AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: Blog THIS DATE: 12/22/2004 08:25:00 PM ----- BODY:
I've been starting to think lately that I'm not really cut out to be a fiction writer. Stories from real life tend to inspire me the most--although I like to think I bring imagination to them. Creative nonfiction, at least recently, seems to be my strength. In fact, if you look back over my writing life, the bulk of it has been journals, academic criticism, persuasive essay, sports commentary, autobiographical essay, and some poetry. All nonfiction. (Gah. I hate talking about writing. 99% of the time when someone identifies themselves as a "wry-tahhh", their writing sucks (see also: Jewel). I mean, sucks. If you have to tell someone you're a writer, it's because they haven't seen your writing themselves, obviously. And in most cases, there's a good reason for that. But whether I suck or not, writing is what I've chosen to devote myself to working But today something happened that makes me not so sure. I went out for a cigarette with Bernadette, and there was this pond-sized puddle at the bottom of the ramp to the loading dock where they send us nasty smokers out to huddle in the cold. It was one of those winter puddles--mud, floating chunks of grey ice, and frigid water. Within the slushy stew there was something distinctly green, also, and algae-like...and a generous serving of pigeon shit. There's quite a thriving community of pigeons that nest in the overhang above this ramp / loading dock where they send us nasty smokers out to smoke. There are literally piles of pigeon guano at various points around this area. And a generous portion wound up in that slush-puddle, creating a delicate skin of greyish-white film on the surface not unlike French Onion Soup (enjoy!). As I approached the ramp, it looked like there was no way around it, and it seemed unavoidable that I'd wind up ankle-deep in the snowdrifts and slush of the parking lot, clutching my cigarette in one shaking, nefariously addicted hand. But then I spied a small curb along the side of the ramp--no more than a foot wide, but dry. I began to scale it, arms out for balance (the lengths we go to for a smoke, eh?), when in one heart-stopping moment, one of my feet slipped on the metal edge of the little curb, and I windmilled, suddenly losing my balance over this infernal sludge-puddle. Miraculously, I regained myself. But as I sat and smoked (triumphantly, as you might imagine), part of me wished to God I had ended up in that puddle, because it would make such a GREAT story. Ugh, imagine it. Office-apropos khakis drenched in that wretched slime. I could even picture the way I would tell the story: "And then I did what any person would do in that situation, which is throw up all over myself." Then I started thinking, no one who reads this blog saw me out one would know the difference...maybe I should just pass it off, because damn, it's such a HILARIOUS idea... Then I started thinking, maybe I could create a secret blog that no one who knows me knows about, a livejournal or something, because people who know me wouldn't think I'd start a livejournal...and go under a pseudonym and tell these outrageous stories... Then I started thinking, I'd get caught in a lie somewhere. Or the New York Times would call up and want my nom de plume to write an autobiographical book, and what then? All because of a pigeon-shit puddle. Maybe there's a fiction writer in me yet.