The Artists Way recommends that each week you take yourself out on an Artists Date. For one evening (or afternoon) a week you take yourself out and focus on activities that promote your art. Buying paint or other such supplies for creativeness for one, taking a class in your chosen craft, or hitting a museum even.
Well, seeing as my craft of choice at the moment happens to be writing, and the fact that I have no money for nor need of the usual supplies like notebooks and pens (though there is this nifty pen that records what you write into a word doc which I have been eyeballing). Then the fact there are no classes around to do with writing in the creative sense, and there are no literary museums that I know of.
So what does the impoverished, yet well stocked, penniless young author do that could possibly equate with an Artists Date? I spend an evening with my fifteen-year-old self. Spanning the distance of over a decade via my archived novel attempts of old.
That’s right folks, I puttered around my mother’s basement this afternoon and decided to bring home the better part of my high school fiction production to peruse for inspiration and guidance. Kind of like returning to the roots of the story I started with to find that one or more strands of truth that survived to this day.
You have to understand, while the story has been a narrative in my head since I was a wee child acting out the tale as backyard make believe, it wasn’t until high school that I decided to focus and develop the story in what I hope will become a coherent novel.
And, be ready to laugh at this, the title of this grand epic was, Chimera Mystique. Doesn’t it positively drip oily teen melodrama? Chimera from my binge watching of Dark Angel on DVD, Mystique because I was just getting into X-Men and thought the name kicked ass (which it does, just not when I usurp it like it’s my original idea).
Hell, even in the plot notes I wrote to myself I can hear my teenage self say “Whatever, I am a bad ass writer, I don’t need to write these. Hell, I don’t even need to actually write my novel, I will become famous just because I am so awesome all on my own! Oh, but I bet if I add all these swear words I will look really cool!”
Seriously, I would throttle that stupid kid if I ever came across her again. I open with saying that these notes are for years later after I drop this story so I can pick it up again. So I read through, and there are at least two dozen references to things I have no clue about. I wrote the damn thing, and I have no clue what I even meant!
Then the names, holy fucking gawd! In just one folder of notes every character has at least five versions of their name, none of which are even remotely similar. If I didn’t know better I would say my modest cast of a dozen was becoming about a hundred or more people to write about.
I also forgot just how dramatic I was back then! Reading these scenes I can feel the over acted characters groan on the stage at me. Which is why there aren’t any surviving written scenes of this story I bet. Especially when you start in on my romance between the two mains. Let’s just say it is obvious a teen girl wrote it.
My story as it exists now has no recognizable traits to that original tale, and thank the writing gods that it doesn’t. I mean I used to feel bad that I had all these stories that never got farther than the first page, but the deeper I explore these files the more I realize it is a very good thing I didn’t try and get any version of this out into the world.
However, some interesting things did end up sticking with me through the years. I won’t go into terrible detail with them as it gives away big plot points, but there are places where the truth came through my writing. In the end, it was still my main girl, her jackass of a love interest, and the aliens fighting for world domination. And there was something oddly comforting in that.