Friday, December 9, 2011

jesus year

this is it. i'm now 33. that means i'm the age jesus was when he was crucified. i mean, supposedly...i dunno who came up with this idea, or how, but it's now a popularly held belief among christians of many stripes. prolly cuz 3 is such a magic number. you know, all that stuff about the trinity...
anyway, in thinking about this idea, you know, equating myself with jesus and all, (heh) i could say the past two years of my life have been nomadic, moving around talking to folks about how to live life, discovering things about myself, finding ways of interacting with people inside that self, putting experiences on the compost heap for later on when they have matured into ideas ready to nourish stories. and if that wasn't what much of jesus' ministry was about, i'm not christian. (then again, i never purported to be, i just grew up catholic...)
this fall, becoming settled into my work after all that wandering, is the first time i've felt like i can actually make some real shit happen in my life. at least, in my writing life. forget the rest of it. job: i have one, it's fine, whatever. relationship: who needs one. housing: on temporary lockdown via renting cuz ownership is further off than i'd hoped, but at least i can check it off the list of things to worry about. family: nearby, hallelujah. friends: either scattered but available thru fun avenues like the post office and short trips, or near enough to have a beer with once in a while when i can't stand occupying just my own headspace anymore. all these things are taken care of.
but my writing life is another story. within that are the job, the relationship, that i need to put some real work into, the place i need to inhabit as much as humanly possible, the family and friends i've neglected for so long. starting in force last month with this concept of getting shit done where it needs to get done, on the page, has been incredibly eye-opening. mostly in the realms of: 'oh, shit. i can actually do this.'
which is cause for both celebration and further motivation, like, 'all right, vanek, it's clearly time to get it together and make a real effort. this year you better get out there and do what you need to do. no excuses anymore. time to make something happen.'
in thinking that it's at least somewhat fitting to call this my 'jesus year', this statement is possibly something similar to what jesus would have said to himself on the eve of his last big push to make his ministry count. a lot happened that last year of his life. i mean, he got to the point of raising folks from the dead for christ's sake. (heh) and the fact that he was killed meant that he was a success, really. but here there is no 'or else' at the end of my pep talk to myself, no real correlation to crucifixion on the horizon, unless i want to equate getting published with getting killed in the most excruciating and drawn-out way possible. (which i'm going to refrain from doing, if only for my own mental health)
which isn't to say my goal for the year is to get published. really, it's just to finish at least one goddamned project that i've started. and i mean, to the final draft, finish. cuz putting words on paper isn't actually the hard part, it's shaping them into something readable. which, i'm starting to realize, is harder to do the longer your piece of writing is.

i had this moment last week, tho, that was pretty stellar. felt a bit like jesus might have (or maybe just the narrator in this zine). i was at my friend az's house for a short story club night, where we all bring food/drink and sit around and listen to everyone read a short story. as in, each of us picks something to read for the evening, and then we take turns reading aloud to everyone else. it's a great night. and though most people bring things by published authors (greats like nabokov and dahl and steinbeck and tina fey and many others), az asked me to read something from this goddamned novel i'm working on. so i read the eulogy scene i posted a few weeks ago. now it's basically a monologue, written to be spoken to people. to move them, if you will. and i love reading aloud and prolly put more than a little performance into it. but when i finished reading the last line, there was this moment of silence. a glorious, reverent, silent acknowledgment of my work that was one of the more heady things i've experienced in a long time. not that the audience's reaction to my work was any different than that of any of the other stories, but just feeling the entire room of people thinking about what i'd read to them felt really marvelous. like i had a super power. like i could change the world somehow. like i said, it was heady. (read that as me getting a big head if you want, that's okay, i've already likened it to feeling like jesus) but in a good way.
point is, it's pretty obvious when you get something right. even if it's just something small. enough small things in a row and you've got something big. finishing this novel this year is not impossible. it's actually a hell of a lot easier than starting a brand new religion (we don't even need to mention the possible raising from the dead moment).

so yeah. this, my 33rd year means realizing that 'what would jesus do' were he in my place = write like a motherfucker.