Thursday, September 21, 2006

more writing stuff

this post has actually been in the boiling process for over a month now, but it reaches a new timely relevance with Tobie's latest posts...
so I'd like to tell you all a story, which may explain somehting abt how I relate to my characters, when I write fiction.

one Shabbat, several of my friends and I were staying at a sister's apartment, and all three of us were in one room. somebody said "Hey, it's like a slumber party! we should tell ghost stories!" only the other two punked out and made it my turn. so I attempted to tell the only ghost story I remember with any real clarity from my childhood, and botched it in the following manner.

most of you should be familiar with the tale. lone youngish Guy driving down a deserted highway late one night, sees a young Girl walking along the side of the highway and offers to drive her home. bc you know, not safe to walk along the deserted highway alone at night; you might get picked up by a random stranger. so, he sees she's shivering and gallantly offers her his jacket, which she gratefully accepts. drives her up to a nice old hoiuse and drives away, only then realizing she's still got the jacket. "No big deal," he thinks, "I know where she lives, I'll go back for it tomorrow." he goes back the next day, and a little old couple answer the door. when told the story of the girl and the jacket they insist they're daughter's been dead for ten years. "But that's impossible! I drove her home last night, I tell you! the girl's got my jacket!" they send him to the cemetary for proof, and sure enough, there lies his jacket on her grave.

but it had been awhile since ghost story days, and the way I told it was this. so, Guy is driviing along the road, late at night, sees Girl, offers her a ride. he takes her home and -wait, the jacket....oh yeah, something about the jacket, that was important...ok, so she left her jacket in his car. I don't know why, I bc of the heating in the car? bc the night was definitely dark and this point in the narrative I can feel the dead Girl sort of turn around and give me a look like "why am I wearing a jacket? and why am I taking it off and leaving it here?" but she does as I, the omnipotent narrarator, have forced her to do, glancing at me askance as she walks up the walkway to her house. Guy thinks it a little odd also, but he doesn't know why yet, so he just sort of shrugs it off. anyway, a little while away, Guy realizes she's left her jacket in his car. he thinks, no big deal, I know where she lives, I can go back tomorrow and return it. so he goes back the next morning and knocks on the door and the little old couple answer, and he says "Hi, I gave your daughter a ride last night and she left her jacket in my car." and they look a little confused bc they're not supposed to know anything about a jacket, and what is the jacket doing there? the jacket looks sort of confused too, but it can't lift its head to look at me funny. the little old couple insist that their daughter is dead and has been dead for ten years, as they're supposed to. Guy is now getting frustrated as well as confused. "But I drove her home! look, I have her jacket! I'm just trying to return the jacket!" but the couple doesn't know why he wants to give them this jacket, and he doesn't know why he's trying so hard to give the stupid jacket to a little old couple who clearly don't want it and the jacket doesn't know why its in this scene at all, since its entire creative purpose was destroyed the moment he got left in the car. the characters struggle thusly for a bit - "Take the jacket!" "Our daughter's dead!" "Just take the jacket!" "our daughter's dead!" - until I finally realize they're kind of in a stalemate, so I have the old man say "look, just - I mean if you don't believe us, why don't you go to the cemetary and see for yourself?" and slams the door, thus effectively moving guy to the final frame of the story where he's supposed to be although no one is sure why anymore. so he goes to the cemetary and sure enough...she's dead.

and that's how I end the story, with guy all confused, first abt the deadness, and second abt the jacket, which he eventually frustratedly leaves on her grave, bc he senses somehow that that is where it was supposed to be and nothing else made any sense anyway.

we all had a good laugh at my expense once I figured out where the story went wrong and fixed it. I guess the point is that sometimes I do make my characters do things, but they usually don't like it if it's not what they're supposed to be doing. and that never works out well for anybody, in the end.


Blogger daarkthoughts627 said...

miri-you are sooo funny! seriudly, i can't believe how badly you messed that story up!

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Hehe I enjoy that story. Funny to read it in print too. :-P

11:30 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

"Take the jacket!" "Our daughter's dead!" "Just take the jacket!" "our daughter's dead!"

Most. Beautiful. Dialogue.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

You committed one of the major sins of story-telling: not reviewing in your head before launching into the tale. Although, I do admit that your version is funnier.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

that's what I think. at least now I have a story about a story. it actually involves three stories if you think abt it - the one I'm telling, the one I'm supposed to be telling within the story I'm tellng, and the one I'm actually telling within the story I'm telling. I'm just having way too much fun with the meta here.

12:18 AM  

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