I have this idea for a novel. Five main characters sketched out, though I may kill off one or two, or save them for another play. Plenty of minor characters. A plan for how to get everyone out of their houses and talking to each other. I know roughly what the end looks like, and some of the ways everyone will arrive there.

Here’s the problem: I LOVE short form. Bullet points. Haiku. Flash. I love tightening up my prose almost as much as writing it in the first place. “Put every word on trial for its life,” as Francine Prose says in Reading Like a Writer. (I did it again! I just changed “would say” to “says.”) I edit along the way, always have. I will inevitably crack up one of these days; it’s a family tradition. But attempting a novel might bring on the crazy prematurely.

How can I just write– just get the story out, and worry about editing later? Is there a computer command that would disallow backspacing?

I thought of switching to paper and pen. Hmm… Still mulling. NaNoWriMo? I don’t want to wait until November. Hire someone to punish me if I don’t produce a satisfactory word count? I’m too old to spank. Wouldn’t take it seriously.

Maybe the bigger question is: what am I afraid of? Fear is nearly always to blame for procrastination. Am I worried my comic relief character won’t be funny? That the romance will fall flat? The fight will seem staged, the end contrived?

Is it fear of rejection… or acceptance? Ooh, that’s deep.

At the end of the day (cliché) I need to just do it. I’d rather be 40 with a crap novel under my belt than 40 without it. John Dufresne wrote a book, Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months. I’m going to check it out.


Poetic Justice

I read it again yesterday- you can’t earn a living writing poetry.
I beg to differ. Exhibit A:

“A girl who is warm and humane during the day
A classy girl who know how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist

I’m a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy

You know what I’m saying
Oppan Gangnam style

A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes…
A sensable girl like that

A guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles
That kind of guy

On top of the running man is the flying man, baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two

Oppan Gangnam style”


That’s poetic genius right there– AND market gold.

Exhibit B:

“He looks at you, you are healthy
With qualities of a pheasant, of a pheasant!
But love, sometimes what a hindrance?
Problems such as this are manifold
Sometimes love is as sweet as kalbi (Beef Delicacy)
Sometimes the taste is likened
to milk of a cow who has done nothing wrong
Sometimes love is as hard
As a certain kind of stone for building houses
Sometimes it is otherwise

Oh dance baby, oh dance baby
Oh, happy dance, yeah!
Oh dance baby, oh dance baby
Oh, happy dance, yeah!”

-Bret’s karaoke performance, FOTC

I am
As a florist who finds a stem
and knows just where to place it in a vase
Such as one who resists the urge
to put fingers in the eye after cutting chiles
Like when a tourist kneels near traffic
to retrieve a camera dropped by the curb

from zero to author in 40 years flat