Sunday, August 24, 2014

Novel Home Stretch, Little Library, Again with the Comedians

I’m banging out the last of my novel, and I’m finding the last 5,000 words to be harder to write than the whole first 75,000 put together. I didn’t anticipate how hard it was going to be to bring the character arc and all of the plot elements together for a grand finish. It feels like building a house. I suddenly need to be very precise and economical and organized, and it’s a bit daunting after having written a good portion of the book merrily by the seat of my pants, just figuring everything would work itself out. Now I have this big pile of lumber and nails and drywall and it all has to come together in a specific way and frankly, I’m a bit intimidated. This may be a good time to fire up the afore-mentioned Scrivener.  

I was walking home from my neighborhood pool today after my water aerobics class, because I’m old now and that’s what you do when you’re old, water aerobics, and I was charmed to come across a Little Library! I’d heard of them going up in other cities, but I haven’t actually seen one before. It’s adorable! I spent a few minutes browsing the selections, but I didn’t take a book. I might next week. Now that I know we have one, I’ll probably become a regular contributor/borrower. In this digital age when it sometimes feels like nothing actually exists in solid form anymore, Little Libraries are a lovely touch. Sharing books has always felt like a special form of communication to me, and I like the idea of seeing what other people have read and enjoyed. I’m not generally close with my neighbors, but there is a surprising intimacy in this form of trading.

I’ve always loved comedy and depended on it to get me through tough times. I’ve been listening to and watching quite a lot of it lately, but in a more analytical way. I’ve been watching a lot of the Half-Hour Comedy specials on my tablet with an eye to figuring out how one actually writes a stand-up act. I’ve written many different types of things, but the idea of writing even a five-minute comedy set is an inscrutable puzzle to me. None of this is to say I will ever do stand-up because I won’t, but I do have an ongoing fascination with comics, and would like to try my hand at writing a set one day. And give it to someone funny to perform.

Speaking of comics, one of my favorites, Eddie Pepitone, has a new one-hour special out called “In Ruins”, and it’s brilliant. Eddie is also known as the Bitter Buddha, and I do that think that there is something of a Buddha in him.  I think that he’s more than a comic. He has the ability to touch people very deeply. I think his genius lies in his vulnerability. He is all there, totally present in his humanity, genuinely raw and open. In that way, he forces the audience to be present to their own vulnerability, but in a way that feels like he’s right there with you, that you aren’t alone, and that it’s okay. Or maybe he’s just really effin’ funny. I couldn’t find a clip from “In Ruins”, but here’s his rap for the insecure and depressed. Warning: Lots of swears.


John Socrates said...

I think you have no problem writing comedy, my dear. This post of yours is hysterical, especially the part about water aerobics. But hey, you're not old. You're not even close to old. But you are close to finishing your novel, and that is a magnificent thing. And I commend thee. Nothing more formidable in all writing than the writing of a novel. It is the greatest accomplishment we can do. For anyone who writes a novel can then write anything! So finish your novel and don't forget to put a last coat of paint on the drywall!

Kristen McHenry said...

Aww, thanks John! And thanks for saying I'm not old. :) All the hip and knee pain makes me feel that way sometimes.