Monday, October 19, 2015

My Great American Novel

I imagine we all have one waiting to be written, yes? (Well, substitute American for the country of your choice). Why don’t we write it?
1)    We’re lazy.
2)    We have no talent.
3)    We have to feed our family.
4)    Printer ink is too expensive.
Today, the ending for my perfect novel descended upon me like a beatific vision. But the distance between the vision and the work is a few hundred light years and… well, see number 1 above.
So I’m going to make you work out the details, in an Orff-style interactive cooperative novel-writing approach. You choose the characters, the relationships, the settings, the situation according to your whims and preferences. But I’ll claim the ending as my TM copyright intellectual property which you must vow not to steal, even if you put in the 10,000 hours to flesh out the details. Deal?
Okay. Here’s the premise. Two people are intimately connected to each other, their lives inextricably intertwined like two wisteria plants blooming on the same trellis. They are:
1)    He and he.
2)    She and she.
3)    He and she.
4)    T and T (transgender)
They are:
1)    Friends
2)    Lovers
3)    Siblings
4)  Two GPS voices
They live in:
1)    Upper Sandusky
2)    Lower East Side
3)    Middle America
4)    A cardboard box
After many adventures and deep bonding experiences, they get separated by:
1)    War
2)    Famine
3)    Rising property values
4)    Confusion about whether they were supposed to meet in this Starbucks or that Starbucks and are still wandering around from one to the other.
Here most of the novel follows them through their attempts to find each other, their deep despair and feeling of being lost with the other, the regrets that they cheated at Boggle and never confessed to the other, that they should have met at Heidi’s bakery instead of Starbucks. They grow increasingly despondent knowing that they may never see each other again. (Choose the time frame here—5 years, 25, 50).
Independently, both of them join in hopes of locating the other and spend hours in front of screens in a search that leads nowhere. And then against all odds, fate finds them walking towards each other in:
1)   An airport, just as they’re each about to board a plane to a faraway country and never return.
2)    In Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
3)    At Burning Man. Naked.
4)    In the Starbucks where they were first supposed to meet.
Now, since all books these days are screenplays in our heads, we can picture this moment in the movie, the music swelling, the tension growing as the camera pans out to first one and then the other approaching each other from a distance. This is it! The moment they (and the readers) have been waiting for.
But wait! Something is terribly wrong. While they’re walking, each has their head down looking at their cell phone, reading a text from a friend who is bored and asking “Whassup?” They get closer…and closer… and closer…they lightly brush shoulders without noticing, heads down looking at their phone and then… keep walking past and away from each other while texting to their friends, “Dunno, Whassup w.u?”
And they never see each other again.
The End.
1.     Do you think the author of this piece has an issue with cell phones?
2.     Why or why not?
3.     Have you ever thought about what you’re missing when you look at that damn screen every spare second of your life?
4.     Why or why not?
5.     Are you reading this Blog on your cell phone?
6.     Why or why not?
7.     Discuss.

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