Have you ever started to say something, realized what a mistake you were making, and then successfully finished the sentence in another direction?
Yeah, me neither. I mean, I’ve tried, but even when I’ve stuttered my way through a semi-coherent replacement sentence, there’s always that feeling that the person listening can see right through me.
They must be thinking, He paused. He blushed. That sentence barely made sense. What was he really going to say?
Don’t believe me? An example:
Camp Host Chad smiled, certain he was about to make a hilarious pun. “Hey,” he said, “do you ever feel like a giant as…”
Then he paused, noticing his friend’s impressionable children listening in, and thought to himself, <Uh-oh… Thorns ahead!>
He scrambled to think of something giant. Something innocent. Like a player on the $20,000 Pyramid game show, he told himself, <Say something you find in a church!>
“…er, um, giant organ?”
<Yikes! That’s ten times worse. They all look confused. I can still fix this! I’ll play dumb and obscure everything with nonsense.>
“No! Wait! No! I meant giant asterisk!”
Remember how Charles Dickens used to publish his books AS he wrote them? If not, let me refresh you.
He would write the beginning, publish in a newspaper or a magazine, write the next few chapters, publish (sustaining the weekly or monthly schedule), repeating until reaching the end of the story, then all would be republished in book format, one masterpiece after another without revisions or a chance to go back and fix what no longer worked.
What I wrote? Waaaayyyy too complicated! I couldn’t reach a satisfactory ending! (Unrelated fact: Dickens was paid by the word, and I write for free.)
My theory = Charles Dickens wrote a whole bunch of “starter stories” that they maybe even published but he never resolved. More resilient orphans, Easter ghosts, the conflicts and romances between neighboring haberdashery and millinery shops — who knows what classics have been abandoned mid-telling?
(Next unrelated fact/opinion: “A Tail of Two Kitties” would have made a purr-fect alternative story. See?)
Anyway, I tried to connect the following photos and failed, so I’m either abandoning them or starting over.
(Do you see it now? Music, fish, and storytelling. They relate — I just know it!)
There will likely be no conclusion to what I previously wrote. Sorry, friends.