The Writing Life — The Big Shrug: One Man’s Delusion Is Another Man’s Dream

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Editor’s Note: I really am writing a novel. And I generally do writing like this when I’m feeling completely overwhelmed and need to release some stress. So, please, don’t get spooked by this post because I mention Alexa Chung’s name, for fuck’s sake. I’m extremely harmless. Leave me alone and let me work on my novel in peace.

The more serious I become with this novel, the less I care about anything but producing the best tale I can. I don’t care about any possible eventual interest by Hollywood (ha!), I don’t care about preening on Twitter about how many words I may have written. I just care about pushing myself to my creative limits.

One thing is for sure — I have a lot of difficulty taking myself too seriously. It’s just not in my nature not to giggle when a “normal’ person with an actual traditional career sniffs that I’m too big a loser to help in any shape, form or fashion. I’m thinking, of course, of Jodi Kantor’s recent polite but clipped 1 line email response to me. I didn’t want much of her time — maybe five minutes at the most — but she made it very, very clear that I was a complete waste of ANY of her time and good day to you good sir.

My female romantic lead looks like Alexa Chung
Has Jodi Kantor’s career drive..
…and would probably be played in the movie adaptation (if there was one, ha!) by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Generally, anything idea for the novel that makes me laugh — even if it’s actually rather dark or serious — I put in. So, I’ve decided to study Ms. Kantor as best I can so I can, at least in terms of her career and public persona — reproduce those two things in my female romantic lead. So, in a sense, while in real life I can’t even get her to help me in any way, in my fevered novel’s phantasm, she’s going to fall in love with the proxy-me Hero. Haha! Ms. Kantor is rather intense, to say the least. But any inspiration she’s giving me for the character I have in mind is simply how someone like her thinks about the world. I’m not really using her appearance or personal life — just her professional life and maybe her demeanor.

This novel is completely for me at this point. I’m throwing my heart, soul and nearly complete personal history into it. I know a little bit about a whole lot of things — my knowledge base is extremely wide but rather shallow. I can have a cocktail party conversation with virtually anyone about virtually anything. Or, at least, I like to think so.

Anyway, I don’t know. I’m putting as much work as I can into this novel. Only time will tell if anyone else cares.

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