More from me today. I’m on a roll, mostly cos it’s 4am and I’m not asleep. It’s like the good/bad old days.
“A blank piece of paper is God showing you how bloody difficult his job is.”
I didn’t coin that particular phrase. I didn’t even coin the phrase ‘to coin a phrase’. In fact, the only phrase I think I ever coined is ‘ambiwinkstrous’, which is really word-mangling rather than phrase-coining. Moreover, while it is ridiculously, unfathomably funny to those who were present at the coining, it is, let’s face it, a bit crap to everyone else.
If you care, it means being able to wink with both your left and right eyes (not at the same time- that’s called blinking). Like ambidextrous, you know? Still not funny? Fair enough.
I had a point when I put pen to paper (I didn’t coin that either). I don’t remember, because of my writerly traits, the ability to go off on tangents and wild deviations from the point (in fact, I can go off on a tangent on a wild deviation with a brief pause for a non sequitur) is the most usual and well developed. Not good or welcome, but most usual.
I suppose the original point was about writing itself. But I don’t remember because a sub-par blended Frappucino distracted me. I’m just that woe-begotten… See, I can even go trundling down Tangent Lane when I’m talking about going off on a tangent.
No, hang on a sec. My original point was about writing. It was about me and writing, and how I’m not actually very good at it. I mean, I know my grammar and I’m a whizzo speller. I can construct sentences correctly. I don’t always do so correctly, but there’s usually a reason: one must sometimes break rules in order to create great work.
Except it’s not great work, is it? I don’t think I’ve ever moved a reader to tears with the clever use of the English language. I’ve probably never persuaded anyone of anything through great writing. I’ve never moved people, and if real writing is about anything at all, it is about that.
Nor, come to that, have I created fictional characters that grab people- every time I write I’m fairly sure I end up with the same feisty!sharp-tongued!kooky! girl that I always end up with. Or as my mother calls me, Clare.
The characters I’ve created with likely never inspire fanfic of any quality, even if they were published and read to begin with. Marie-Charlotte will be forgotten. Callie, Maria Russell, Rosalie, Jules Sheridan, Kasimira Randall, will all be forgotten even if they ever do get read. Their male counterparts will suffer the same fate- who will ever care about Henry Page, Rick Robertson, Will Scott, Denny Anderson, Jody and Dion Randall or even arrogant, terrible James?
It is my own fault: they inhabit my confounded mind, but I do not have the divine spark to put them on the page with the vividness and wonder they have in here. If I didn’t have the imagination, it would be OK. But I do… you might not believe the worlds that swirl in my mind. Beautiful, classical Empira and across the clear blue seas to dark, mountainous, windswept Lusiland. Pretty but sterile suburban Rushmead. Typical but interesting SoCal town Pacific Valley, just before it got swallowed up by urban sprawl. The separate but similar dystopian near-future Horror Londons of Maria Russell and Roisin Dubh; alternately grim and grey and over-colourful.
It’s not that I don’t know how to write or how to construct a story. I do. It’s just that I cannot do it well enough to break your heart and mend it again by the last page. I can’t give you a new Darcy or Tristan, Robin, Romeo. I can’t give you a Lizzy or an Isolde or a Juliet.
Perhaps that’s the problem: It’s all been done already. So often I read or hear something and I think “that’s exactly what I already thought!” Someone has always been there before me.
“I still maintain if you never break you’ll overtake the pain.”
“People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.”
“Unhappy girl, left all alone, playing solitaire, playing warden to your soul. You are locked in a prison of your own device.”
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
(Philip Lynott, V For Vendetta, The Doors, The Beatles respectively.)
How can I improve on something already greater than I could convey? Everything I might ever want to say has already been said and done better. In fact, even that has been said:
“Nothing you can do that can’t be done. Nothing you can sing than can’t be sung.”
(The Beatles again)
It seems utterly pointless to simply follow in footsteps greater than my own: Lynott. Lennon. Morrison. Harrison. Austen. Shakespeare. Dante. Virgil. V. Mark Lamarr. Ronnie Barker.
So I ask of you this question: What is the fucking point of having all this in my head? I don’t’ appear to have had a choice: these people seem to have imposed themselves on me, demanding of me a life, a history, a world. But I don’t have any phrases left to coin.
This wasn’t actually intended as a way to fish for compliments… but if you’ve got any, chuck ’em my way would you? I’m not my usual cheerful, love-the-world self today.