Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Empty Chamber: Part 1

This post should be called "The Winter of My Discontent: Part 1", but I digress...

After college, circa A.D. 1995, I went up to Alaska to work in a fish freezer near Glacier Bay. As opposed to hand-wringing about finding a career while idling away my first post-baccalaureate summer in Snohomish, unemployed and living with the folks, I decided to go Jack London and head up to the Last Frontier in the hopes of paying off student loans in one felll swoop, whatever 'fell swoop'  means (wikipedia it and leave me a post if you want.)... It was a noble thought.

Instead, I came home, paycheck in hand, and bought a bunch of ski gear, lazed about, hung out with old college friends, and had the odd job interview, all the while apathetically applying to graduate school. I'm pretty sure not one red cent actually went to Sallie Mae. Lots of time to kill, lots and lots of time to kill... So one day, I kick-started the parent's Tandy (I'm pretty sure it was a Tandy....) and after about thirty to forty minutes of hard drive lurching, I managed to get its word processor booted. Now, what to type? Start with what you know, they say. College, ah yes... let's write about college! Very original.

Not sure about everyone else, but my college experience was enjoyable, a significant upgrade from whatever high school was supposed to be, but it was still just series of quirky anecdotes and unrequited crushes lacking any central theme. I didn't meet my soul mate in college. I didn't triumph over adversity. There was no drunken /drug-addled late night odysseys worthy of Animal House infamy. A bit 'meh' overall and not very epic. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed college, that twilight zone where invincible youth and dreaming big teeter on the threshold of adulthood, but to milk it for a novel? Might as well give it a shot, I thought. So armed with a bit of nostalgia and longing for the salad days of yore, I wrote.

My first outing at a novel consisted of a twenty page episode hi-lighting a most exceptional meandering day of an enhanced college slacker. My intention wasn't to actually write a novel at the time, it was just to write. Inspired by comic books, a pseudo-angst gothic catharsis, self-aware coffee house conversations, and unrequited yearning for a true 'rock and roll adventure' as my late college friend Ben always referred to it, I embarked on what would become THE EMPTY CHAMBER. Written in amateurish first person (I intend to write a whole post on first person versus third person, and my writing philosophy there of...) it was an interesting experiment. As quickly as inspiration arrived, it left, and the embryonic novel remained a 20K artifact on a floppy drive for another two years.

Stay tuned for The Empty Chamber: Part 2...

No comments:

Post a Comment