Telling stories: Why I will probably never be invited to give a TED talk
I was waiting in line for a drink with AD and I said, "I started drinking whiskey recently. It makes me taciturn, angry and unable to sleep, so I will probably stop."
He paused and then started laughing at me for telling the shortest story in the world. X. Y. Z.
As a child I wanted to grow up to be so many things. A ballerina. A janitor. A school teacher. An archaeologist. A historian. A doctor. A biologist. An activist. A mountain climber. A jockey. A pioneer. A vet. A mother. A rockstar. An actress. A member of G-Force. A figure skater. Eliza Bennet. Laura Ingalls Wilder. The list goes on and on. A writer.
I wanted to write stories. Didn't write any. I just wanted to. Much later in life, I tried my hand at Nanowrimo and discovered that I suck at fiction. In much the same way I cannot tell a joke to save my life, there was a reason that I never wrote stories, I don't know how.
I would go to write-ins where other people would talk about their plot and how the characters were taking on a life of their own and how much they enjoyed it. This did not happen to me. I found myself desperately trying to either figure out how ducks quack so that I could write about quacking ducks convincingly or stealing observations and ideas and snippets and thoughts and conversations from the day to day of my life as it was happening. If I had a tuna sandwich, so did the characters in my novel.
It was devastating.
Even so, I sign up for Nanowrimo almost every year and I have never finished. The first time, I finished the word count but not the story. Since then it's been a boulevard of abandoned word documents. I considered reading about tropes to see if I could use a bunch of tropes to choke out a story. They apparently only come in a few flavors. November is right around the corner and I will try yet again this year.
Maybe I will string together a series of uninteresting and very, very short stories like:
He was going to go to the movies but then felt a sore throat coming on and decided to stay home. The End.
She wanted a milkshake really badly so she went to McDonald's and got one. The End.
Again and again for 50,000 words. An uninteresting book that even I would not read but I will try to write.