Andy’s October of Suckage: Day 15
Blah blah, late post, socked nuts…
I’ve been trying to locate a copy of a short story (~5000 words, I think) originally created for an English class back in 1998. I called it Paranoia, and it was essentially the diary of a madman.
Thanks to Hotmail’s old “log in regularly or your email archive goes away” policy, my 4 subsequent moves, and possible lending to an ex-girlfriend along the way I’m not even sure a copy still exists in the world except the general structure and some details that live on in my melon.
I’d probably be embarrassed to read it now anyways. I’m not saying 32 year-old Andy is a better writer than 21 year-old Andy, just that 32 year-old Andy is probably better at recognizing shit writing. I have read Digital Fortress in the meantime, after all.
Still, there’s a little voice in the back of my head that tells me I should rework Paranoia and see if I can get published in some shitty little dead-tree magazine. The reasons are complex.
My mom read it a decade ago and called to ask if I was feeling alright and if I should maybe talk to somebody.
My dad read it and immediately offered suggestions on polish and pacing.
There was a frustrated novelist locked somewhere behind his wall of self-doubt; big ideas he never quite finished, beautiful stories he never quite sold. I found a bunch of his ideas and work after he passed, and it reminded me of how alike we were in just about every way.
He didn’t see Paranoia as a cry for help. I wrote a weird little story and he understood it. I wanted to create something and I wanted others to experience what I had made. I wanted to mindfuck the world.
He got that. I think he saw something of himself in it.
He wanted to tell the tale of a stubborn garden worm that refused to bend in spite of all logic and reason. I think it was my favorite children’s story, and I think 2 children in the world have had it read to them.
I’ve had a lot of interesting ideas pop into my head. I have notes and scraps and the best intentions. I also have a thousand other things that I can distract myself with, a distaste for the grind of typing for hours and hours, and probably every drop of insecurity that used to run through my father’s veins.
I don’t know if I’ll ever find Paranoia in its original form, and I’m certain my dad’s notes on it are gone for all time.
If it’s lost, though, I’ll rebuild it.
Before the end of the year you guys are going to be subjected to something heinous.