My mother always wanted me to write a novel. I always dismissed it out of hand, because I know I am just too lazy and impatient. But since I don’t want to admit to that publicly, I have decided to blame it on not being quirky enough … at least not for a writer of novels.
While I love the process of writing, I am frequently put off by what book authors have to do. There is the fact that I dislike research, which the best novelists always do a ton of. Then the whole idea of squirreling myself away in my room ever day for years, writing from dawn to dusk, makes me a tad claustrophobic.
You also have to want to type it all on a 1940 Royal Deluxe. That fantasy bit the dust when I got a D in my high school typing class, cinched later by arthritis in my fingers. You apparently ought to have a glass of good whiskey on hand as well.
The best I could do would be tequila shots and, after two or three, I can scarcely talk, much less write. I have found it is hard to type when you can’t find your hands.
I suspect it helps to live somewhere that makes you want to stay indoors and be cerebral, like North Dakota in January or Louisiana
in August. Southern California, five miles from the beach, is as good, or bad, as a Siren’s call.
I could dress quirkily, I suppose. Some think I already dress oddly, but it leans toward boring. I would need to don hats or headscarves, bias-cut skirts, overdone makeup, weird sandals and shawls in mismatched colors. I fear I would be so busy pushing my headscarf out of my eyes as it slipped off my head, I’d get nothing done. And the time needed for overdone makeup — false eyelashes, at the least — would eat up the whole day.
Maybe I could do a Miss Havisham look, with one tattered wedding dress for all occasions and just one shoe. But my feet get cold. Maybe I could do weird boots.
That leaves simply behaving in a more quirky manner. First, let’s remember that I live in Southern California in the era of our mentally ill living on the streets, and regular road rage. You have to really step it up around here to be considered quirky.
I already talk to myself — out loud — on a regular basis, but I’m allergic to cats. And I have heard that excessive quirkiness tends to lose you friends and make people keep their distance, which would just leave me talking to myself more, not writing. The time I spent whimpering could be considered quirky, but highly unproductive.
Sorry, Mom. There will be no novel from me. Really, I am far too content reading the novels of the host of wonderful writers, quirky or otherwise, who are already out there working. It would be just silly of me to take time away from reading them to try and add to the stack by your bed. I’m content to just fill your down time at the car wash.
Still, I might give those headscarves a try.
Jean Gillette is the Community News editor for The Coast News Group. As a journalist, she primarily worked in San Clemente and Los Angeles. She has been with the Coast News for 20 years and lives in La Costa.