I went to a favorite local independent bookstore yesterday, and two weird things happened.
1. I left without buying anything. Highly unusual.
2. I freaked out about the plot I’ve chosen to write next month.
I went there in search of travel writing about Thailand – not
guidebooks, but essays or travel memoirs. My thinking was, hey, since
my novel is to be set in Thailand, it would be a great idea to get in
the mood by reading about someone’s journey there. I have some
guidebooks, and I plan to surround myself with them this weekend and
next month, but I wanted to get inspired about Thailand by being taken
there by someone’s else’s writing. The problem was, I found nothing. I
was looking for this, and they didn’t have it. I browsed the store and
was reminded that the writing I tend to see about Thailand has to do
with drugs or the sex industry there — basically the seedy side of
Thailand — and I was looking for a nice, wholesome travel memoir. Ah
Maybe I will re-read this collection of short stories, and scour
some travel writing anthologies I’ve got around the house.
Somehow though, in the process of looking at so many books in the store, I
began to worry that I might not be able to successfully write about
Thailand. Or write a novel at all. I wondered if I should switch my
setting to Japan. I wondered if I should have my main character live in San Francisco and spend most of the book there rather than in Thailand. I wondered if my plot would carry me through the month. I thought about how I really wanted some Cool Ranch Doritos. I thought about how my main character could be obsessed with Cool Ranch Doritos, and how that was ridiculous, and how I was projecting.
All of this crazed and jumbled thought led to me leaving the store, no books in hand (which bummed me out) and walking over to a Walgreen’s, where I promptly bought a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, practically snatching them from the stock girl who was putting them on the shelf. I demolished half the bag before I even
walked the three blocks back to the office.
Clearly, Cool Ranch Doritos are not a solution to plot woes. Or maybe they are. I’m
not sure what my point is, but I’m feeling unsettled. The fact that I
couldn’t zero in on a book I wanted to read always leaves me feeling
strange. So many lovely books, and not one grabbed my attention today.
I was supposed to go to San Diego this weekend, but now I am not, due to
the fires and the smoke. My friend (the one I was to visit) was
evacuated but has now, thankfully, been able to return to her home (her
neighborhood was untouched by the fires). Still, the air is bad, and
many businesses are closed. Not the best time to visit, and the change
in plans has thrown me off. I have a weekend ahead of me that I wasn’t
expecting to have, and for some reason I’m feeling unsettled about
I’m feeling unsettled about the fact that I am
supposed to write 50,000 words next month, and because I have been
having troubles churning out blog posts, for example, without a great
deal of pondering of word choice, this is worrisome. I have been
writing so little in the past few months that I feel I have become
sluggish. I’ve lost my writing voice a little, too. I need to write for
a while to get it back, so I guess 50,000 words can’t hurt.
I’m feeling unsettled and slowed by my wrist, which continues to ache.
I suspect I need to go computer-free this weekend, to recover. Which
means no writing, no blogging, no Flickr-ing…. which gets me back to the unsettled feeling again.
I think I need more Cool Ranch Doritos.