Although I like the sweeping, epic feel of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, I've always felt strangely removed from the characters and from the prose itself, like I'm supposed to be admiring the technical talents and the excellent structure instead of the way in which the story creates...I don't know, something that leaps off the pages.
I guess I was never able to drown out myself as The Reader in that novel, while in Wonder Boys, I lose myself. I have about forty pages left. I only stopped because my thoughts went wandering elsewhere.
That elsewhere in the sky is my own writing merit, my own validity as a writer. I've prided myself in not taking writing courses, in shunning an education spent in college classes of "creative writing."
Because, as I am painfully aware, I have no skill at that, if you ask me to write a three page personal story about myself, or to write about a memory, any memory at all,I will hand you some blank pages and say, "um, sorry."
If you ask for a poem in iamic pentameter, after I go look up what the hell that is because I'm always forgetting the names of the styles, I will probably write a bizarre poem consisting of no pattern and no sense of rhythm.
I can't churn out a decent short story, concoct a tale of interesing characters with a limited shelf life, there to be a pleasent read and nothing else. I can't give a decent, thoughtful, carefully constructed plots. My belief is that plots are like potholes in streets, you fall into them without noticing, or even with noticing and sure, you may have twisted your ankle, but it's a good story to tell, and one with an overall message: look where you're walking.
And I'm also agitated by the siren call of my never-to-be-finished first novel, that monster looming beyond the fog and the horizon, a tale I've been waiting to write for over six years: scenes playing in my head and characters yearning for their moments to shine.
I do want to drown, to fall into the stories and the words and the strange sci-fi/fantasy blend that I'm not even sure I'll pull off successfully. I've grown so attached to it and everyday, for the past couple of months, simply revelations, reasons for character developments, for plot progresson, for interactions, they've been coming extrodinarily fast, yet if I sit down to write it all out, the monstrous nature of the tale, all those histories, explanations, examinations of worlds and peoples and cultures, they become heavy anchors and instead of bringing focus to the story overall, drown me so deep I feel only a pessimistic assurance that it would be better to give up the writing dream and go into Something That Will Make Money.
It's there that the dreams and the hopes and the words die. And it's there that I'm stuck, impatiently trapped in a story yearning to break free and my own gloomy knowledge the tale, when told, will be a disappointment and reveal my awkward, unremarkable skill at polishing a rich and fascinating epic.