30 January 2013

Earn Your Sleep: The Beginning And The End

I've been mulling over writing projects in my head lately. There have been transient moments of inspiration, immediately followed by long stretches of inactivity. I yearn to put words to paper, but I've been far too critical of myself to do so. Perhaps I'm holding too high a standard for my output. Regardless, a conversation with Robin the other night fueled new motives for the both of us.

It is our belief that we both have the ability to being writing fiction. Thus far, our main focus has been on first-person stories directly taken from our personal lives. With little to no embellishment, our respective zines have told similar stories about growing up, leaving town and creating new adventures for ourself. There is beauty to be found in the simple realities we lived through. We can use our seasoned knowledge of the human condition as the framework for fictional characters. Hell, most of our favorite authors have done just that. Translating real-world experiences into fictional-world conflicts and solutions.

Writing fiction, theoretically, can be a lot less stigmatized than writing a perzine. The avenues of short stories, novellas and even full-length novels become thoroughfares in which our ideas, opinions and creativity can travel. I am not trying to get too far ahead of myself, but the mere thought of these new opportunities is exciting. This brings me to my next topic of discussion.

My zine, EARN YOUR SLEEP, is on its way out. What began as a desperate, financially irresponsible endeavor has transformed into a symbol of laziness and self-doubt. The title of the zine is a term I coined myself, based upon the lifestyle I was living at the time of its inception. Although the title is still a relevant ideology I hold to be true, the dynamics of the entire zine have changed. I am not working two jobs, living in the Midwest or battling the harshness of Winter (although I do yearn for the latter two). These circumstances fueled my writing and the same writing rationalized the incredibly grueling pace of life into something I was happy with.

My very first run of issue one was about 75-100 copies. Upon exiting Office Depot, with a box literally spilling over with copies of my zine, I was more content than I could ever remember being. I had finally crossed into new territory and I had no intention of stopping. Several more copies were printed and circulated. I even sold some copies to Powell's Books here in Portland and those were bought my the supportive townsfolk.

Issue two, has been finished for almost two years now. I've only printed up a handful. Why I've been so inactive about getting it out there is beyond me. Compared to my first issue, I am extremely proud of it. I challenged myself while writing it, forcing myself to sit and write for several hours at a time. Subsisting on nothing but coffee and cigarettes while doing so, they became the gasoline and the pen was my match. I felt like I was on fire. The story of Robin and I falling in love needed to be told. For whatever reason, upon completion of the issue, it began collecting dust. The only separating these issues from the rest of the world was my own sloth. So, new game plan.

Today I will be printing up several more copies of issue number two. I will get them circulated like I've always dreamed of doing and move forward with the finale of EARN YOUR SLEEP: the epic road-trip story of Robin and I driving out to Portland to begin a new life together. Not many people have had (or ever get) the opportunity to travel the way we did, and I feel strongly that it is yet another story that needs to be told. It will also serve as conclusion to the saga created with issue one. I am going to start issue three from scratch for a couple of reasons. Although a lot of it has already been put on paper, I feel that not only my outlook on life has changed, but my style of writing as well. Where issue one (and even parts of issue two) are quite verbose, I feel that my technique for not only revising and editing my own words has improved, but so has the content of my output. I've leaned up my style and look forward to telling the story clearly and succinctly.

So, readers, keep following this blog for updates on EARN YOUR SLEEP, details about a new zine that is not yet in the works and other future projects from the Dean Omite camp.

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