Plot of the NaNoWriMo Novel That I Didn’t Write

As dictated on October 30, 2011, to Dragon Naturally Speaking.

“I’m thinking about the San Francisco story that would probably be written in prose. I really do wonder if I could do this as a NanoWriMo thing. Although I don’t think it would be a novel so I guess is no real point in working within that limitation. I really don’t know how long it would be. But I’m thinking about emulating Catcher in the Rye, in that it would follow someone in San Francisco through relatively short period of time, either a day or a few days, and it’s probably inevitable that the character would be relatively autobiographic because that would be truest and easiest and that would work best. So if I’m doing a day-in-the-life story, it needs to be purposeful as to why this day is worth telling and I need to arrive at a destination that is worth the attention of the reader, meaning that the main character has to have some sort of realization or cathartic moment, although it can’t be too stupid or cliché.

“It could be really cliché to start this waking up and getting out of bed in the morning but that’s the first thing that comes my mind, or at least the morning commute to work, with a four-hour shift in the morning. And [after work, which is dull] he would go get a cup of coffee, or get lunch, and maybe over hear the table next to him, or is people-watching in North Beach at the café, and he overhears something that strikes him. Or either in place of that or in addition to it, he would meet someone that he’s working with on a project; let’s say that he’s writing a film project, but the conversation with his friend drifts toward something larger, maybe a critique of the school or the creative process or the institutionalized creative process, and will probably talk about girls and if the friend is a guy. There’d be room for a lot of humor between them.

“Maybe at this point he goes down to the Mission [a neighborhood in San Francisco], maybe gets another cup of coffee, and takes the long walk home, and there could be an amount of internal dialogue while he sees things on the street. And I suppose that would be leading up to some kind of dinner, maybe it’s a date, an informal date, seeing a girl but it’s very casual, and perhaps it goes okay, the dinner conversation, although okay isn’t very interesting I suppose, something has to happen or they run into someone or there is a disagreement between them, and perhaps at some point she calls him out about how aloof he is and how guarded he is, and about how much he’s using his own casual wit and whimsy as an emotional shield, which makes him behave almost like a talkshow host, like Johnny [Carson], who managed to be very likable, but still completely unknown and unrevealing and impersonal, in some regards.

“And after dinner I want him to go to the bars, although I don’t know if it’s with the same girl with someone else, maybe he calls a friend after leaving the girl. Maybe this is an old friend that he has gone to school with and known for many years. And it is possible that this is the moment at which his guard is down, briefly, with this old friend, a few drinks deep, hunched over the bar. But from this low point, you must slingshot towards an optimistic future. He wallows in his self-pity and general absence of joy in that moment, and in that he reawakens, to realize the freedom and luck that he has had, and continues to have, reinforcing a certain deep-rooted confidence in his own outlook, and general appreciation for what he does have.

“And following that there are more drinks and more of his friends show up in the night, and the night plays like a movie the more that he drinks, stepping clumsily into the night, arriving at some place where there’s music, and sarcastically, amusingly dancing with a girl, perhaps a friend of one of his friends, the music slows late into the night near last call and they are together with their arms around each other, slowly dancing. Any it pains him to be as drunk as he is, because he didn’t want to be, though in the moment it doesn’t matter, though he hates how much the world is spinning and such. And the lights go on and the music stops and everyone says goodbye, and he goes off with the girl down the street; they’re both propping each other up, holding each other, laughing and laughing, and it seems like a grand adventure, a grand, swell time, trying to look for the bus, or a taxi, or whatever, and after failing to find the bus they do reach home and such is all.

“In the morning they would both be deeply in pain from the previous night’s inebriation. And in this pain, lying around aching, he realizes that hey, I’m okay. And there is rebirth in this, through feeling like death, there is rebirth.”

It’s embarrassing to read this self-aggrandizing autobiography at a distance. But I’ll leave it here.

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