I guess that’s the hardest thing to do – write from the place of origin. Where is the center of the story? That, for me, is the most difficult thing to find. Lately, I’ve been listening to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. It’s hard for me to listen to anything else these days. It’s such an incredible album in it’s entirety.
So honest and perfectly carved up. “Mango peaches and lime. Sweet life.” The studio was his for the whole thing. What is it that makes this album so special above so many others? Not a clue, but I know my ears can’t listen to anything else without craving for more of that album. It gave me faith in music again and made me enjoy art – which is so sublime – such a feeling of pleasure and relaxation and, at the same time, a heightened state of understanding. Trying to find the center of the story, so I’ll need to shake the characters from my other three and focus.
Can’t bring them along this time. Something different. Guess that’s what it’s like to try to make it. Make something real out of something as unreal as letters strung together. I guess that’s what I’m after in this new one – and I’m stuck as hell as usual at this phase. With about 100 or so type-written pages, 150 computer written pages on this book behind me, I’m ready to go, but just looking for the jumping off point. Where is it coming from? Love? Sadness? Loss? Want? There has to be a seed – a center of the universe for each book, and though I haven’t found one yet for this one, I’m circling around in my Carl Sagan space craft (if you’ve seen those old 70s Cosmos shows you know what I’m talking about).
I don’t mind the frustration part of this section of the process. The birth will be worth it, so I continue. All 3 of my books have started out here in some way, so there is something magical about this sketch book. Calling out to my characters in hopes that they hear and will finally jump in the right way onto the page just like the Lyrics in Frank Ocean’s songs.
I do remember now some amazing moments in “A Visit from the Good Squad” when the boy takes a dip in the bathtub and we see the main character’s reaction to that. Incredible moment. It’s the same when Ocean is in the cab. Just honest moments. Looking for honest moments in fiction is like looking for sanity in an office environment.
Still, you must create beauty out of those moments. Maybe it’s that. Creating beauty out of the moments of pain. Exposure.