Sunday, March 09, 2008

The (triumphant?) Return of Scruffy Love

Ahh. Can of pop. Keyboard. Room filled with sounds of little cooling fans, hard drive activity, cats barfing. It's Blog posting time! And it's not even three A.M. yet!

It's been a while. Seems as though updates have been coming less frequently lately. That's because they have been coming less frequently lately. My daddy taught me that. Here are some excuses, and a bit of cut-and-paste!

I mean, uh... How about a droll observation of life's little neuroses, and a peck of original material? Better marketing, that.

Has this ever happened to you? You're at work, or in the shower, or both, and you come up with this really great idea for a post on the Blog of Stupid that reveals itself to be complete sparrowfart when it comes time to write it down?

It's happened to me.

I'll be with friends or family or both, and we'll be laughing our cockles off about some idea or bit of dialogue:

"And so my hat tells me to stop yelling at my violin and fill it with toothpaste if I want to run for President!"

"Har har! Right, and then--and then--!" (falls face first into plate of curry chicken in fits of mirth)

"Curry chicken!"

"Ha ha ha ha! Nobody likes Donald Trump!"

"And my Xbox keeps catching on fire!"

"Curry! Chicken! "

Yeah, and it goes on like this until you're convinced you have a spot of pure genius on your hands and you can't wait to get home and wipe it off on the keyboard.

Unfortunately, by the time you've dried your eyes and gotten the peas out of your nose, you can't remember what the hell was so funny about the dialogue. Or more often, you've forgotten it entirely. Or realized that the funny part was the voices and accents and the curry.

And then you feel like a moron.

Why not try describing it anyway? you think to yourself. It was pretty funny, and nobody's going to be fact-checking. You figure you may as well, and posts like this are born.

The interesting thing is that it happens to me right in the middle of stories, too.

"Hey, this is a great start!" I'll mumble into my plate full of sausages. "You're going to love it!" Then, poking them jovially: "You guys are such nice sausages. I shall sing you a song!" When I'm done with that, enough time has passed to completely corrode my beneficent view of my latest work.

"It's crap! Lookit this---three paragraphs, and not one funny thing in 'em! You lousy sausages--" I start, but they're gone too. "Rotten little..." (incoherent)

More often than not, this story ends up as five separate little Microsoft Word documents tossed angrily into a folder on my hard disk somewhere, and I only look at them later when I want to prove to someone that I can begin a story as well as the next guy.

Remember Scruffy Love? Well, I had big plans for that, once, but once I squeezed a few drops of idea out of it, it went flat. Ah well. I shall instead edit out the good stuff, and put it on the Blog! Think of it as "Certified Pre-Written" material: almost as good, and a lot cheaper!

Here is a scene where Thurgood Bastardson (the Antagonist) is attempting to convince Buck Studson (the throbbing male Protagonist) that Cassidy Swoony (the bodacious and airheaded female Love Interest) does not love him. It's a dirty trick, yes, but fortunately Buck is protected by a thick layer of obliviousness, and Bastardson doesn't get very far.

“Yes, the very one. Do you also remember the conversation you and the Swoony woman had?”

“The recollection of that glorious time,” Buck said, unhinging his knees and thrusting his Buckhood forward, “is as the initials of lovers carved just yesterday into the vital bark of a thriving tree!”

“It, uh, was yesterday, Studson.”

“Ha! Then I gain the upper hand, Bastardson!” said Buck, standing and thrusting in triumph. “I shall now refer to thee solely by thy last name, in order that I may patronize thee with my tone.”

Thurgood Bastardson stomped his feet and shook his fists. This wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought. This man, this willfully willful man, possessed powers of obliviousness whose true bulk lay concealed beneath his hairy surface, like stupid icebergs in a sea of irrational thought.

“That’s not the point, fool! The point is that Cassidy Swoony loves another man!”

Buck stopped his victory thrust in mid-tilt. His piercing gaze of blue ice skated over Bastardson’s twisted visage like a pack of skate-wolves.

“Other? Of course. What you say is truth. I am that other man. I am the only one in whom she feels secure,” he said, but his voice carried an undertone of uncertainty that did not go unnoticed by Bastardson. He pressed in, meaning to clear the penguins off Buck’s icebergs one by one with his mental shotgun of deception. He chuckled.

“Oh, I think you know what I mean. Throw your mind back, Studson, and you will recall one particular line of your dialogue. It was when you remarked how wonderful it was to find someone who understood you. Do you remember what she said?”

“As if it were lover’s initials--”

“Yes or no!”

“Yes, I remember.”

“And what did she say, Studson? Tell me what she said!” Bastardson screamed. He was really working himself up, face red, hands shaking feverishly.

“She remarked that she found rabbits particularly cute.”

BEFORE that!

“Aye. Before that, she turned her face upon mine and told me with feeling that there was a man out there yet who could do the same for her.” Buck said steadily. He nodded and pointed to himself. “Me.”

“Arrogant, arrogant man!” Bastardson shook his head. He slammed his fist down onto their table, upsetting the salt shaker and the checkers. “You merely assumed it was you? You just thought that since she happened to be speaking to you, she was speaking about you? The folly! You must allow me a chuckle!”

Before Buck could answer, he took one. It tumbled around the room like a sack of malicious ferrets. Finishing up, he wiped his streaming eyes and glared levelly at Buck.

“She’s a nice woman. A lady. Ladies don’t offer their hearts to savage, uncultured cowboys, Studson. You’ll have to learn sooner or later that this is the way the world works.”

“We constructed large quantities of love! Right there in the birch grove!”

“Pity sex.”

“She screamed my name over and over again upon her climax!”

“Autonomic guilt reaction.”

“She told me that if she could cut off one of her legs, she would do so that I might always have it with me!”

“Post-coital crazy talk. Means nothing.”

And that's where I seem to have puttered out. I still have a few pages of potentially salvagable material, if anyone's interested. Indulge in Stupidity if that seems like a good idea to you. We forgetful, sausage-talkers can use all the encouragement we can get.


Jack W. Regan said...

Yay for the return of "Scruffy Love"! I am quite pleased to see the return of these, my most favoritest of all thy created characters, thus far henceforth shall be known by thus therefore and whence. Uh...

Anyway. I, for one, am supportive of the idea of posting the dangling "Scruff Love" threads on the Blog, although I am saddened by the prospect of no long-term commitment to the piece. After all, every piece of writing (even the ones that end up being completed) putters out at some point. However, only the author can make the decision about what has completion potential and what doesn't. Therefore, I shall put my rage at possibly being denied further "Scruffies" aside and not berate you.

I shall, instead, wait impatiently for the next Blog installment.

Jack W. Regan said...

By the way, I can fully empathize with your remarks concerning potential Blog material. This happens to me all the time. I'll be driving down the road and come up with what I am sure will result in the best Blog post ever. Assuming I remember the idea, I sit down at home to write this masterpiece. Kaput.

Sometimes, in frustration and desperation, I go ahead and post the lamitude, in the hope that perhaps it isn't as unintentionally stupid as it seems to me. I'm sure you have all noticed these posts.

Jack W. Regan said...

"...every piece of writing...putters out at some point." Okay, maybe not every piece. I've written a thank you card or two that went smoothly from beginning to end.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that Scruffy Love is here. I have heard some of this and I like it. Probably because I have read the occasional romance novel, and this is very close to a few.

I like how Studson likes that Cassidy couldn't possibly love anyone but him. I think it's funny.

keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

No one exceeds me in my love for and loyalty to Scurvy Love (that is, love on the S-Curve here in Grand Rapids), and when I'm on the S-curve, thriving along like mad, I find myself wondering if Buck's baking shorts are made of ovenproof silicone. But you're right, all good things and inspirations come to an end, often before the end, if you catch my drift. It would be dually cruel to berefticate ourselves of Scurvy Love. Still, in my day I've sung to my sausages and found they'd turned on me the next morning, just as you have, and while it's sad, you can always buy more, coming as they do in their uplifting little green boxes. Likewise, with skill and craftiness you can write a good story even after the inspiration has pooped itself out. You have to gather your writer's cape about you and, while the new soy analog links are sizzling in the cooker, say to them: "Nothing will stop me from finishing this, one of my wurst inspirations. I will go til I come to the little tied-off part at the end." Never mind that its love for you is dead. Never mind that it will never be what you originally envisioned. A writer must finish what he starts, even if it starts going all.. sausagey.

Jack W. Regan said...

Right on, FD's FD. If one waits for inspiration, all is lost. If I depended on the "desire" to write, I'd never finish anything. Inspiration is only useful in beginning a project. It will desert you. It will.

Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

I guess I'm still kind of new at the whole writing thing. I kinda figure that if inspiration leaves, the story's dead.

I find it hard to push myself to keep going, because I'm barely satisfied with my work when it IS inspired. Forced? Ha! Ooh, better delete this forced stuff before any of my friends see it. How embarrassing.

Thank you all for your encouragement, though. Maybe one day I will actually be able to flog myself into completing a "feature-length" work.

Jack W. Regan said...

First of all, I whole-heartedly empathize with your feelings of "no inspiration=no story/writing." There is nothing harder than to write when you don't feel like it. I’d rather climb Mt. Fartwater with a grand piano on my back than to stare at a blank screen and watch that damned cursor blink. I guarantee that writers all over the world are nodding and sweating blood in agreement.

I experience this horror all the time. I've written several longer works and, after a few pages, I always got stuck, flummoxed, desperate, hateful, suicidal, etc. You can ask Beth. She has witnessed all this stuff first-hand. Granted, I have a long way to go in my own writing quality-wise, but the end products thus far do demonstrate that it can be done.

Rule 1: Writing without inspiration is the best way to get inspiration to return.

Rule 2: Many things written while uninspired and, therefore, crappy, are not nearly so crappy when one goes back some time later and examines them.

Rule 3: The truly crappy stuff can always be thrown out later. That's revision. And it's evil. But necessary.

Rule 4: Writing is probably the hardest work you’ll ever do. If a person finds writing easy, then they are probably doing it wrong.