Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cutting the Carrot

     I was at a hockey game last night with some people when Gone With the Wind stated "You could write about cutting a carrot and we would all be [rapt]"  She didn't actually say that they'd all be rapt but she made a face like she was staring at a computer screen and couldn't look away.  So I interpreted that as they were rapt with attention at what I had to say.  Bad mistake, everyone.  But I decided that I would take up that challenge and write about cutting a carrot.  And it would be good.
     Yeah, I am an idiot.  See, I've been thinking pretty hard about how to make cutting a carrot interesting.  I even slept on it.  And I still haven't managed to come up with a good way to go about it.  I mean, come on.  It's cutting a carrot.  There is nothing interesting about the act itself.  Even if you are going to Julienne the damn thing it's still not that fascinating.  Seriously.  One might as well be scrubbing rocks or watering a plant.
     I did come up with a lot of ideas though about how to make cutting a carrot worth reading about.  I really did.  But every one of them  seemed lame and contrived.  See, that's the problem that writers have had for ages.  A select few have come about a way of working systematically at their craft, pounding out books and literary works after hours of working machine-like at a desk in their house in the Adirondacks.  But I am not a writer.  I can't do that.  I can't work to manufacture something that's great.  It just sort of has to happen.  It's sort of like a volcano.  When you manufacture one, it's made out of baking soda and vinegar and it just bubbles all over the floor of the science classroom.  But when a volcano just happens, Mt. St. Helens-style as a force of nature, well that is spectacular.
     So I was sort of waiting around, going about my business, and waiting for spectacular to happen.  But it didn't.  It hasn't.  And I doubt it will.  Do you know why?  I know why.  Because I am thinking about it.  I am trying to manufacture it.  I am using the wrong part of my brain to go about it still.  Because I am coming up with idea after idea that I am thinking about as opposed to just doing.  So nothing gets done.
     I thought about doing it as a big story where the carrot is an international spy who ends up being sliced in half by the bad guys, sort of making it a fiction through the viewpoint of vegetables.  But yes, I came to realize that the idea really was as lame as it sounds.  I thought about using it as a metaphor for logging or cutting down a tree because carrots seem to have rings but what the hell would that accomplish, right?  So no go on that business. 
     I briefly considered going about it Dr. Spankenbottom-style.  During his time working at a casino, he once wrote an incident report about running a dime through a machine that doesn't count dimes, except that he wrote it from the viewpoint of the dime.  He wrote it like it was a fantastical journey.  It was pretty cool.  So I thought about doing that.  Maybe from the viewpoint of the knife.  Or the carrot.  But I just couldn't get it to click.  So in the end I decided to just do what I always do and say what was going on in my head.  And I know, it's seems like it's as contrived and planned upon as any other idea, but that's not the issue.  The question is, did it work? 

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