Tracy Marchini

Existential Problem Solvers, At Your Service


Did you know that running in oppressive humidity will solve just about anything, including writer’s block, crises of the existential and the dreaded ‘case of the Mondays?’

I’ve been having a severe block in regards to my current project. The characters are supposed to be witty best-friends, but every time I read the draft their playful banter doesn’t come off quite as benign as it should. It seems like they’re more “frienemies” than “friends.”

So this weekend was all about finding inspiration. Saturday morning I read The New Yorker in the park and sketched a few ideas for Tuesday’s class, but didn’t write a word. In the afternoon I ended up playing an hour long single hand of Uno, but that didn’t inspire much either… except for some taunting from the winner.

Sunday, we went to the Dragon Boat Festival, and then found ourselves in front of a shrine wherein we were told that the world was supposed to come to an end in 1997, but due to worldwide reaction, we were granted a reprieve. The end is coming though, because of condoms and pornography. I learned that conditional prophecies are an excellent rhetorical device – if the world blows up, I was right. If the world doesn’t, it’s because I saved it!

We went to the Met, and browsed the “Model as Muse” exhibit. I was looking at these ornate gowns and thinking about the fantasy that the gowns evoked, and how much fun it would be to create something like that. But writing fiction is to evoke fantasy, and most writers don’t have to worry about their protagonists sneaking off to do coke in the bathroom.

Afterwards, Antlers and I went to see Julie & Julia and I realized that Julie’s story is probably the dream of every query letter I read (and let’s be honest, every query letter I write), and some of them will be published, and maybe a lucky one or two of those will be best-sellers, but the majority will not. But it felt very odd to see it portrayed on film, because Julie’s narrative arc felt very weak, especially compared to Julia Child’s. (Is it possible that Julie & Julia, which was good, but not earth-shattering, was responsible for Monday at 3:30?)

I was also handed Calamity and Other Stories by Daphne Kalotay, which I finished last night and enjoyed.

This morning, two things happened:

1.) I realized that my characters in the work in progress don’t like each other much right now. And that could be okay. But I think the bigger problem is that I like the sidekick more than the protagonist, and that could be an issue.

2.) I had an idea for a short story, and wrote out two pages on the subway this morning.

Crisis solved!

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2009 by in Uncategorized and tagged , .

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