Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Failure of the Day: A New Way to Worry About Writing

I think Chris and I have moved one step closer to becoming the Literary Power Couple of our dreams. Actually, just of my dreams—to Chris, being part of a literary power couple ranks just below being skewered and roasted on a spit. Well, I think it would be swell, anyway. I tried to tempt with visions of cocktail parties in the Hamptons, to which he replied, "The Hamptons? Are there rides there?" I think he was thinking of Marine World.

The step we took toward that mighty end was an argument/discussion we had last night about an idea I had about what I would write if I were to do NaNoWriMo again this year. It popped into my head yesterday around Mile 9 on the exercise bike. I thought it might be cool to write the next in a series of Self-Portrait in X autobiographical novels. My topics, really, my only ever topics are sex and disease (and not in that order, seeing as how I already wrote Self Portrait in Doctor Appointments). I thought the next installment might be Self Portrait in Other People's Genitals, although I thought of an alternate title last night while I was falling asleep: Coming of Age: A sexual picaresque.

Chris didn't think it was a very good idea, although not for the reason I was worried about. I thought he wouldn't be comfortable with my spending a month writing about the people I've slept with. The reason I worried about this is that it is, in all honesty, kind of a shitty thing to do during the month of one's second wedding anniversary. So my guilt about being selfish enough to consider doing that kind of pokes at me. But no, his objection was based on the idea that he believes I am capable of more than just the same stuff I've been writing about for the last 20 years. He thinks I should take the opportunity to expand my repertoire and try something new.

And in a way, I know he's right, but in another, I totally disagree. I feel like I'm already expanding my repertoire by branching out into prose. It's only the subject matter that remains snugly entrenched in my safety zone. But then I find myself arguing that I am not as good as he thinks I am, and seriously, how stupid a thing is that to argue?

Anyway, I've got several months to decide if I even want to try another NaNo, let alone the thing I will write about. But I have to admit that I am just completely thrilled to be in a marriage that includes petty squabbling about my future literary output. Hamptons, here we come.

***Disclaimer: It's only fair to point out that I don't even know where the Hamptons are, let alone what it's like there. The idea of it just sounds like the place where one might go if one were looking to hobnob with, say, Kurt Vonnegut. It might even have rides, for all I know.


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