For you, the dress code is casual.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Thoughts for the Self-Contented on a Saturday Night

Wow! The luck! Apocalypse Now is on TCM!

I'm taking another well-deserved me-night in. The date went well enough. My head wasn't in it, but I'm glad I went. Another would not be a bad thing at all.

I'm starting to realize that the existential plate of mine is actually quite full, and that I might just be human to be as fatigued as I often am. Writing on here is a relief valve, but writing for Smut is more work-like (but similarly more fulfilling when I make a good hit, like my Fuck the Pope post of late).

35-40 hours of work, 6-12 hours of athletics, cooking for myself, cleaning for myself, writing and maintaining the blog to the tune of 15-20 hours per week, and, what, sleep? That's my life. I see friends and family seldom, and I enjoy it, but, mentally, the blog keeps me pretty exhausted 'cos the day job is a cerebral workout in itself.

The blog's important to me. Sure, it's work, but that's because I've increased my standard lately. There's a lot less journalling, and a lot more commentary on issues that matter to me. There's a lot more of me trying to think of craft and links and interplay of ideas and themes. I think my quality has improved. It can always improve. That's the great thing about writing:

You will never, ever be good enough.

That's writing.

Glutton for punishment I am, I just can't get enough.

I have my goals down for '08, but '09 includes finally tackling the challenge of fiction again. I want to write fiction. It scares me. Story, hell... that's a hard wench to master. I respect story too much to go insulting it by crafting a weak one. I have a natural sense of smelling great story that I think more writers wish they had. I've never had to learn through lit classes what great story is. I just instinctively get it.

Telling it, though, I'm not sure I'm there yet. Yes, I think I'm pretty good at relating stories from my life. I know how to build the momentum. But ground-up construction of people, place, things, pace, and plot? Whew! I'm gonna plead non-fiction writer on that one, thanks.

Thing is, I can't. Out of about a year of writing fiction, I know I wrote three really good short stories, and one was "Wow, Steff, that's totally evoking Denis Johnson!" from my writing teacher Maureen Medved, so I know I've occasionally channeled a well-told tale.

And, fuck, I want nothing more to write the next great Canadian novel, but story is the ultimate challenge for any writer, and I respect that more than anyone because more than anyone I feel cheated and robbed by the fickle bitch that story is.

Slap, slap. Whine, bitch. Mmf.

Yeah, narrative's my thang. My zone. I diggit. Story's my lifelong challenge. It's why I'm so story-telling in my writing style, so often. My pseudo-fiction.

All that aside? I'm getting more and more confident in my style. I wrote my rant, Fuck the Pope, on the holiday Monday last week, I think. And it felt great. It was comfortable, it was cathartic, it was fun, it was everything writing should be. It's that rare moment of writing that really, really is a verb. Wow. I could live a lifetime on monthly installments of that cathartic bliss.

Very, very, very rarely do those moments transmit into the posts that are most resonant and evocative for readers.

This time, however, Fuck the Pope hit all the right notes. And I was fucking SHOCKED.

Why? Why would this girl's Catholic life and angst hit that many corresponding notes with her readers? And the Sugasm folk voted me as the best pick of the week, too, which is high praise, considering some of the folk on the list.

But how I felt when I wrote that is how I've felt for a few of those pieces that really resonated with readers. One piece in particular really carved a name for me on the web back in March of '06, and it was exactly the same kind of righteous "why are the religious types always hypocrites" this-is-my-honesty type of revealing post.

And I was going to NOT publish it! I thought it was too personally driven! I thought it was too soapbox about something no one gave a shit about! The pope? Who cares, right? Wrong.

Fucking stunned I was, yeah. To see the comments and the reactions? Oh, totally. Great, though. Just fantastic. The most reassuring, confidence-building, pleasing reaction I've had in a while. And good on me. A reminder to stay true to my instinct, and that my indignation is more universal than I might suspect, and celebrating it isn't an altogether bad choice.

You know, I smile sometimes when I think of those times in real life when I say things that momentarily take people aback and then cause them to break out in understanding laughter. Tapping into people's psychic undercurrents in ways that cause them to express how they relate, that's a high I'll never, ever tire of. Just gives me gas to go on, you know?

Hell of a long way to go, man, and I'm so aware of that. It's why I'm savouring this small victory in this limited window while I can. Normalcy will dawn again, with slightly higher new normals, and new goals to pursue... but it feels good tonight, and I'm enjoying the high.

But I'm also drunk. :) Bought a bottle of wine and got a little lushy. I've earned it.