Saturday, March 25, 2006

oh unlikable ones

Congratulations to David and Maria, the winners of our first ever contest here at awfully serious girl. Yes, it is indeed Jonathan Richman from whom I took my shifting subtitle. You may know him from There's Something About Mary but I know him from my former boyfriend, who introduced me to his music, former lead of The Modern Lovers.

We went to see him and my car was broken into. The cop left a misspelled note: sorrry about your car. I got the guy.

Jonathan Richman who, once he became a father, decided only to make songs suitable for everyone. I would rather go down the Galway Kinnell route than the Sharon Olds route. I would rather go down my own route with craggily rocks, trip if I'm going to trip.

Serious girl: Here, this book is for you.
Hypothetical child: Why does it have nightmare and body in the title?

I'm in Ohio. Outside is gray and I haven't ventured. Mostly, I've been holed up in my brother's old room with my computer and a borrowed lamp.

I'm afraid of a town. I saw a picture and lost the power of speaking.

I'm deep inside novel-working, mining again in the not-quite dark. For the first time in months, it feels like I'm doing more than pushing sentences around, as my friend Susan says. I've sliced about thirty pages, and gone back. I went back the last few days and thought more about some of the minor characters, wrote about them in descriptive, stream-of-consciousness blocks like I used to make my playwriting students do.

And now I know them, and now that I know them, I like them, even the ones that aren't likable. I understand now why you are unlikable, oh unlikable ones. I understand you so much I am tempted to change the point of view to third to get some of these observations across.

Hypothetical child: Don't.

But I won't. I'll keep some of their secrets to myself.

I worked last night until my fingers went numb. It's all right. It's been happening. It feels good, what I'm doing. It's been more than two years since I started this project, and for the first time in a long time, last night, I felt like I might have a book.

Happy birthday, novel of mine. Maybe someday I'll let you down off the mountain. I got too heavy to fly.

I have a pink Post-it above my computer that says: remember, you are trying to be GOOD.

Hypothetical child: If you have to write it on a Post-it note to remind yourself, you still have some work to do.

Day thirteen of not drinking.