MAKIN' LOVE TO THE ULTIMATE MIND
I just did something I really, really hate in other people’s work. I’ve always hated it, even when I was a kid.
I made my way back to The Everlasting today, and read over where I last left off. This was the scene where Ashley goes to Lance’s apartment to check it out, to see if the boy she is choosing is the right choice. It’s followed by another e-mail from Lance to Tristan about how they have porn star names…no, actually, it’s about a sensory memory, a flashback to a more idyllic romantic time triggered by listening to Duran Duran’s Big Thing (try it, it’s ace!). And then I realized why I probably wasn’t rushing back to this manuscript. I don’t know what’s next.
You see, I essentially have to get through the relationship with Ashley to get to the point where Lance meets Mandy—which is actually already written. Funnily enough, I already wrote the transition from Mandy to Quentin, too. I just need the middle bits, the actual relationships.
Now, obviously, I can’t show every single date. I can’t chronicle every tiny moment in the lives of these characters. I would have to be Marcel Proust (or at least my understanding of Proust; I’m not going to lie to you and pretend I've read him). It would be a massive, massive book. So I have to choose the right moments. I think I wrote before about the quandary of making sure I show how these characters fall in love; then I have to write about how they are in love; and then I have to kick them out of love. But that’s no straight plot line. That’s more like a map of the stars, and I have to figure out which ones make a constellation amongst all that mess.
So to get into the groove, I’m fussing about. I have a sequence that doesn’t yet have a home, where I detail the travails of Lance’s roommate, Roger, and his affair with a keyboard player in a fictional band, and how this musician has to play straight to the press, despite being gay. (His name is Paul Multiple, which, if I remember, is actually a bit of a nod to my buddy Matt Fraction. I needed something that sounded like a guy who would be in a retro synthpop band. Ha-ha! Fuck you, Fraction!) I’d like to use this sequence as a parallel to Lance’s situation, but haven’t yet found out where to put it or if it will even make the cut.
In my writing, wadnering Antonioni-like, I go from there to another sequence, a little device that popped into my head to show some contrasting moments in Lance’s time with Ashley, and I find myself typing “he's known her for four months.”
And that’s the part I hate. Whenever an author or a filmmaker or whoever does that to me, I just get mad, because I feel like they took something away from me, almost like I was cheated. Stuff happened in those four months, and I want to know what it was, dammit!!! But I have to do it. I actually have to get my characters from where they begin, around March of 1999, to New Year’s Eve before the third act can even start, so I am going to have to be jumping ahead in time. And I did do it in Cut My Hair already, when I move from Mason and Jeane’s first dates to several months later (something people often miss when they criticize their fast relationship – yeah, they fell in love fast, but then they stay together and have grown before you see them again; perhaps an error on my part not to show more? which doesn’t help this monologue). Once again, I am stealing several months from my reader. It's like when you read a history of a recording artist and they mention a legendary album said artist recorded and shelved. You can't do that! Give it to me, fucker!
I further hate to admit that I did all this based on what movie they are going to see in the particular section of the book. I needed a movie from 1999 that Lance would hate. In short: eat me, George Lucas. Only thing is, this can’t be the next chapter in the novel, because Lance has to turn 25, since the book is a book about being in love at age 25…and that has to happen before that movie could come out for Lance to be a Gemini, like I want him to be.
Fuck, how needlessly complicated. (Let’s blame Matt Fraction.)
On a side note, I pulled out Big Thing as a result of reading that sequence. It really helped shift me into the right mood. I followed it with Duran Duran’s second self-titled album (also known as The Wedding Album), their early ’90s comeback, which is sounding pretty good right now. I haven’t heard it in a while. (Odd memory that just struck me. The first tape I bought when I went to college, purchased at a Target down the street from the campus, was perhaps almost their worst record, Liberty.)
Current Soundtrack: Duran Duran, Duran Duran II