Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Fluticasone is not a transmission fluid

I don’t do new year resolutions, but one of my not-a-resolutions has been to write in this thing every day, hell or high water.  And of course, the big catch is what exactly to write.  I would write about life, except life pretty much just involves work, trying to write, and medical appointments.  When I dig to find some piece of life to write about from years ago, I find myself writing about a period of life in which, during that time, I thought things were insanely boring and I looked at some other part of my life as exciting, which is ironic.  And I don’t like to write pieces of what will end up being books here, because I think it’s a ripoff when people read this journal and then buy one of my books and find out they’ve read everything already.

I had this idea, a couple of years ago, for a project that involved an article a day in a giant interconnected wiki, similar to the Necrokonicon, that would tell the non-story of the decade from January 1, 1990 to December 31st, 1999, in thousand-word chunks.  It’s not that my life was incredibly interesting in that period; it’s just that “hey remember the 90s” nostalgia seems to be a thing, and I’m the guy that still uses the term Walkman to refer to a portable music machine, or “tape” to describe how to record a TV show.  I think I wrote maybe two or three of the articles before I lost wind on the thing.  I don’t know if this is a good idea, but it’s ideas like this that propel writing, and a concept like that is infinitely easier to pitch to a potential reader than “a bunch of weird stuff happens, and vomital buttsex with dead people” which is the synopsis of my last three or four books.

(When I said “medical appointments” above, that wasn’t foreshadowing that something horrible is going on, except that I always feel like shit, and it’s nothing that any doctor can explain, other than when a general practitioner says “maybe it’s allergies” and sends me to an allergist, who does $3700 of tests and wastes weeks of my time, only to give me a prescription for Allegra, which my insurance doesn’t cover, and tells me “maybe it’s a sinus thing” and sends me to an ear-nose-throat doctor.  Because no doctor wants to get sued, no doctor wants to be the one holding the bag, and will just send you somewhere else, meaning doctors are essentially worthless.  And yeah, diet and exercise, thanks in advance for telling me that.)

I’ve been stuck on this project, which is “write another Rumored”, i.e. come out with some follow-up to my book Rumored to Exist, which is my favorite of all of my books.  I don’t know how that book ever got done, or what makes it intrinsically better than any of my other books, but it was a bit of a seven-year perfect storm of writing, and up until the type was set, I was convinced it was the worst possible thing ever.  I think it’s how I found my voice, but it’s been very difficult to replicate, at least in long-form.  I think part of the success of it was its structure, because it had a certain “gimmick” to its form, and with that and a theme, it made it easy to glue in bits and pieces of almost any kind to fit into the work.  I don’t know if I should just use the same thing again, or wait until something magically appears, or force it.  I know that sitting around trying to make it happen won’t make it happen, but sitting around watching Pawn Stars marathons won’t make it happen, either.

Okay, speaking of.  I just took a shower (not sure why) and thought of a million ideas for a book outline, which I now need to capture.  I’m not a big outline person, but maybe I should be.  Maybe 2013 should be the year of the outline.  Or maybe I should write 50 shitty outlines and then scribble insane notes in the margins, and then bind all of that up and make it the book.  Stranger things have worked.