Saturday, December 18, 2004

Some days, I wish I was a writer.

I wish I could be Annie Dillard for 2 hours, or Madeleine L'Engle for a week or so, or even David Sedaris perhaps...for about ten minutes. I realize that some of these wishes would require a sex change, but in my wishful thinking, I don't really include this as being part of the transformative package. I wouldn't necessarily need to "BE" them, I just want to know what it's like to think from their brain and deal with and play with words the way they seem to do so effortlessly.

I often find myself reading a book and think to myself, "I could write that!" However, the problem comes when I go to create a sentence or a story or a big big idea, and find myself using and re-using the same old words and phrases. It's kind of like even though my vocabulary may consist of let's say...3,000 words, I really only use about 200 of those when I write. I suppose it just takes time and I guess I need to remind myself that "Catcher in the Rye" and books like it were not written over night, and so, my writing done in sporadic, irrational and within less-than-an-hour time constraints shouldn't be great or spectacular pieces either.

Moving on to other topics, the other day I pulled my "paying with a credit card, yet refuse to sign the receipt" prank and saw my most animated response/reaction to date. The girl happily ran my credit card through, as my sister and I waited for the other girls to make our fruity blended smoothie. And then, when the receipt printed up, and she looked at me while handing me a pen saying, "Go ahead and sign here," I quickly took a few steps backward and held my hands up as if a policeman were raiding me for weapons or drugs or something hiding in my pockets. I proceeded to tell her that I "don't sign things" and how I wouldn't be able to sign this slip b/c I don't trust people having my signature, the probably-a-senior-in-high-school girl gave me a look I will never forget. She didn't speak...she only stared at me with disbelief. I liked to imagine she was thinking, "are you kidding me? come on jerk, sign the stupid slip" or "how am I going to explain this to my boss...the customer wouldn't sign his fricken' credit card slip!", but maybe that's just me being optimistic. After a few very awkward moments, as she held out the paper, pen and still pasted the "what's next, then?" look on her face which was directed straight at me, I told her I was kidding and she breathed out again for the first time in minutes. She smiled. I laughed. And as she said, "nobody's ever said 'no' before, so i didn't know what to do!" I felt a small, yet ironically huge rush of satisfaction build up inside of me. That I had been the first to say 'no,' and that now if anyone else would do this in the future, their efforts would be second-rate and pathetic at best. Anything that makes me feel like I'm different or better or more 'out there' than others, I embrace all-too quickly. I guess that's one of the ways I try so hard to be different and yet, really am no different then the next schmuck to pull a fast one on a restaurant cashier. Okay, I'm pathetic, I know it...but at least I'm telling you what I really think.


Chalupa said...

Neville that's an awesome story. I wish I could say that. Oh, I went and rented Maria Full of Grace tonight and they also had buy 3 previously viewed movies for $20 so I got SuperSize Me, In America and Dirty Pretty Things.

Chalupa said...

I responded to your Maria full of grace post. Let me know what ya think.

Lij said...

That's hilarious about not signing! Very funny. Oh, and I understand the desire to be a writer. How often do I find myself in front of my computer thinking, "Come on! Just write something GOOD!"