Thursday, November 18, 2010

Short Stories and Odd Jobs

Maybe you didn't know this, but Borders isn't even hiring.  Unless you live in Palo Alto or Lyndhurst NJ.  There isn't even seasonal work.  This is an all time low.  I'm about ready to start art modeling, and I really would rather not.  It's gotten to the point where we may have to relocate if I can't find a position or some random way to make money.  So far prostitution and assasination are off the list.  So is wiping adult butts.  Possibly cleaning fryers.  And watching severely disturbed children.

I know other people are in similar situations.  It's a countrywide epidemic of joblessness.  Christmas is going to be rough this year.  So, I sigh.  Maybe I can get some of these short stories written and published.  Maybe I can win a couple writing contests.  I am... different.  That should help, right?  I can win something based on my bizarre view of the world.  That's what people want to read, right? Something strange and kooky and plain odd? At least, that's what it seems like when I read anything these days.  The world has gone to the nerds. This should work out for me.  I have those kinds of dorktastic inclinations when it comes to subject matter.  Unfortunately, it's not just about ideas.  It's about follow through.

I'm finding writing short stories is a little more difficult than writing a novel.  Is that weird? It's weird, right? Maybe it has to do with the fact that at the heart, a novel is just creative masturbation, and that is all it really is.  It's easy.  Maybe I just don't think in short story arcs, it's too short a span to get my thoughts out that I expect are needed. No.  I think in two modes.  Flash fiction - 1000 words or less, and novel - 120,000 or more.  Possibly series of novels which could extend to 500,000 words or more.  Something must be seriously wrong with me. 

One of my friends recently called me to order with a helpful reminder.  Most people are successful at things because they do them.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, of course, they did them.  How else could they become successful?!  Don't misunderstand me.  Let me reiterate - most people are successful at things because they do them.  When I say do, I mean all the time.  How else could you make it big at anything? You simply wake up every day and do whatever it is you do over and over again.  And again.  Oh, and again.  By the way, it just keeps on going.

How does that work in practice? Painfully, at first.  In the beginning (I'm feeling Biblical) it is just scratching the surface.  Trying to make something from nothing.  Once the surface is broached, and the thoughts flow, it is a matter of committing them to paper, or disk space on your hard drive.  From there, the careful dissection of phrasing and rearrangement of thoughts begins.  At some point, perhaps several, others may review the thing and make some kind of judgment of its worth.  Finishing touches are made, and TADA! Something resembling a story is born!  Then the most basic and important of questions is raised - will anyone like it?  Will anyone worth impressing like it? You can't know until you try.  I just need to keep getting up and doing it over and over again.  I have a feeling.  It's a good one, despite the fact that becoming a bounty hunter was a serious thought for gainful employment.


  1. Alexis, this is the first time I've read any of your writings. I have to say, it was interesting. I hope writing pans out for you.
    It's such a ridiculously simple idea to do what you do, all the time, and yet this reminded me that I need to do just that. So, thank you and your friend. :)

  2. You are totally welcome! I think it's so important for everyone to help encourage each other in these things because sometimes, the world is a bit too much like a Dickens novel. And I really hate gruel.

    It's good to know people are out there cheering for you, and to cheer for others, whatever their dreams are.

  3. Yes! And I am very much rooting for you. It always bothers me so much when I see that people have a talent that just goes to waste. I wanna give them a swift kick in the butt! Haha, and yet I tend to be the same way.
    But, I'm gonna totally be reading your posts now. I enjoy a good blog. :)