Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Cloudy and mild
I keep feeling like there’s something important about today; but I can’t remember what it is.
I was too tired after limping out to get the newspaper and go to the post office to do much about moving stuff from the South Wall. I never realized how hard it is to limp when you need to favor both feet!
However, I was able to kneel down and give the tub a good scrub! It needed it.
I worked on the proposal. Very frustrating. I typed up several parts of the outline and am unhappy with it. It’s supposed to be clever and light-hearted; right now it reads like sitcom cliché crap. Very disappointing, because I thought this project had lots of potential.
I’m going to try to play with a few thousand words and see if there’s anything to be salvaged, or if the project needs to be scrapped. It was a pretty sure sale, so I’d hate to lose it, but crap is crap, and right now, this is crap.
This is why I usually write a few drafts first and then do the outline. My Writer’s Outline makes no sense to anyone but me – and I certainly can’t use it as the proposal. Until I have the actual material, I can’t craft a good outline, because there are too many holes.
My hope is that I write a few chapters and get the rhythm of it, and then go ahead and craft an outline that truly captures its uniqueness -- something I can actually send to the waiting editors. Fortunately, my deadline’s elastic – as long as it doesn’t snap back and hit me in the face, I should be okay. But it won’t write itself, and I can’t just sit around and expect it to do so. I have to actually get a few thousand words on paper to see if it’s viable. My freelancer friends will cringe at this (so many never put paper to pen without contract and advance), but I’m trying something new here, and it needs to be right. Maybe I can align and hone my process once I have a better, clearer idea of what I’m doing.
Or maybe I’ll have to scrap the project and regretfully decline.
On the other hand, Celestial Summer flows well. Slowly, but well. 17 pages. It’s turning into very much its own beast, not merely a fictional memoir. Remember the writers who talk about being a bit of every character? This piece does that. There’s a lot of personal history in each of the characters without this being autobiographical. Sounds like a paradox, but that’s the way it is.
The opening chapter (chapters?) in Greenwich Village may need to be trimmed in the future, but for now, I have to let the narrator talk it all out. And, reading over it, there are places where I feel it needs to be expanded in order to work properly. It needs to be on paper where I can see it and have actual physical chunks to move around.
And I need to go down to the Village and walk the streets a bit again. Even though a lot has changed since 1979, the structure of those little streets is still there. I’m not sure if I want to set Celeste’s building on Minetta Street (not Minetta Lane, where I worked in a theatre), Minetta Lane near the theatre, Barrow Street or Cherry Lane. Or maybe, Cornelia Street, but that takes it to the other side of Sixth Avenue and changes things a bit. I love the West Village – for years, I fantasized about being a writer living there. Now, many of the writers have had to move out because it’s too expensive. Fortunately, some of the ones who lived there in the 60s and 70s managed to buy their apartments and can stay.
There’s no place like Greenwich Village in the world. The students can change with every class at NYU, but the vibe of creativity continues. It’s like an Art Vortex or a Creativity Vortex – the concentration of creative energy and inspiration is high. That’s why it’s entranced and enticed artists for well over a hundred years.
I want to get some dribs and drabs done on a few other projects and excavate my desk, but, for now, I’ll write myself out on Celestial Summer.
Off to the theatre.