i appear to have lost the thread of my novel. i fear i am overthinking it, which is exactly why i wanted to challenge myself to write a novel in a month–the speed required to meet the deadline conditions a person not to give in to overthinking. but i’m me, so of course i found a way. please read previous posts i have written on my obsessive-compulsive personality tics (ie, disorders). (not saying that to be flippant. it’s a big problem.)
so! i am re-conceptualizing. i think i need to go back & sketch in some more biographical information on my protagonist & some of the key people in her life. the main character was veering a little too far into the land of neuroses & her two best friends were providing all the comic relief. i want all the characters to be more well-developed than that. i also realized that i started the story too deep inside the plot. i need to go back to the beginning & explain more thoroughly what my protagonist’s actual goals & conflicts are, because right now, she just seems overly emotional & kind of uptight. my new goal: a longer, better story that is actually plotted to a certain degree, around 80,000 words (i was aiming for 50,000, which is more a novella length), done on or by may 26. i am stating it baldly in the hopes that whoever reads this thing will help keep me honest. feel free to pester me, y’all!
oh, & also, if you are reading this & you write fiction (especially punk-y feminist-y lady fiction)–would you have any interest in forming some kind of online writing group? i think that would be really useful for me, & fun as well!
i got off course yesterday when jared came home from school a little earlier than usual & announced that he had to buy his plane ticket for our east coast summer RIGHT NOW! this was apparently because the people from his fellowship thing were making him hammer out his plans. & because the idea of both of us flying to the east coast on the same day, but not flying together, made me sad, i had to get my ticket too. i will be in philadelphia as of 2:30pm on may 27. challenges for the summer include: eat a KFC double down sandwich (the whole thing!), survive the summer with no A/C without chopping all my hair off, don’t start revisions on the novel until i get back to kansas, enjoy the temporary experience of being in a long-distance relationship, learn how to make mozzarella with amanda, try not to let the philly earnestness turn my soul any blacker than it already is, & pick up my custom reload courier bag, featuring this mega-sweet image:
the bag itself will be a frothy mix of neon pink, purple, & kelly green. i think it makes a statement.
anyway, after jared & i bought our plane tickets, we went out for a really early dinner. i ate a meatball sub, a plate of french fries, & a slice of chocolate cheesecake. i’m like the joey tribbiani of lawrence, kansas. we both fell into food comas & languished for the rest of the evening in front of the TV (ie, internet TV on my laptop), watching the first five episodes of season six of “lost”. i’d already seen them, so i just enjoyed the refresher course & spent the time coloring zine covers. by the time i finished a batch of 25, my hands were curled into gnarled claws that bore scarcely any resemblence to human hands anymore. i went to bed & dreamed that i was hanging out at john locke’s house & he was all pissy that the place was full of sweet doodads that might be nice for paralyzed people, like a full-body paraffin bath & a heated massaging floor lounger so you can lay down & watch TV without getting bedsores. (i don’t know if either of those things is real, but they’d both be kind of cool.) john locke was all, “i hate living with all this stuff! it reminds me of how i used to be paralyzed before craphole island mysteriously healed me! goddamnit!” & i was like, “dude, let me move in! this shit is AWESOME!”
this dream was undoubtedly a sub-conscious response to a) mainlining near-lethal amount of “lost” in the last few (read: ten) weeks, b) the fact that my back just keeps getting worse & worse–i can’t move it all now from my waist to my neck!, & c) being not so impressed by the way “lost” handles the subject of disability. SPOILERS (of the really minor variety) FOR THOSE OF WHO WHO HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO SEASON SIX YET! turn away until the end of this paragraph! okay, so john locke in the sideways reality (or flash-forward post-island-forgetting cataclysmic event or whatever it is) is apparently way into his independence. he wants to work as a construction site foreman, he flips out on hugo & insist that he doesn’t HAVE to park his van in handicap spaces, etc. that’s cool. but if that were true, would he really have a van with a lift? it’s not like wheelchair-bound people can only get in & out of cars using lifts. & also, would he really have that crappy bargain basement hospital wheelchair? clearly he has the funds to outfit a van with a lift (which is not cheap), so why not a better wheelchair that could help him be more maneuverable? but even those are really minor quibbles to the way his character is portrayed in general–there’s all that shit about him being “broken,” “scared,” “sad,” “angry,” etc. now, some of that might be the product of having had some pretty challenging emotional obstacles to deal with in life. it can’t have been a picnic growing up in foster homes, as evidenced by his powerful desire to connect with a family unit as an adult, or to feel special, needed, & “chosen” by someone. i would certainly be wicked angry if my dad stole my kidney & pushed me out a window. losing helen because of his own bad judgment calls would also be tough to handle. & possibly feeling responsible for the murder of a young, promising kid (the son of the lady his dad was going to marry)? okay, that’s tough.
but i think the viewer is supposed to believe that mostly what makes john so angry & sad & especially “broken” is the fact that he is in a wheelchair. that was the thing the island changed, & he responded as a victor, throwing all of his loyalty into the island & living out the warrior dream that has apparently eluded him while he was in a wheelchair. what the fuck is the subtext here? every disabled person would gladly give up everything in their sad, fractured little lives if only there was a way to not be disabled? (because john is not cured until he crashes on the island, & he dies soon after leaving the island.) that there is no way for disabled person to ever really fulfill their dreams? the show portrays confinement to a wheelchair as literally a fate worse than death. not cool, show.
in other news, i guess i am going to the portland zine symposium this year for sure. ericka booked our hotel room (king bed, y’all!) & i paid her my share, so i have made a financial commitment. the next question: can i finish a new zine in time to trade/sell it out there? & also, who else is going & do you want to hang?
one last thing i was thinking about today…it seems like the topic of queer invisibility experienced by queer/bi ladies in committed monogamous relationships with dudes is kind of enjoying a bit of a zeitgeist revival right now. as in, the last couple of days, according to my limited internet reading habits. i am not sure how i identify–i don’t want to say “formerly queer” because i don’t really think there’s any “formerly” about it, but i also have dated male-bodied dudes pretty much exclusively for the last (more than) ten years, & i don’t really see that changing any time soon. so i feel like i am masquerading & pretending to an oppressed identity that does not describe my currently lived reality if i say that i am “queer”. generally, i don’t describe myself in any way. i am open about being a lady who has a boyfriend, & i have a gazllionty million queer friends, & most of them know i have dated ladies in the past. they also know that i respect their own choices as far as identifying go, & that i am not one of those people who thinks that your sexuality is defined by the gender of the person(s) you are currently banging.
that said. all this “bi lady with a nice stable hetero romance willing to die on the hill of her own invisibilized sexuality” shit feels…really, really selfish. bi ladies in nice stable hetero romances can be kick-ass activists for queer issues. they can know in their hearts that they are into the ladies, & they can be open about that fact with whoever they choose to tell in their lives. but if they’re not getting the “queer nod” from a queer couple of the street who is reading them as straight because they’re holding the hand of a dude…i have a really hard time mustering up too much sympathy. it really feels more like the kind of thing that you should be writing about in your journal & then feeling vaguely embarrassed that you even care. in conversation, it may be useful to remind people not to make assumptions about other people’s sexualities, & acknowledge that a sexual identity doesn’t hinge on the gender of current sexual partners, but if these bi ladies with dude boyfriends are holding out for some kind of ticker tape parade from the larger queer community that is actually being actively prevented from marrying their partners, or visiting their partners in the hospital, or adopting children with their partners, or holding their hands on the street without getting heckled or perhaps physically attacked…it’s like, get some perspective, okay? your invisibility sucks for you, but you can change it by saying, “i’m queer.” it’s not really in the same category as a lot of other people’s problems…i am really trying not to minimize, but it’s almost impossible not to minimize this shit.
honestly, it kind of reminds me of, say, bridezillas that want the whole world to know they are getting married because they can’t let a second go by without someone acknowledging that they are worthy human beings because they got someone to agree to marry them. these bi ladies & their dude boyfriends are getting all the perks of a socially-sanctioned happy shiny relationship, but they still want the queer world to acknowledge–nay, celebrate!–their queer sexualities as well. maybe this is just a product of the fact that i hardly know anyone who ISN’T queer, whether they are in a queer relationship right now or not (or ever), but i’m like, yay, you’re queer, what’s for dinner? i mean, i went through that whole, “i have something to say! I’M A BIG HOMO!” phase too…when i was sixteen. & eventually i wised up to the fact that the people who were going to accept me didn’t give an eff, & the people who were going to be assholes didn’t deserve to be up in my personal business anyway.