Creative Impulsivity

I'm still in grading jail, but I take breaks. For sanity.

I just remembered that last year, I posted that I wanted to do some creative writing.* Of course I inserted all the traditional disclaimers, lest anyone think I actually believed I could be good at it or anything. Lord, I'm tiresome. Anyway, it's funny that I wrote that, because lately... I sort of have been. Writing. Or more accurately, planning to write, but the kind of planning that involves taking notes and assembling ideas into something slightly more tangible than thought-cloud formations. Pre-writing. Writing to write. It's a project that suddenly materialized into being out of thin air, less a creative impulse than a case of creative impulsivity. Because, seriously, do I have time for a big new creative project? A world of no. And yet.

I'm working on this project with a partner--my Thanksgiving benefactor Evan, actually--which should, in theory, give me some accountability. Not sure how well that's going to work, though, as my collaborator is even harder to pin down than I am. At the very least, it gives me someone to bounce ideas off of, and to pester with endless procrastinatory messages and links. This probably works out better for me than for him.

We have very ambitious plans for this project, because we are both kind of wildly unrealistic people. But honestly, if we can get it off the ground, I really do think it could be pretty great. Worst-case scenario, we will have had a lot of fun in the process.

Okay, that's bullshit. Worst-case scenario, we fight bitterly over creative differences, drive each other to drink and drugs and are no longer on speaking terms, lose our day jobs and have nothing to show for all the wasted time and effort except an inspirational Spotify playlist (because that's everyone's first step in a writing project, right, not just ours?) and an orphaned Evernote notebook.

That seems unlikely, though perhaps not impossible. Creative impulsivity can lead down a lot of unexpected paths.

To add another layer of complication, this project is sort of... just orthogonal to reality. Meaning it was inspired by some real-life experiences in which we were both involved. We're fictionalizing things, improving upon reality to craft a more entertaining narrative, creating characters who aren't really us... but who also share some of our traits. In some ways this simplifies the process, but it can also lead to some awkwardness. Today, for example, I was writing notes about something that might happen at a certain point in the story to create conflict. It felt a bit passive aggressive to essentially say, "the Not-Really-You character does this thing that would not be entirely out of character for Actual You, which infuriates the Not-Really-Me character." Since, you know it was Actual Me writing it, and Actual Evan eventually reading it. I was just talking about the characters, though, I promise!

Yeah, we are going to have to work hard to make it clear where the boundaries of Actual Us and Not-Us characters lie. Otherwise, this could get ugly fast. Or at least really confusing.

At this point, as we're still kind of grabbing ideas out of thin air and seeing whether and how they fit together, anything seems possible. I know the actual hard work is still to come. I know there will be points at which it won't seem worth the effort. I know there will be times when one or both of us are too busy to work on it, and there are almost certain to be actual creative differences once things start to coalesce even more. I hope we stick with it, though, because I feel more comfortable in my soul when I'm working on something creative, especially with other people. The advantage of writing over, say, improv, is that you can do it even when you're up at 2 am grading and need a sanity break.*

Plus, I just believe it could turn out to be super duper cool, if we do it right.

In other, unrelated news, I have a date tomorrow night. This is always a newsworthy event. Even moreso because it is a second date, which is a rare sighting in my world. Our last date was something like three weeks ago, but, well, I've been busy. We're going to a new restaurant that I really want to try, so I'm actually looking forward to it... although I realize this doesn't exactly sound like I'm bubbling over with excitment. I'm more optimistic than I seem, promise--and not just about the restaurant.