To Reach The Green Light At The End Of The Pier
FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES: "We are saving ourselves through the words," says Eleanor, the leading lady of a novel-in-progress. This exploration into the creative process -- which includes plenty of distractions/tangents /thoughts & rants by Eleanor, her Biographer, and selected guest artists -- will continue until Eleanor is certain her story is "right." (But we dare not jump ahead of ourselves.)
There will be the occasional typo (as Eleanor points out), and much of this is intended to be "original draft" -- what comes out of our mouths (heads) first, and then set down in that order. Not all of it will be included in the novel, but all of it is happening in real time.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Eleanor Wants A New Ending, She Says
Excerpt. Discussion between Eleanor and her Biographer, about the process, leading to the end of her story.
Eleanor: I turned to the last page of my story. I know what your plans are. I've read the last line.
Biographer: Then you know.
-- It's not that I don't like the ending, but I want a new one is all I'm saying.
-- I expected you to say something like this. Why do you think I left the pages out, in plain sight?
-- I'm inside your head, stupid. I could have jumped ahead anytime. I just -- well, I guess I held back, because I was hoping for more.
-- You surprise me, Eleanor. By not jumping ahead. You know I write the endings before I finish the middle parts.
-- You underestimate me. I have terrific self-restraint. You could learn from me, you know.
-- I never underestimate you. You still surprise me, Eleanor. You have that power, which is why I wanted to write your story in the first place. Why I had to write your story. To get it right. And I'm still not done. The middle parts, remember. I need to finish those.
-- It's kind of funny, because I imagine you having all of the power. Even though I want the power. But you're human and I want to be human, and it's up to you to make me real, like my story. Getting it right.
-- What does a person say to a voice inside his head? Come on, Eleanor. You talk so much, sometimes I listen to your voice and I drift off, and I'm hoping that what you tell me will stick around in my subconscious.
-- I am everywhere, yes! And it's true, sometimes I whisper. And sometimes I talk in a low voice so you won't hear me. Sometimes I cover my mouth so you won't be able to make out what I'm saying. You can sue me if you want, I don't mind. You wouldn't win, but we'd have fun in court. I love the judicial system.
-- You like to play, Eleanor, this we both know. I almost think you're playing with me now, this nonsense you're talking.
-- I like fun and games, of course I do. But it's not nonsense. I am completely serious. And the judicial system does kind of suck, don't you think? But as long as I win, I'm okay with that.
-- So what's wrong with the ending? You say, it's not that you don't like it the current ending, but ... but -- what?
-- I want explosions.
-- I want car chases.
-- How do you suppose I write this kind of dramatic ending? It wouldn't make sense. We already have a dramatic ending that's going to knock people off their feet. Or out of their chairs. Or make them gasp on the subway, reading you. All those people riding the subway and zoning out to their books, and then, suddenly -- crash, boom, whatever.
-- That's just it, don't you see? Don't you understand? The ending, it makes sense. You say it doesn't, but it does. It makes too much sense, in a weird way at least. I want to have people read my story and go, Wow. I never expected so many explosions and car chases. What's up with that?
-- Anything else?
-- I want a musical score. I want you to write me with a beat.
-- You do like Kerouac.
-- I'm one of the mad ones, you know.
-- Okay, anything I've missed here?
-- (pause) I think I want more doughnuts. Definitely more doughnuts.
-- Just so I'm hearing you correctly, you want explosions, car chases and doughnuts?
-- People wouldn't expect that kind of combination. You could probably even keep what you have and just add the explosions and car chases. The doughnuts are the easy part.
-- So it's all said and done, and then we sit down and eat doughnuts?
-- And listen to the music. The music has to be just right. You need to get my story right, just like I've told you all along, but the music needs to be exactly right too. I want people to pick out their favorite songs and download them and put them on their Walkmans.
-- I'm not sure how many people out there still use Walkmans, Eleanor.
-- Well, they should. I guess I am half-Luddite or something. I like Walkmans.
-- Well, I'm not sure people will be able to download songs to Walkmans.
-- With all of the technology out there, why not? Even a half-Luddite knows this much. Anything is possible. And if they can't, it just proves my point that Walkmans are coming back. People need their cassettes. People forget they have all of their cassettes and then they have nothing to listen to them with. It's like having a door that used to lead somewhere and now it doesn't because people want new toys. People forget there's still a door there, but if they step outside, they fall. That's kind of crazy. It's not being prepared, is all.
-- How about this, Eleanor. How about you write your own ending, and I'll be your editor.
-- I'm not the writer. I'm the character. Your character. I can't write my own ending. That would be silly. It would be like, why have I kept you around all these years as my Biographer?
-- I think you just have, Eleanor. But I'm not sure about the car chases. Explosions we can probably do, and, really, you've made me hungry for a doughnut.
-- I hope it's strawberry frosted. Explosions, and then strawberry frosteds for everybody. (Eleanor smiles.)
ELEANOR says: "Please turn the page. Keep reading."
For more of Eleanor and her Biographer -- as well as the work of our many guest artists -- check out the older postings. "Everything is part of the process, and the process is the journey," Eleanor says.