Friday, January 06, 2006

The Pursuit of Happiness

Everyone prepare to laugh. You have been warned. Like most people, I've always entertained the foolish nebulous intent to write the great American Canadian novel some unspecified day in the future, well aware that I probably never would get around to it. Well, lately, I've been feeling a little stifled. As I put it in a recent e-mail: "My life is unrelenting boredom and fatigue, punctuated by brief periods of reflective misery. Only 35 more years to go, presuming I live that long." So, I decided that I need an outlet for some creative energy, and a way to relax, and writing a foolish novel that noone will ever read seems to fit the bill. So, the above subject line is the title of the novel that I've decided to start writing, in a silly waste of what little free time I have these days. It seems to be working so far though, as I've been writing like a man possessed, and my every spare moment is spent with ideas and scenes bouncing around in my brain, begging to be recorded.

The whole enterprise is of course complete and utter lunacy-- I don't know the first thing about writing a novel, I don't have the drive or the free time to get it done, and even if I finish it noone will ever read it. But I'm going to give it a shot anyway, because I'm an idiot. I'm hoping at the very least that I'm not well-read enough for it to be derivative. I already have a high-level outline and several scenes written.

Anyway, here's a brief summary of the idea:

A group of 5 Caucasian Atlantic Canadian young men (I toyed with a sexually, ethnically, and geographically diverse main cast, but in the end decided to stick with what I know) have jobs that they hate and are feeling directionless and miserable (like I said, writing what I know :-P). They each have several chances to relive their lives (not consciously, so no religion, magic, or science fiction or anything), each time trying to find happiness in different ways. Each set of life stories is told primarily from the POV of one of the main characters in turn, and ends with a final wish by the last remaining character at the moment of his death that provides the theme for the next set of stories.

Here's a short contextless random scene from the fourth set, to give everyone a bit of a feel for it (note that this has gone through zero editing, and hasn't even seen a spell-checker, so it may be rife with errors, although I don't think it's too bad):

[...]

Moments later, as Mitchell was reclaiming his beanbag, the doorbell rang. "I'm not getting it," he said. "I just answered the damn phone-- it's your turn now."

"It's never for me anyway. You get it." countered Marvin.

"What if it's the Chinese food?"

Marvin and Mitchell exchanged a long glance then, each hoping to stare the other into submission, and finally Mitchell said "If it's important, they'll ring a few more times. Let's wait it out."

Just then, a shout came from the door: "I know you lazy assholes are in there-- I can hear you. And if one of you doesn't open this fucking door right now, I'm going to ram it up your ass!"

Marvin, recognizing Gordan's voice, smiled then, and shouted back "That doesn't make any sense!"

"OPEN THE GODDAMNED DOOR!"

Finally, rolling his eyes, Mitchell reluctantly levered himself back out of his cushioned paradise and made his way to the door. The moment he unlocked it, Gordan came barelling into the room as only he can do.

"Why the hell did I even come over here? If I wanted to watch a bunch of lazy assholes sit around and drink themselves stupid, I could have gone into work."

"Work?" replied a surprised Mitchell as he moved to reclaim his seat, only to have Gordan march in front of him and block his way.

"That's right, work. In today's society, people who aren't busy being useless twits can receive compensation for services rendered."

"I thought you said you were going to stop doing any work."

"I did." replied a suddenly sullen Gordan.

"And?"

Gordan heaved a big sigh and said "They gave me a grade of 'Satisfactory' on my annual performance evaluation. Satisfactory! I haven't done anything but read webcomics for three months, and apparently the government is satisfied with that."

"Why don't you just quit?" tossed in Marvin without taking his eyes from the television screen.

"Did you not hear what I just said? I just got paid for three months of reading webcomics. I don't want to be there, but if they want to throw money at me for doing nothing, I'm certainly not going to stop them."

Gordon then finally stopped to take in the room, noticed Marvin's preoccupation with the television, and asked "What the hell are you guys doing, anyway?"

"We're competing to see who can get the highest Pitfall score before we get sick of it" replied Marvin, gesturing towards the dust-laden Atari 2600 sitting on top of the television. "It hasn't happened yet."

"Awesome" said a now-calm Gordan, and flopped down onto the beanbag chair just in time to thwart Mitchell's attempt to do the same. "I'll have a glass of orange juice. No pulp."

"Coming right up" was Mitchell's icy reply as he stared daggers at an apparently oblivious Gordan for a long moment before giving up and going to the kitchen to fetch his juice. But it was going to be mostly pulp, damn it!

[End scene]

So, that's what I'm up to these days. I would like to say that despite what the above might seem to imply/explicitly state (:-P), I do like my job. I'm just feeling a little bored and directionless as of late, is all.

Also, to end with, there's some good entertainment news as of late. Jon Stewart will be hosting this year's Oscars. The bad news is that that means I'll have to remember to watch the damn Oscars this year.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Aiden McAiden said...

I'd read your book. But only because i enjoy reading, and i love canadian work.

Friday, January 06, 2006 1:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Vern said...

Whoa, right a novel? Already got things planned out for it?? Already written scenes of it???
Damnit Jordan, that's not directionless! Now you make me feel even more directionless, not that you and everyone else I'm friends with haven't already done so.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:10:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

Never reveal big plans like this. It'll jinx ya! It jinxes me all the time anyway. Jinx is a legitimate physical force, by the way. In the future, when firmly established by the academic community, it will be measured in Nathans.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:59:00 PM  
Blogger Stefan Robak said...

It should turn out that their all the same guy at the end. That would seriously roxors. :P ~_~

Anyhoo, good luck with that. I keep wanting to write fiction but am too fucking lazy to do it appaerently. I got lots of great ideas (i my humble opinion) but suck when it comes to getting them down. But still, writing reviews and workin' on that there radio show give me a good outlet for my creative (er... well, critical) energies.

Also, I'm VERY excited about the Jon Stewart news. Unfortunately, it now means I have to watch the oscars.

Friday, January 06, 2006 3:26:00 PM  

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