I suppose it all comes down to this: I didn’t expect that there would be so many things I wanted to do. Or I did… but I just thought I’d magically have the time and energy and perseverance to do them all, AND raise (at least 2) children. I did not foresee the way things have turned out, even as I orchestrated them, sometimes willingly, sometimes less so, through my own actions and choices and lack of (well-thought-out) plans.
I like to say I’m an Ideas Manda (get it?); and that, to some extent, is true. Certainly I generate a greater number of grandiose ideas than realistic plans to get them to fruition… but the older I get, the more I suspect that I don’t have the *ability* to get them to fruition. I typically think faster than I can reason; my thought processes are a combination of talking to myself, contradicting myself, and wild brainstorming, more often than a calm, reflexive reasoning things through.
And sometimes, that works so well. If I’m writing a short story (or another failed attempt at a novel…) for the first few pages or chapters, it is the sheer energy (as opposed to the quality) of my thoughts that carries the writing. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not a terrible writer, particularly when I’m really trying–but I’m lazy. My words spill out everywhere, on the page if I’m typing, into the air if I’m talking, and out of the free-flowing jumble of grammar and syntax and subject and predicate, eventually, one or two excellent sentences emerge. Those sentences, and the passion behind them, is usually enough to hook you in.
When I’m on, I’m SO on. And when I’m beginning something, I am invariably ON.
But–in the absence of the necessary proper previous planning, usually sooner and sometimes later–whatever I’m trying to say just disintegrates in front of me. I watched a movie the other day (“Being Flynn”–you should watch it, it’s good) where the narrator/main character describes his father’s book as a masterpiece for the first 30 pages, after which, “like his life, it falls apart…” (rough quote).
Even as I heard it, and felt it resonate with me, I didn’t have to wonder why. I’m self-aware enough to recognize myself in SUCH stark description, at least.
There is one saving grace, though. One thing makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I have a chance of finishing something decent.
I have never written 3 pages of a masterpiece, let alone 30. There’s some good material, some cute phrasing, and with a little spit and polish, maybe an alright book, somewhere in my ideas. At any rate, as my scribbles aren’t starting out at the lofty heights of literary greatness, at least when they drop, it’s not a fatal fall.
Maybe if I can spread my ideas out, instead of jamming them into the first few pages of a work–or confine myself to short stories, of which, a few of mine are okay from start to finish–maybe, just maybe, I’ll write something good. Acceptable. Readable. Not a total waste of someone else’s time. Etc.
After all, I would rather write something that’s not bad throughout, than something that’s brilliant at the start, and then flickers out abruptly on page 30.
There’s a metaphor in that last sentence, somewhere.