like today. today i sat at pappadeaux's bar, reading the last chapters of a book (i wasn't supposed to start reading for two more days... but i was babysitting two five-year-olds today, yall... BY MYSELF. ALL DAMNED DAY. TWO of them. have you any idea how much of a pain in the ass it is to watch TWO five-year-olds in a crowded mall? can you tell me why the hell any business in the business of photographing children would believe putting that business in a mall on the second floor between macy's children's store and the food court was a fine idea? i desperately needed some me time, okay? and the best kind of me time involves me reading about people without having to talk to any of them... if i get sick of their shit, i can snap that book shut).
reading today did two things... okay, fine, three things. ONE.) the similarities between the main characters of this particular novel and those of my seventeen- ... shit. eighteen-year-old story (GOD. DAMN. i suck.) were kind of crushing to my already crushed ego (like, hey, jenn, you WERE on to something here, but... this other lady managed to get up off her ass and get her story told and sold). TWO.) i feel like an abject (wretched, miserable, hopeless, pathetic, pitiful, pitiable, piteous, sorry, woeful, lamentable, appalling, atrocious, awful, contemptible, base, low, vile, worthless, degraded, despicable, ignominious, mean, unworthy, ignoble) failure. and THREE (but this didn't come until the very end of those chapters): screw that. I LIKE MY CHARACTERS.
i do. i love them. they are my children. my never-had-to-change-their-diapers-or-march-them-through-a-crowded-mall-or-hear-them-whine-when-told-they-couldn't-bring-their-darth-vader-lego-with-them-so-it-could-be-lost-whilst-running-errands children.
and then i got home and pulled up some blog posts involving those fictional beings i've created... and felt (again) that they're not as badassed as i think they are.
also... this happened today:
conversation in a bar:
me (because i've come across a word foreign to me and have asked one of my favored bartenders for help): you're hipper than me. you should know the lingo.
lesley: i'm not hip.
me: you're hipper than me.
lesley: aren't YOU the writer? YOU'RE supposed to know the lingo.
that's just it, though. i don't know the lingo. these people who live inside my head... i hear them speak. i feel their frustrations. i can recognize their likes and dislikes without realizing that i knew them (if that makes any sense... i don't know how else to explain it. let's just say i spent years trying to figure out what the hell kind of car august drives, that everything i thought of felt wrong. and then i found it). i've not dated any man for more than twelve months. i've no idea how to be with one. and yet i'm writing this story about these four girls and their boys. it's NOT about them being with the boys. it's about the girls ACCEPTING adulthood, part of which is choosing to be with those boys.
the only thing i know about boys for sure is that too few of them know how to kiss a gal.
that tentative shit sucks. and when i say tentative, i do not mean sweet. sweet is sweet. tentative is for sissies. don't lean down and dip your tongue in her mouth like you're dipping your big toe in a potentially frigid pool of water. jump in. cannonball!
i'm just saying... you're laying (lying? i can NEVER remember! GAH!) on the couch, your head in his lap, watching the patriots beat up on anybody and everybody (except for maybe the packers, because i do like them, too)... that's football-watching time. that's not let's-test-the-waters time.
you're walking from bar a to bar b with your friends when BAM! you're not walking anymore because your guy's decided that THAT moment (and you can't remember what the hell you'd said to prompt him to pick that particular moment, nor can you recall the snatch and grab, really... there's walking and then there's, well... the siege for lack of a better word. because it IS a siege of sorts), right there in the middle of the street, passersby be damned... that moment's when the kissing must be done. and for a second you don't think of anything at all because his arms are tight around you and yours are tight around him and your mouths are meshed... and this, this is how it should be done. mindless, blissful... and your guy's not afraid to jump in.
i've known three guys who know how it should be. three. that's pretty sad. the only thing i know is that i don't want my fictional guys to be the type to test the waters. i don't want their stories to be that way. but yall, writing that? that's a whole other thing.
and i think that ultimately, that's what my story lacks. it tests the waters. i don't know how to make it do any differently.