To be quite truthful my own assignment didn't work that well for me. And that was despite this email from my mom (reprinted here without permission--hope it's okay, Mom) reminding me of all the characters I've deserted over the years:
Whatever happened to the blue jelly bean "who" escaped in the garbage can? The woman from the story in middle school who married the older man and then he died? The runner who lost her legs and will to live? The pregnant girl who didn't get to go to an ivy league school? And I still want to know what happened to the guy who walked out the door now that his parents are dead. Could that be the ending? Do you need to tell how he got there? What about the breast cancer victim from Emerson, or Swirl.
Just to let you know the extent of my mom's cheer leading when it comes to my writing, the blue jelly bean was a character from a story I wrote in the first grade (that was 1988 folks and she had a new baby that year)...
While I feel terrible to not be able to post some actual writing, fruits of my labor, if you will, I do think there is value in posting about my struggles. When I dream of being a writer I tend to imagine myself as a mesh between Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, sitting in front of my computer screen, the words pouring from my fingers, the genius overflowing and my heart pounding with the greatness about to spew forth. But this is not the truth. I doubt it's even the truth for Salman and Margaret. The truth is, for me, most of the time spent "writing" is typing two lines, deleting them, looking up job postings for nannies on Craigslist, making more coffee, turning on MSNBC, cursing the universe for its utter wackiness, which just leads to an internal monologue, often thought in all caps: WHY EVEN WRITE WHEN THE WORLD IS GOING TO HELL!!??!!??
And then I go back and sit down at the computer. And the whole process repeats. But I think the reason I keep going back and sitting down is because I know that one in about 132 times I'm going to be able to type past my requisite two lines and get something going and feel like I can keep going. It's kind of like fishing. It's sooooo boring and terrible for most of the six hours you're out there with your weird outdoorsy relatives, but then you catch something, and it suddenly becomes very clear why people love to fish so much.