Inner Voices

“They call me a hero, but I’ll never accept it.”

This opening line to my story--I’ve known it by heart forever. Couldn’t possibly change it, right? But I do want to revise here, somewhere.

You’ve been given advice a few times to rework this beginning. Why not try?

I’ll ruin it. My favorite character’s in this story, the one I compiled by combining traits from three past friends. No way will I mess with her voice. Anyway, my mother-in-law loves the story.

Wouldn’t she love it more if you tried techniques you’ve learned since you started writing it, how many years ago? Wouldn’t she be happier if you, like, sold it somewhere?

Um, yeah. I know it’s been rejected over the years.

Decades?

I’ve got to try reworking it.

That’s the spirit.

It’s just, the threads may unravel. Maybe I’ll wait on this one. I know, I’ll start another new story. So. Right. Here we go.

Hold it. Don’t turn on I-Tunes. You know you never get good new prose with music playing.

Right. Okay, I’ve got the setting clearly in mind for this story. Oh, wait. It’s supposed to take place in a motel on San Juan Island. Where are those notes I took when we stayed in that grimy place this summer? Huge disappointment at the time, but a great place to set this idea … . Well, oh, yeah. I forgot I need to research what it’s like to work in a two-bit motel. I must go back there … . Yes! A trip to Friday Harbor! Ugh. We haven’t paid off the last trip yet.

Any local motels you could research? Talk to someone.

No, no. I’ll google it. No sense leaving home just so I can write a story.

Sure. Attitude like that will make you famous by next week.

I’ve put in a good half-hour, at least, of writing time. Hey, I still have episodes of the “Scrubs” first season DVD to watch. So glad Tim bought it, since I wasn’t sure I liked the show when it began airing and now I love the characters and the humor is awesome and, yes, there’s promiscuity, but where don’t you find that and I guess it’s our culture and postmodern thinking and I wish they’d see the harm in premarital sex but what can I do, so, anyway, I’m on episode 15, I think.

Sigh.

All right. Maybe I’ll stick it out here a few more minutes. Those notes I printed just caught my eye, the ones from 2002 when my old story got reviewed on Zoetrope.com. Thoughtful suggestions. Yeah, maybe I could revise here and there, well, sure, every paragraph, practically, has something way amateurish. Make that I’m taking it line by line. Scrubs can wait.

Good.

“People keep making a big deal at Cottage Country Store, where I work.”

How about this as a first sentence?

Hmm. Keep working. Maybe your friends will let you know if it sounds intriguing or not. You’ll read it to the writers group next meeting, right?

Uh, sure. They heard it before, though, I mean, in one of its last incarnations. What if I try their patience?

Can’t be much worse than what you do to yourself, can it?

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