Thursday, August 31, 2006

That's not writing, it's ... patchwork.

My last couple of articles feel like I'm not really writing them so much as compiling them. It's an interesting difference. If I'm writing something, I'm searching for le mot juste, I'm coming up with analogies, I'm quietly spending time with an idea and seeing where it brings me emotionally. I'm connecting dots, sorta. Connecting dots of EMOTION.

The stories I've been doing lately have been more reporting, ya know, so I'm taking stuff I learned -- by interviewing -- and fitting it together so it makes a cohesive whole. It's not bad, not at all; it's actually pretty satisfying when it's done and I see the tight little seams and pull on them and say "yep, okay, I can send this in."

I guess it's not fair to say that's not writing. They're both writing, they just feel like they use different parts of my brain.

All this is to say I was supposed to go through my notes on my "born-again virgin" piece this morning, and form it into a whole, and it's 3:44 and I still haven't cracked it. I know how I want to structure it now, so why don't I just put it all together? I think I'm worried it won't work with the interviews I've done and I'll have to do MORE. Which I can't stand to do for a sex story. Somehow I'm more mortifiable these days. But at this moment, it's really either do the story or pay bills. Which would YOU rather do?

(If the answer to that question is "I'd rather pay your bills," you should go ahead and do that! yeah thanks wow!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Satire For Fun And ... Well, Just Fun

Okay. So I realized I'm awash in deadlines, particularly for this crazy tequila story that's currently yanking my chain. But I saw an article in the Times today that reminded me of the most annoying thing I ever read, and that inspired me to (1) learn google pages and (2) use that knowledge to create a magnificent work of satire.

At the bottom of the page are the two articles that I mashed up to create my masterwork. Once you read the two links, the whole thing will become clear, I think... I hope so, anyway.

So you have to go offsite to read my brilliance today. But it is so worth it! Honest!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Deadlines A-Poppin'

Ha ha. Remember a few posts ago when I said I was going to get everything in early? That was funny. I completely forgot to enter a couple little deadlines into my iCal, which means I'm notified of missed deadlines by a worried-sounding email from an editor.

Also: sometimes when you tape things, the tape fades out after ten minutes and you have to reconstruct a 90-minute interview from memory.

On the upside, I've gotten assignments galore. If I can just keep getting crap done (after PUTTING SAID CRAP IN MY iCAL), I'll be in really good shape at the end of the month. But I'm juggling. Naked terror is keeping the balls in the air. So far, so good...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What Killed Nathaniel Hawthorne?

So it turns out no less an American luminary of letters than Nathaniel Hawthorne not only had writer's block, he died of it. Seriously. In last week's New Yorker, John Updike reports that in 1864, Hawthorne wrote in a letter (re: a book he had started):
I shall never finish it… I cannot finish it unless a great change comes over me; and if I make too great an effort to do so, it will be to my death.
And then? Twelve weeks later? HE DIED. Maria Callas died of heartbreak, Nathaniel Hawthorn died of writer's block. So don't push me, people: I'm in a delicate condition.

Actually, I wrote a personal essay two days ago. I took a big long hike and while I was wondering if I was going to die of the hike (I'm sure I could), I thought of a solid hook, and ran home and wrote the thing. It's about my long-lost Cartier Tank wristwatch but, as with most personal essays, it's really about life. Yep. I'm that deep.

Then I felt horribly guilty because I didn't have an assignment to write it, I just wrote it, which means I was not working on the things which have been assigned to me and which are horribly overdue. Then I thought, "What the hell am I doing, writing personal essays? Nobody publishes these. I'll send it in to the Times 'Modern Love' column and I'll hear bupkiss and that'll be that." After that came a lot of whirling thoughts that had to do mostly with what to have for lunch and howcome moldy cheese is okay but moldy bread is not.

Anyway, though, I wrote it and I love it, so the "Modern Love" column can bite me. OW. Hey, "Modern Love" column! I didn't mean that literally! Jerk.