship between the two main characters, Trish and Tracy (Tracy's the guy), as being romantic, or pre-romantic anyway. At first I was offended by the notion, that a male and female character automatically had to be involved in that way. The more I got to thinking about it, though, the more I realized that it was unrealistic not to at least approach the subject: the average reader would always be wondering, and hell, it's not like any character based on me wouldn't be. So, I took the oppurtunity to clear the air and add a little of my own commentary to the situation. Trish, unlike her non-fictional counterpart, has the benefit of not falling in love with every guy who shows her the least bit of attention (the wording there was a clear sop to anyone who reads this who knows the reference, I know there are at least two out there.)

I love writing dialogue like that because it gives you a chance to give a voice to your theories, or theories, in some cases, that you don't even really believe, but you just want to give them representation. You can experience with different ideas through characters, have arguments that help the real life you decide who you are-- are you a cynic? An optimist? A romantic? Why go through years of personal evolution when you could take all of these outlooks for a test-drive? Micheal Crichton, for instance, wrote Jurassic Park as a showcase for discussion of the Chaos Theory via Ian Malcolm, who many speculate was a character largely based on Crichton himself.

Tracy's real-life counterpart doesn't believe so much in writing for the sake of theories and dialogue; he relies more heavily on action and plot. At least, he did a while ago. But things change.

On with it.