2005-01-13 - 11:13 a.m.

Ok. I got the ending to my next story. Or it might be a beginning. I have a vague idea for characters but no idea for a plot. I'm thinking of making it into a novel. I've never written a novel before, so it's kind of scary, but I figure if I haven't got a plot, then I should just let these buggers loose and see what happens and if I give them 200 or 300 pages to do whatever it is they do, then maybe they'll tell me what the plot is, right?

Also, there is something really special about the novel. Novels get me out of bed in the morning and keep me up at night. As wonderful as the short story is, I almost never lose sleep over a short story.

So, why haven't I ever written a novel before? Fear of commitment. What if I don't like my idea in a month after I've written ten chapters or something? What if I run into a better idea: one who wears nicer clothes, has better hair and a prettier face, laughs more easily at my jokes, likes Invader Zim and Star Blazers and doesn't ask me a lot of questions about my feelings and junk?

Yeah, so committing to a novel is sort of like committing to a woman, I guess.

The last girl I dated... Man, I'm listening to "Passenger Seat" right now. Total coincidence... I didn't mean for it to come up as I was writing this.

You see, I would lie in bed at night asking God if Louise was "The One" and I kept thinking about someone else. Someone who I thought was simply out of the picture. Well, what if she wasn't? What if that person came up to me and said "If it weren't for Louise, well..."

So, I knew things were doomed between Louise and me. But I let it linger like a trip to a bar on a Wednesday night. Just one more drink and then I'm off because I've got to go to work tomorrow, Just one last one. One for the road. One for the hommies. One because you never see these guys. One for the friend who showed up late and you can't leave him hanging. One for living in the land of the free. One for the home of the brave. One for that guy over there who you spilled beer on earlier. One for all the times you made it to work hung over...

Anyway, sometimes you just have to make a decision and end things. And sometimes you think you made a mistake and you call that end back and you say "I'm back" and all you get is "too late" and you think the world is coming to an end and that you messed everything up and you might as well move in with your parents so there will be somebody to have lunch with on Sunday afternoons because otherwise, kiddo, you'll be getting the spicy chicken sandwich combo over at Wendy's and eating by yourself hoping the homeless guy using the men's room doesn't puke in front of you.

But what if... what if there was hope?

What if that other one, the one who made you question everything... what if that one said something that made you believe things weren't as bad as they seemed? What if you had an awkward conversation that ended with you saying you weren't going to read too much into this and you weren't going to assume anything would come of it but after you put down the phone you had that shit eating grin plastered on your face in a way that wouldn't go away and no mattered how much you tried to talk yourself down and say "don't get your hopes up" because your hopes were already up?

What if? What if those movie endings could come true? Why shouldn't it happen once in a while?

In Magnolia Philip Seymour Hoffman's character is talking on the phone to a telemarketer and he is trying to get the guy to do something wonderful but risky and he says to this operator (paraphrased from memory):

In the movies this would be where you help me out. I think they make those movies for a reason, because sometimes things happen that way. This is where you help me out.

Well, why not?

I'm gambling on the movie script ending and it could break my heart and I don't care.

And I'm going to write that novel, too. I don't care if some better idea comes along. I'm going to gamble on this as well.

Reading The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
Wishing that this will be my movie script ending
Plotting to step out in faith

10 comments so far