On What Might’ve Come

“Unfortunately, the novel sputtered, coughed, and died. It happened in Matheran, not far from Bombay, a small hill station with some monkeys but no tea estates. It’s a misery peculair to would-be writers. Your theme is good, as are your sentences. Your characters are so ruddy with life they practically need birth certificates. The plot you’ve mapped out for them is grand, simple, and gripping. You’ve done your research, gathering the facts — historical, social, climatic, culinary — that will give your story its feel of authenticity. The dialogue zips along, crackling with tension. The descriptions burst with colour, contrast, and telling detail. Really, your story can only be great. But it all adds up to nothing. In spite of the obvious, shining promise of it, there comes a moment when you realise the whisper that has been pestering you all along from the back of your mind is speaking the flat, awful truth: it won’t work.”

-Yann Martel, The Life of Pi

The main of it was I wasn’t interested anymore, the subject matter didn’t excite me. The more I wrote the more I hated it, and myself for working on it. It just wasn’t very original! It was an amalgamation of “J.” and “The Kid” maybe, but without the superheroes. You probably wouldn’t have liked it. It had a certain sort of edge, I suppose, but most terrible fiction these days does. So it died on the vine. It’s not a huge loss.

You might misinterpret this. This doesn’t mean that I’m running out of ideas. Quite the contrary! I’ve got more now than at any other point in time. I think I can say that with confidence, though putting that sort of thing into words is always a dangerous enterprise.

I was just tired of it, you know? Though I’m also sort of wondering if this blog is as useful for writing as I thought it was, especially long things. If I didn’t admit to a certain amount of hesitation I’d be lying to you. I could quote now from something I read of Tennessee Williams worrying about what to write next after achieving his fame, but I don’t want to pretend that this situation is equivalent to that, right now.

I will tell you that I have another idea. I don’t know if I’m going to post it here when it’s done. It’ll be about a group of people removed from society. These people will be dealing with regular events that they believe are exceptional purely by virtue of the fact that they are constantly told that they are so. It’s vague right now, but obviously that won’t be all of it. You might think it’s a joke, but I find the idea interesting.

2 Comments

  1. I was going to tell you to post it anyway, but then I realized that if you don’t think it’s good, then that should be enough. It isn’t good. Not everything turns out good.

    As for your new idea, it sounds promising. I can already see some young and impressionable people, striving for some kind of enlightenment, but annoying because they try all too hard and talk too much. Maybe it won’t be like that at all.

  2. Andre, I reread this post as if it was directed at me and I don’t know what to think. Mainly I think that you are lying or trying to flatter/insult me? Because you address your audience as “you” but I read it as “me”, but somehow it just doesn’t work. Or was this just directed at everybody!? Way to make me feel special, then not so special, and now more puzzled than anything.

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