By Molly Field
No matter, we will press ahead and see how this post turns out, right? Steady on your horses, friends, there's unknown territory ahead.
I am having an issue (God, that vacuum is reeeeeally loud, I think it's got a Lego loaf or my kid's Millennium Falcon in its rotors) with perspective and point of view in the book that I have decided to go back to writing. This decision is almost a 180˚ (I'd like to think of it more as a 168.5˚) turn from my previous stance of believing that all my written works must be authentic, real and not fiction. Well, if politicians can lie (the vacuum is right behind me now, the floor is humming and this is hard to write) so can I; I can lie too.
My former boss, and current friend, Liam Callanan, wrote a book, All Saints, from the point of view as a former teacher (I almost wrote 'former female nun,' now that would've cranked up some editors' eyebrows
now wouldn't it've? How many more times can I say 'now' in the same sentence? And 'it've'?? Who talks like that?!) at a beachfront Catholic school. It was a brilliant book and I absolutely loved it. And Liam's a man; always has been. He was never a former female or a nun, so I've got room here, to y'know, do what I want.
The problem is:
the first, oh, 75,000 words all of this book I'm going to get back to very soon (and I'm not saying 'real soon' as if I mean 'oh, y'know after I win the lottery and build my parents a ficus tree terrarium made of sapphires...' 'cause I've already said that) are all written in 3rd person narrative, interrupted at times with 1st person thoughts and observations from the protagonist. I swear I've seen this whole 1st person interruptus done before... where was it? ... Oh, yes, I don't recall never. So, maybe because I've not taken a writing class since college (that was last year, I'm 23 - FIRST LIE! hooyeah, this feels good!) it's not the best technique? But this is the 21st century, baby... it's all good. Recreational use of pot is legal in two states now.
I've got this.
What I do 'got' is 195 pages of perhaps the wrong perspective. I say 'wrong' because I'm finally OK with writing this book as a mostly fictionalized memoir (is 'fictionalized memoir' even a genre? Did I just create a new genre? Well... this is the age of do whatever you want) and if I really want to be authentic, I could just crank it out as a book from me about me by me for both of me. What to do... what to do...? I have plans...
I plan to get back to the book within a few days to get a jump on the new year. I'm waiting until 12/12/12 ends so that my efforts won't be a complete waste of time if the Mayans are right about that end of the world thing. Oh, you can joke all you want... but isn't just one teensy bit of you curious if they're right?
I think they're wrong: I have Egg Nog that is good until 12/12/12 (but look at the time stamp... that's hedging it awfully close, don't you think?) next to whole milk which just y'know, GOES for it and doesn't expire until the 17th. That whole milk has cojones; it knows who it is.
This is what the end of the
year world year thing does to me. I'm not big on the hype of New Year's resolutions, so I think I'm beating myself to the punch and causing as much angst about the whole thing before I even get started. I need to be like that whole milk: just go for it.
Readers: what do you think about in terms of reading a book from its point of view? Do you like to hear from "me" or from "him" or "she" or ... "thems"? (Jusssst checking to see if you're still with me.)
A couple friends have vocally stated they prefer 1st person and I see their point: they feel it's more relatable, more intimate and they get sucked in (like a vacuum). But then there's this part of me that says, 'No, write as a detached observer'; but then I'm nervous that the whole thing I've got going on with my character's thoughts and observations is like a giant vacuum in the room: distracting, loud, fantastical, awesome and hot...
I'm re-reading Life of Pi right now and I find the whole experience -- from the author's notes in the beginning to the entire structure of the book -- to be slightly off-putting in that it's so in-your-face fiction. All of it: I'm caught in that familiar, yet ancient place from "The Wizard of Oz" - where Dorothy wakes up and the child in me believes what she did: that she went on a yellow brick road with a talking lion and living tin man and scare crow to see a floating head,
aw c'mon... who am I kidding?; and the adult in me believes what the adults did: that she was smokin' crack. It was Judy Garland...
But when it first came out, I loved Life of Pi. So the problem is me. I need to stop being such a realist. I love fiction. I think my problem... is guilt. More of that next time. Maybe.