A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Well, this is a first for me.

I've spent more than an hour searching my computer and desk in vain for script pages I am convinced I wrote a month ago. I know approximately when I would have written these pages, they'd have been done after I sent Kelley Seda the pages that preceded them. Yet, comparing the file that I sent her to the file on my hard drive and the file in every directory of Time Machine that I have backed up, I wrote a single solitary page after that and did no more. The last page of the chapter, left blank on the old file, nothing from chapter 7.

The thing is, I remember writing more. I have an abstract vision of chapter 7. I remember improvising a police interrogation scene and seeing where it took me. I remember the hero being released, being picked up in a car by the femme fatale, including blocking where he appears on the street and where her vehicle does. I remember them having a conversation where she drops hints about a forgotten past. And given the nature of the writing, that I was off the outline and winging it, that's all I remember. I couldn't tell you what they said, what other discoveries might have emerged from this playing around.

Searching the contents of my drives for the hero's name only turns up the files in the project folder. I didn't write the chapter and accidentally saved it in the wrong spot, as I had hoped.

The work is either gone, or I have completely invented the whole memory of having written these sequences. Is it possible I have just blown up some ideas I had for what to do next and convinced myself that I took them farther?

Up until 2008, I used to keep annual notebooks where I chronicled my day to day activities: what I read, watched, worked on. If were to dig into the boxes with these books, I could tell you, for instance, that on this day in 2007, the last year I kept such a diary, I spent the morning writing a review of Elia Kazan's The Arrangement, attended a screening of the Nader documentary An Unreasonable Man, ran some errands, watched some Thursday night TV, proofread my scripting on a volume of Hissing for Yen, watched The Bicycle Thieves and wrote a draft of the review before going to bed. The next day, I began work on Love the Way You Love vol. 6.

I started keeping these diaries after seeing something similar that Mary Shelley kept, which scholars then used to trace her influences and what might have led to Frankenstein; I stopped because I never went back and looked at them and was no longer sure what I had kept them for to begin with. As usual, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. Had I continued with the old habit, I could flip back a month and look at my notes and see if I had, in fact, done this writing or not. Knowing I hadn't, I could give up the dream of finding my lost brilliance and begin again content that I hadn't done it better once before; knowing I had...well, at least I'd know I haven't lost my mind and accept that something weird happened with my computer.

One of the themes of the comic these vanishing pages belong to is how we attempt to alter memory in order to manage our lives. Somehow, in the process of exploring this idea, I've tested it out on myself.

Current Soundtrack: Neil Diamond, "The Boxer;" Utada, "Come Back to Me;" Jewel, "Foolish Games;" Christina Aguilera, "Keeps Gettin' Better;" The Divine Comedy, "A Lady of a Certain Age"

1 comment:

belbert said...

Somebodies working a little to hard. You need to take a vacation at least once every ten years ya know.