write what you know: die yuppie scum

they say to write what you know. and there's a reason why they say that.

this is all about my current writing career, or lack-there-of. i had been working on a book called giants for the better part of two years. but somewhere along the way, i began to struggle with it, never really getting a good grasp of the material since probably around june or july of last year. it was supposed to be my big political opus, but it didn't turn out that way.

so i gave up on it. well, i started revisiting it due to a series of circumstances that are a little too boring to really get into here, but long-story-short, two days ago i started revisiting the material, to see if i can't breathe some life into it. then the unthinkable happened: i lost it. by lost, i mean, saved over, and by it, i mean the novel. all of it. i'm still not quite sure how it happened, but i saved over the file, thus losing all that is giants. i mean, i have a few bits and pieces here and there, but for the most part, it is gone. kaput. done.

so what does this mean? well, if this were last year, i'd have tossed my computer across the room and then lit it on fire. but it's not last year, it's this year, and while i've lost writing in the past, i've never lost a whole novel, and in this case, i laughed about it. it was so stupid, really. i mean, struggling with that novel for so long, to build myself up to start writing again, only to lose it in what amounts to a brain fart on my part, is just laughable.

but i think i may have done it on purpose. at least subconsciously. that book really wasn't very close to what i know and who i was, and that's where the whole write what you know comes in. losing giants gave me a clean slate, as well a feeling that a burden has been lifted off my shoulders: giants was my albatross. it had come to represent everything that was so wrong with last year. i'm glad that it's gone.

so write what you know. repeat that mantra. because it's the truth. to this date, desert sessions is still my favorite of all the novels i've attempted, and that's because a good chunk of what i wrote was so personal and it was what i knew. yes, there was exaggeration, yes there was some made up parts, but it happened to me, or it happened to someone i knew. simple as that. all in all, it was probably equal part truth, and equal parts fiction.

so i start over again. and i focus a little more. and i'm writing what i know, which is basically yuppies, politics, and road trips. the goal this time is to go more personal, to mine what is essentially my life and the lives of those around me, which could be a bad thing for my friends, but hey, most of them can't stand to read my shit, so what they don't know won't kill them, right?

specifically, i've started to focus on two or three close friends (and not-so-friends) of mine, because their personalities are so larger than life at times. to give you an example, i'm talking about a border-line racist ice queen who rarely thinks before she speaks, and a misogynistic, not-quite-as-smooth-as-he-thinks-he-is yuppie-scum player who says things like, "she was walking like john wayne after i was done with her..." i guarantee that one of my friends will eventually come up to me and demand, "is this suppose to be me?" it happens with every book.

now i haven't written a word yet and already the plot outline and character sketches ring true. it'll be interest to see where this all goes. i'm not expecting anything; just writing, because that's all someone like me can do. to not write is not an option.