Friday, May 27, 2011

Writing is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates Meme

I have been TAGGED, y'all, by the nefarious Party Pony, one Miss Jenny Phresh!  And in turn, I tag Lori, L.J. Boldyrev, and Robyn Lucas.

The assignment, should I choose to accept it (under threat of violence if I do not, I might add) was to take the phrase “Writing is like . . .” and finish it. Post it on my blog. Tag three others to do the same. That is all.  The end, finito.

Oh, but apparently you can't say writing is like a box of chocolates.

Now, my second thought upon receiving this assignment was to say:

Writing is like Cormac McCarthy's The Road - wild and fraught with peril, beginning at the end of a world and ending at the beginning of one, and occasionally along comes a Viggo Mortensen to star in the movie version and that makes everything better because he takes his shirt off a lot.

HOWEVER.  That way threatened to lead me to deep and profound thoughts, and that scared me!  So we're going with my first thoughts upon receiving this assignment.

Which, because I am a contrary little bitch, was to say, but wait!  Writing IS like a box of chocolates!

Let's examine this for a minute, shall we?

You receive two packages, unasked for, unexpected.  One a shiny red box of chocolates, another a shiny new book idea.

They lie there, tempting, inviting, but still unopened - because both are oh so bad for you.  Both will lead to intense highs of sugar and excitement and adrenaline - and plummeting lows of exhaustion, regret and self-flagellation.  Sleepless nights are soon to follow, filled with neurotic fears as to the maximizing of your glutius and the preponderance of your adverbs.  This is not the time to be opening such Pandora's boxes.  You have that new dress to squeeze into, or That Other Thing soon to demand all your time and attention, with no room for the distractions of a novel. 

But you are weak, or the boxes powers' of temptation are too strong.

And you open them.

And reach inside.

You start with something familiar, the devil you know.  Just one piece of milk chocolate, just a little paranormal fantasy, enough to take the edge off, but still easy, not dangerous.

But absorbed in savoring that little piece of chocolatey goodness, that 'short fiction' piece of paranormal fluff, you blindly reach for another.  You're not quite sated yet, and surely one more can't hurt, right?

You grab without looking and pop it in your mouth - and ooh, its coconut!  A hint of sci fi!  How unexpected!  But not unwelcome - it complements the previous flavors quite nicely, you find, even though you never would have thought to add that in on your own.

Now curious to see what else this magical box of surprises can offer you, you reach for another piece.  It's indefinable, an explosion of flavors you can't easily identify, but they're all enjoyable enough so you shrug and don't complain.  Maybe opening this box wasn't such a bad idea after all!  THIS time will be different from all those OTHER times before!

One more piece leads to three more after that, and you're starting to feel quite full but you can't stop now!  There are wonders yet to be discovered!  You bite down into something with a crunch, and its pecan and ooh, how did that get in there!  But it fits!  It works!  Baby, you're on a roll!

And then you find that weird piece.  The one you just don't know what they were thinking when they came up with it in the lab, and its gross, and nasty, and doesn't belong at all.  But its too late, you've bitten into the witch's poisoned apple and that taste isn't going away any time soon.  That odd bit of horror that has no place in your paranormal fantasy has wormed its way deep into the heart of the plot.  A simple mouth rinse isn't going to wash it free.

Frantically, you grab a handful of the flavors you know and love, no longer worried about any other possible consequences in your desperation to rid yourself of that awful taste.  You'll drown it out!  Bury it beneath an avalanche of chocolatey genre goodness!  You cram characters and plot twists and genre tropes in with reckless abandon!  Come one, come all!  There's room for everyone!

But then bloating sets in.  And cramps.  You start to feel quite queasy.  Clearly, this wasn't a good idea at all but you've come too far.  You've got to ride the sick feeling out.  You suck it up and grab some water, a cleansing, healthy distraction.  Spend some time with the hubby and kids.  Welcome back to civilization.  It missed you.

But the boxes still lie half open on your desk.  Unfinished.  More tastes left to savor.  You know better.  You really, truly do.  But you can't find it in yourself to just walk away, just discard them in the trash.  Think of all those starving children in third world countries or those poor would-be writers that would love to write a book but can never seem to come up with an idea.  How can you just reject these treasures that have been offered to you free of charge?  How can you turn them away when others would kill for just a taste from that box you're so casually thinking of discarding?  What kind of ungrateful louse are you?

Once more, reluctantly this time, out of obligation rather than desire, you reach into the boxes.  You're going to finish what you started, dammit.  Even if your ass will never be the same.  The queasy feelings have abated somewhat, and you can do this.  You've learned your lesson, you'll take it slow.  One piece at a time.  Pace it out.  Don't get too caught up, less is more.

There are still bitter pieces to swallow, but you power through them, determined to let nothing go to waste.  There's not a lot of the good pieces left, you plowed through most of them early on in your initial binge - you kick yourself for your lack of foresight, NEXT time you vow you'll start with the bad flavors first and save the best for last.  But wait - next time?  What are you saying!?!  There's not going to BE a next time, you know better than to ever accept such a 'gift' again!

But even as you say it, you know its a lie.


  1. Haha! Only you can break the rule.

    That was hilarious, and true. =)

  2. OMG I knew someone would break the rule. But I had no idea they would make me laugh this much.


  3. Oh Kalen, you come up with the best slogans and I'm not even sure you're trying. I'm thinking there needs to be a line of 'I am a contrary little bitch' notebooks or something. Good call on the writing is actually like a box of chocolates, though.
    - Sophia.

  4. Great post! Totally feeling the bloating and cramps. Writing sucks so badly some times and others it makes you feel like you've just scaled Mount Everest...
    So I guess my post next week would be "Writing is... an introduction to a bipolar personality"


  5. I like how you turned this one cleverly on its head! Or on its chocolate-fattened posterior? (I was away so sorry for my comment silence!)

  6. Did you know I was consumed by a bright, shiny new idea this weekend? I'll try to heed your warnings.

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  8. Sorry! Messed up the first one...

    Ah, Kalen. You are the master of skullduggery; such skill with the metaphors, too! And darned if I don't want to go munch down on some new shiny chocolates now. Instead, I'll go back to my rewrites. Sigh. On the upside, regurgitated chocolate has it's charms ... it's not as fattening the second time around.

    P.S. I'm working on this meme for my post tomorrow. Thanks to you, Greenwoman, Cherie and Jenny P, I feel completely inadequate. THANKS for being so freaking SPECTACULAR. ;-/ Hee.

  9. LOL ... good read.

    New here, came by the way of Anita Howard'sblog.