Friday, January 12, 2007

A Taste Of Chicken Little: A Novel

So I'm keeping up with pretty much all of my new year's resolutions so far despite the depression, depsite the heartbreak, and despite the weather. One of the resolutions that I had, if you might recall was to resume work on my novel, which I've tentatively tiled Chicken Little: A Novel. Maybe it won't go anywhere. Maybe I won't have the discipline to finish it. Maybe it won't get published. Maybe it's all a dead end, but it's helping me cope. So if nothing else comes of it I've had a bunch of words to rest my head on to cry. Anyway, I'll try to keep you all posted on my progress. My plan isn't to post the whole thing as it's being written because I really like to revise and I just don't like the permanence of posting. But I'll maybe throw a bit to you here and there. If something I'm sharing needs some context I'll give it, but otherwise you can kind of get an idea of what my opus is like even if it's only in snippets and excerpts. I'm still just getting into the meat of the manuscript, here's a bit from the early pages.

So this is it?

Once a month a mortgage payment, a car payment, bills from credit card, line of credit, cable, electric, gas, water, phone, cell phone, internet, condo fees, and a gym membership.

And that’s it.

That’s how you get to mark your time on the planet. Every month it’s the same group of envelopes sitting on my kitchen table for a few days before I actually put in the effort of to go pay them. They get paid and a month later another group of those same envelopes from the same representatives of those same companies, those same utilities are delivered to my mail box, forwarded to my kitchen table, waiting to be paid for.

And that’s it.

Sometimes a cheque will come. Sometimes a pre-approved credit card application. Sometimes a letter from my folks to let me know how old so-and-so, a relative that I don’t even remember having, is doing, when are you going to settle down, we’re in Hamburg for a while and then it’ll be off to who knows where, but when we get there you should take some time off work to come visit.

And that’s it.

I get preoccupied with trying to remember even five years back when my responsibilities were minimal, when I was this 24-year-old boy. I could stay out all night drinking, having fun. I spent all my free moments with my friends. I had a roommate and we split the rent on a two bedroom townhouse; threw parties all the time. Work was just a job. If things didn’t work out I could just quit and take a job somewhere else. All I really had to worry about was making my rent payment. Sometimes I’d even wake up with a girl sleeping beside me.

When you talk to a lot of people my age, you’re going to hear the same thing over and over again: Where did it all go? Or maybe it’s supposed to be: Where did it all come from? Responsibility. Duty. Career. Family. Life. At some point between the ages of 26 and 29 everything really starts to get a whole lot more complicated. You can’t just shirk your commitments for the sake of fun. You get a whole lot more institutionalized. Fall into a cookie cutter, button down collar and briefcase, lifestyle and live the dream. I just can’t remember really having this dream, but here I am. My friends are all married off or moved away, honoring their own professional promises, living their own monthly bills.

I’m all alone.

And that’s it.