The beginning is an interesting idea. In life we experience all kind of beginnings from the start of a new TV show to the start of new relationships and beyond. These beginnings can be momentous occasions (think weddings or births) or more often they simple occur, we acknowledge them and then move on. In today’s fast food society our beginnings are even more glossed over so that we can get on with things. Beginnings are not always good….think the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation or if you’re really honest with yourself Star Wars Episode IV (the scene between Leia and Solo after they escape the Death Star is nothing short of horrible.). Beginnings are even worse when you try to force them (think Star Wars Episode I or the first Hulk movie).
So, ‘why are you writing this’, you ask? Well I’ll tell you why.
I’ve started writing so many times in my life that I’ve begun to just think each attempt will lead to the dead end it usually does. I feel this so deeply that this last time I almost didn’t even bother to start. In the past I’ve had entire rooms dedicate to my love of all things creative and still I haven’t really ever finished anything. This time around I had to really examine what it was that I was doing. Why have I started and stopped so often? Why this sense of need when it comes to writing? This all made me think of beginnings. I’m a professional Beginner!!
My beginning in the ‘world’ of writing came so long ago I can hardly remember it. Through the foggy shrouds of my mind I can see myself imagining my room as the Millennium Falcon and I, some distant relative of Han Solo (usually Flynn Solo in my homage to Tron and Star Wars in one great sweep of the imaginary arm) would be out running the galaxy like some sort of ultra-cool Freighter Jock. My desk the command console, my bed the engine compartment I was always climbing in and fixing (it’s a wonder I didn’t become a mechanic with all of the ‘fixing’ I did on that ship)
I was nine at the time or thereabouts.
Then I got older and it wasn’t so cool to actually be jumping off my bed and running through the house fighting Darth Vader or Cylons at every turn (I was an equal opportunity bad guy kicker…if it was a bad guy and it was in a comic book or cool movie I would fight it). Even though it was no longer cool and I couldn’t talk to a girl about it without her looking at me like I had mutant zit on my forehead, the stories and the ideas and the desire never left me. I had all of these ideas and characters in my head and slowly they evolved into semi-original characters and they talked to me and I’d stay up late into the night ‘developing’. I still needed that outlet, writing was to a certain point, me ‘self-medicating’. So at some point in middle school I started to try and write in order to get the stories out of my head. Those were REALLY bad.
Fast forward to my junior year in high school (or maybe it was my senior year...they all run together now-a-days) and my English class with Mr. Jones (I’m pretty sure that was his name but don’t quote me on that.) and his journal project he made us do. He gave us topics but he also gave us some ‘just write’ options too. Most of the time I totally ignored the writing prompts and spent most of the year writing about Flynn or some crew I made up for some starship in the Star Trek universe (yep I ‘was’ a nerd/geek to the core.) To his credit he never commented and let me write. I remember more than a few classes that I just wrote for the entire hour and didn’t hear a single thing he said in class. I think this was the ‘beginning’ for me. I wish I had had the drive and tenacity to follow my heart then but alas drive and tenacity are two traits that cannot be applied to me….ever!
So here I am age 39 and still just beginning. I’ve started and stopped so often I probably need a refill on brake fluid. I’m much better at stopping than going. It’s much easier to stop when the going gets tough or the requirements of the pursuit of a goal are just too hard. The ideas are still there...All. The. Time. And sometimes they don’t leave me alone. I’m hoping I might be able to overcome it on this fiftieth or so go around.
In 2009 I got close. I finished a project. We’ll call it Project X-1. Its 198 pages and a completed story from beginning to end, there’s even a middle. I got the inspiration to write a complete story from reading the book ‘No Plot? No Problem!’ by Chris Baty. Mr. Baty founded the National Novel Writing Month thingy. This little gem of an idea has thousands of authors setting aside November each year to write a 50,000 word novel. I read the book in June and spent most of July doing just that. I finished the story and promptly ran out of ideas. I let the manuscript languish in obscurity on two laptops and several memory sticks. We moved, I lost my ‘office’ and hardly wrote anything for two and half years. I had a few ideas; I tried to put them down on computer and failed. Let’s just say I have A LOT of one and two page story starts on my laptops and iPad.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about things that are lost to me. I wanted to be an Architect and that’s pretty much a lost dream. I’m too old to be a firefighter or a cop or heck even a soldier. (not that I wanted to be any of those but the idea that I’m too old to do them made my heart sad) So a few weeks ago I realized I needed to put together a small office. A place of refuge I could ‘work’ in, I’m really not wanting the idea that I could be an author to be one of those ‘I wish I did that’ moments. I don’t even need to be a successful author, I’d just like to put out a novel, have a few people buy it and maybe even one of them say ‘That wasn’t bad.’ (I embrace the idea of Aggressive Mediocrity) I cobbled some things together and viola I have myself an office….and you know what I’m writing again….and the stuff isn’t bad. It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination but its making me happy and content with the effort. I printed out Project X-1 and had it spiral bound at Staples with the idea of beginning to try and edit it. I’ve even been slightly sorta successful at doing that.
And that is how the idea of Beginnings came to mind. I think it’s time to move past the beginning and get firmly entrenched in the middle. Let myself write the tidal wave of the middle for a while because you know what……..the ending is coming on way more quickly than I’d like it to.