Friday, November 03, 2006

On NaNoWriMo

No, the title is not some insane combination of letters I put together at random. They stand for "National Novel Writing Month". November is the month for novel writing, and in its honor is the webpage NaNoWriMo. Basically, you sign up, and for the month of November, are given the challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words. It's all about quantity, not quality, so that, in the end, people who've always wanted to write a novel can say they have. Being a writer already, I decided it'd be fun to participate. Thus far, I have 4,900 words, and I started yesterday.

Now, since what I'm writing is the closest you'll ever get to figuring out how my brain works, I think I'll post the first chapter here. Please note, it's not supposed to be the most stellar work of writing. I'm just trying to get to the 50,000 word goal. But you might have fun reading it anyway.

Who am I? I’m no one. I’m nothing. I’ve achieved nothing in my nineteen year life asides failure and disappointment. I wish I could say I gave a damn about who I was, but I don’t. Why bother anyway? No one really cares. I constantly wonder where I’ve gone wrong in life to get to where I am now, but it’s all a blur to me. There are so many places I seem to have taken the wrong path or where I should’ve done one thing instead of the other. I do remember a time in which I was normal, or at least normal by society’s definition. It was easier then. People loved me and I loved them. So I wonder what ever happened to that comfort, that fallback of fallbacks. When did I start saying, no I don’t want to be normal, I don’t want to conform, I don’t care anymore. When did I think, who the fuck cares about the social norm? Why not just break out of that and be who you want to be and say what you want.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Have I ever truly found someone who believes in that though? One way or another, nothing is ever good enough for people. I’m too normal. I’m not normal enough. I think and I say and I do, and it’s never right. I’m told I’m fine the way I am, only to be told that I’m too boring in the end, that I wasn’t enough to keep the spark alive. But then how do I be entertaining enough? How do I stop being boring? How do I draw the line of normalcy and extroversion?

I am weird. I’m too weird for most social norms. The only thing that gives me the illusion of normalcy is the fact that I don’t dress in a chicken suit while wearing a towel for a cape singing Bohemian Rhapsody through an elementary school park. But I have considered doing more than once or twice. I just lack the chicken suit to do it. But what’s to say if I did do it? What would society say about me? They’d just say, “hey look, it’s the crazy chicken girl! Sing another Queen song goddammit!” But I don’t know any other Queen song. How about I dress as an alien and sing Stairway to Heaven? I want to climb stairs to heaven and be saved by heaven. But then there’s that bastard Peter waiting at the gates.

“So, what’s your name?”

I’ll say, “my name’s Di.” He’ll pull out his list, take a good look through it, and find my name writing in HUGE, BOLD letters.

“Oh, so you’re Di. Wow. You’ve racked up quite a reputation, Chicken Girl.” And of course, I’ll take offence to that, because I’m quite proud of my chicken title, and I’ll just burst through the gates, towards the huge office God owns all the way in the back. I’ll walk past the hoards of dead people in line, waiting to ask the exact same question. Move aside, I’m not here to ask a question like the meaning of life. No one cares, we all know the answer’s forty-two. My question is far more important. Or, maybe not that important, just different in a very small way.

After about a day or two of pushing past the line, there’s the man himself, sitting in his chair, a smile on his face. I’m inclined to ask as to why he’s smiling, but I push the thought aside. No, I’m asking him this question if it’s the last thing I do.

“Alright God, I know I’m probably not meant to be here in heaven. Or if I was, I’m now going to be directed to hell for pushing past the line. Anyway, I just want to know. Why am I the way I am? Why wasn’t I born normal, or with normal sensibilities? Why the fuck did you make me so fucking weird goddammit?”

And he keeps sitting there, and he keeps smiling, and he says to me, “Well, I made you that way because not everyone should be normal. Normal people keep the world going ‘round at a normal pace, but you see, the weird people like you change the world. It’s yin and yang.”

I stare, and ask, “since when was God a Taoist?”

He shrugs and says, “It makes more sense than Catholiscism ever will. Don’t let others tell you differently. Anyway, I’m feeling nice, so how ‘bout you stay here in heaven? There’s a nice suite right over here…” I shrug and turn back.

“Thanks but no thanks, I’m going back home.”

As I turn to leave, I hear God’s voice yelling back at me, “By the way, the answer to life’s 7! That’s why it’s a lucky number!” Seven…no wonder. Those bastards lied to me! But it’s off to home with me, time to figure out where exactly it was I left off. As I start opening my eyes, I see this huge bright light blinding me. Oh God, oh God, I’m dead, I’m blind, help me Freddie! Wait, I was dead. Now I’m alive again. The light’s just too damn bright. There’s only one place where a light would be like that…and it would be a hospital. Fuck, I’m in the hospital. A doctor’s next to me, even though I’m temporarily blinder than usual.

“Hey Doc, what’s wrong with me?” I can’t quite see, but the doctor’s probably smiling amicably.

“You were tap dancing on a stairway rail. Here, there’s your hat and cane.” Tap dancing? I don’t fucking remember that.

“What was I doing tap dancing?” I ask.

“Witnesses say you were dancing and singing Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven.” Wow, no wonder I made it to heaven! I love you Led! I’d ask you to marry me if you weren’t a fucking pothead! And not already dead from chocking on your own vomit for downing sixteen shots of vodka. Potheads…God I hate potheads. Hey, look at me, I’m doing an illegal drug and getting high and making a fucking asshole of myself! Yeah, so life’s too fucking hard, let’s make it all go away by doing a drug that’ll make you brain dead in ten years, guaranteed. Oh no, it’s much better for you than a cigarette or alcohol. Fuck you, you’re fucking destroying something anyway. A cigarette destroys your lungs. Alcohol destroys your liver. Pot destroys your BRAIN. Do you like being BRAIN DEAD? I sure don’t. In fact, I’d rather die of chocking on my vomit because of too much vodka. Vodka can at least taste good. I can’t taste anything with pot and it just fucks up my head. Go ahead and be brain dead, I sure as fuck won’t be.

Lying in my hospital bed, I hear two guys talking about how a girl’s not sexy if she smokes. “Fuck you two, you fucking hypocrites!” I yell out. God, why is it not acceptable for girls to do some things? Why is it not sexy for a girl to smoke? Because guys do it too? Because it makes her skin wrinkly over the years, because she’ll start coughing and hacking LIKE GUYS WILL TOO? Go fuck yourselves in the asses. I don’t know about most of you, but I’d rather smoke a cigarette than shoot up heroin or crack. People start up on that, and it’s almost impossible for them to get out. They want a way out of it. It’s a similar feeling to what I have now, in my hospital bed.

I want to get out. I don’t know where I’m going or why I’m getting up, but I’m up and walking and heading out the door. I’ll go and go and go and never return. I’ll leap out and fly away, fly like a bird should fly. Why can’t humans fly? I want to at least feel that same sensation. I want to fly and fly and fly. I hate to be trapped in one place, unable to move forward, stagnant and never moving. I hate it. Yet, even if I could fly, I wouldn’t know where I’m going. I’d be lost and directionless, same as always. I hate that too. It’s not as though I need to plan out a direction in life. I just like to know where I’m going, like here in this hospital. At least here there’re signs and words printed everywhere, and I can read where I’m going and see where I’m gong. I’m taking the elevator to the first floor now, and heading out to my car, which is here for some reason, and I’m driving home. But I have no real home. Home’s just a place that I’m still searching for. It’s out there, and I’ll find it someday, but I have no idea when I’ll find it.

As I start driving back to wherever home is, it hits me. Led Zepplin isn’t a person…it’s a band! Fuck, how’d I confuse that one up? I wonder if I can marry a band. Wait, one of the member’s is dead. I can’t marry the whole band. I’d be marrying part of a band, and that just wouldn’t be right. Still though, the way they talk about a stairway to heaven…I wonder if maybe they found a direct path to eternal afterlife nirvana. I didn’t even know that was possible, but this band found it! They had to have found it, otherwise, why else would they write a song about it? It’s like the Elvis Presley conspiracy all over again. And why not? If Elvis can still be alive, than there must be a direct stairway to heaven too. I’d be willing to bet my life on it. Actually, that’s what I’ll do. But where do I start? The song never actually says how to get to the stairway. The song simply mentions it in passing, kind of like how My Chemical Romance managed to make a crappy album and label it “rock opera” in passing. God that was a piece of musical crap.

Scaramouche, scaramouche, shall we do the fandango? My chicken suit tendencies’re still in full swing. Alright then, let’s do the fandango. I figure, though, that the only way to find out for sure where the stairway is, is to die again. I wonder how many people have had the privilege to say that they’re going to die again. Not many people die twice in a row. From what I hear, most people just kick the bucket and stay dead. Not me though. I died, I gave God the ol’ one-two, and I came back. Well, I didn’t really give him the one-two, since I probably wouldn’t have survived that. But I did ask him what I wanted to know and he told me. That, and something perplexed me. God is a Christian deity. So why is he practicing Taoism? What kind of Christian God practices an Asian religion? The only thing that could’ve made it more confusing is if God told me he were Wiccan.

That sealed it for me. I needed answers, and I was going to get ‘em. Now, time to decide how to die. I need to keep my body intact so I can come back, so being run over and things like that were out of the question. Luckily, due to the fact that I wasn’t paying attention to the speed at which I was driving and was too busy listening to Tainted Love by The Clash, I ended up crashing straight through a Starbucks. My brakes were also apparently shot, so I went through not just one Starbucks, but three Starbucks, till finally, my car collided with a pole and it stopped. Damn, I wanted to keep my body intact. Well, all my limbs are still in place. I’ll deal with the collateral later.

So, it’s a stairway to heaven I’m looking for. Therefore, I’m looking for the Christian afterlife. So…why am I reading a sign in Arabic? Where the fuck am I? There’s a man standing next to the sign, so I figure I may as well ask.

“Sir, would you mind telling me where it is I am?” He says nothing, only staring straight at me. I get the feeling he’s a stalker of sorts, so I decide that maybe, just maybe, it’d be a good idea to start running as fast away from him as I possibly could. Thankfully, my feet are one step ahead of me, as I realize that the man is already feet and feet past. But I still don’t know where I am. As I run, I trip on something that’s lying on the ground. I can’t see how, considering I’m running in a place of nothing but flat desert, but as I dig up the thing I tripped over, I realize that it’s a book. What the hell’s a book doing in the sand? I blow off the excess sand on the cover. Finally, the letters make sense to me. It reads “KORAN”. The Koran is for Muslims…which means I’m in the Muslim afterlife. Goddammit! How hard is it to go to the CHRISTIAN afterlife? I was driving my mother’s car! She has a rosary dangling from the review mirror, a statuette of the Virgin Mary on the dashboard, and a cross in the cupholder. It all just screams “I’m a Hispanic Catholic!” And now I’m in Muslim afterlife, which is, thus far, a long-reaching desert with seemingly no end. It must suck to be Muslim. The extremists are all taught that to be granted a path to heaven they have to sacrifice themselves in God’s name, and they get stuck here first.

Wait…I kind of sacrificed myself in God’s name, even though I just died in a car accident. Maybe that’s why I’m here. So, now I know why I’m here, time to figure out how to get moving. And here I’ve been thinking for the past half-hour, that I’ve been completely ignoring the sign that stands right next to me, pointing towards the…well, let’s say north, since I have no idea where I am. Hey, it’s a sign, and as I was always told, if you see a sign, you should follow it. And so I follow. And follow. And follow. Until finally, all energy is sapped from my legs and I’m forced to collapse onto the sand. I can’t move now. And I’m still trapped in the desert. I think I might die here. What a sad and pathetic way to die. But…wait…aren’t I already dead? My eyes snap open, and all of a sudden, I’m not in a desert. I’m in a forest, and a very lush one at that. It’s awesome. But how’d I get here?

“Hey, you’re finally awake!” I jump a little, completely startled. A guy, tall and completely unshaven, hands me a can of soda.

“Here, you look thirsty.” I stare at him.

“Uh…are you Jesus?” He shakes his head.

“No.” I pop open my can of soda.

“Well, if you're not Jesus , than who are you?”

“I'm Jesús.” I stare some more.

“That's the exact same thing as Jesus, only pronounced in Spanish.”

“True! But I am not the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm just a cheap imitation who's been cast away to the outskirts of the various different religious afterlives. I serve as a guide to people who are lost, like you seem to be.” Well, the guy just gave me soda and I’m no longer stuck in some aimless trail along the desert. I think I can take his word for it.

“Fair enough, I guess. I'm not really lost lost though. I'm just trying to find the stairway to heaven, and instead I end up in the Muslim afterlife, what with all the Arabic signs....” Jesús shakes his head.

“No, no, these are the outskirts to the afterlife. Everything's just in Arabic because we don't feel like translating it into English. We're in Eden right now, the gateway to the gateways of the afterlife.” So they have billions of deities of all shapes and sizes, but they can't be bothered to put different languages. Well, it's not that much of a surprise when I think about it. It's kind of like when you go to a Korean airport and everyone's speaking broken Engrish. It's just the inherent laziness in us all. But then I realized something else.

“Hey Jesús...why'd you give me soda? Isn't water healthier?” He shakes his head.

, no no no, you see, soda is the primordial soup of life. One sip is supposed to regenerate all disease and ailments. It's the best thing since sliced bread.” I think I've died and gone to heaven. Well, I'm not in heaven yet. I'm in the outskirts of what could potentially be heaven. But I'm not there yet. Still, if soda is the essential of the afterlife, then I think I can get used to being here.

“So,” I say while standing up, “you seem to be a pretty good guide. Howzabout guiding me to the gate of gates then?” Jesús stands up as well.

“I thought you said you weren't lost. Well, I may as well. Follow me now.” He turns, and begins walking deeper into the forest. As I follow, I'm starting to wonder about this quest of mine. What if it all turns out to be like Dante's Inferno, and I'm being led down the nine layers of Hell? That'd sure be something. I'll wish I were alive again. I hope my body hasn't been buried yet. But, this Jesús guy doesn't seem to be shady. I can trust this dirty hippie. Finally, I see this huge, iron door at the end. I wonder if this hippie can actually open it, but my doubts are unfounded, as he simply pushes it open. I'm still staring, but I come to my senses fairly quickly, seeing as there's no blinding light like there was when I was in the hospital. That was at least one thing to be thankful of. And, to my great disappointment, the entrance of entrances is nothing but a gathering room of more doors, with simple signs at the entrances. Most of them seem to say “Heaven ([this religion's] version)”, but one or two doors say differently, like “Nirvana”.

“This is kind of anticlimatic, don't you think?” I say out loud. Jesús shrugs.

“It's just the entrance. Why bother decorating it if all people do is walk through the appropriate door?” It'd help a little to make the place seem more welcome at the least. But that's not important. “So,” he continued, “where exactly are you headed?”

I looked again at the signs. Not a single one of them was explicitly labeled as “Stairway to heaven”. This could take awhile.

“Well,” I say, “the problem is, I'm looking for the stairway to heaven, and I don't exactly know where that is.” Jesús turns and looks at the signs.

“Hmm...y'know, I've never heard of a stairway to heaven. I don't know if it's supposed to exist, even, especially when you see all the different types of heaven here.” I nod.

“I know. But haven't you ever heard Led Zepplin's song, Stairway to Heaven? If there's a song written about it, there HAS to be an actual stairway somewhere! So, I decided to die again and find it.” Jesús gave me a dubious look, as I somehow expected him to. But he had to listen! And he had to believe! You don't write songs about things that don't exist! There's just no way!

“Well, I think you're crazy and that maybe you should be sent back to your half-mangled body lying in that wreck of a car, but hell, I don't call the shots.” He paused for a second, pulling out a cigar. “Let's go on this crazy adventure of yours.”

Yes! Sweet! Success! I've got an ally now! Victory shall be mine! Heil Zepplin! Or, uh, Freddie. Wait, no, heil me dammit. No one cares about washed-up classic rock bands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yo no sé para otros, pero a mi me gustó mucho.