If, really there is no if, excuse me, when I win the Nobel Prize for Literature, I will accept it with a beer in one hand, my speech notes in the other (and seeing as I still have the armspace, a hooker under each arm). After taking a swig from my glass, I would begin my thank you’s to my creative lit professor, myself for being awesome, and the funny voices in my head that give me all my wonderful ideas as well tell me to set the mailboxes on fire. Then having brought the room to an awed awkwardness, maybe a couple chuckles from the cooler suits and dresses, I’ll say just kidding, silly voices be damned, it was Orson Scott Card who taught me how to write.
Yeah let’s hear it, Ender’s Game was the shit (no it wasn’t, I’d give it B+ at best), but it wasn’t Ender’s Game that makes him one of my literary heroes, no it was for “Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint”. Yah, reading How-to-Write guides do work, but not in that I-m-a-millionaire-and-you-can-be-one-too kind of way, but in the way how I learned nothing from 11th grade Chemistry except that potassium when exposed to air explodes (hilarious to watch though).
Within its pages there is a short writing exercise that Orson Scott Card likes to play with his audience during his writing engagements, which he calls “A Thousand Ideas in an Hour” – I call it the Q & A. It’s an exercise designed to think up and flesh out a story idea on the spot. He asks the audience questions to create a story, let’s think up a character, okay now let’s think of a motivation, now what problem should they have, what next, then what, more problems, more answers, until they reach the end.
The Q & A is the perfect remedy when writer’s block is a very inadequate term to describe the cubic mass tone of rejection letters, the day job, and funny trending articles blocking the measly door that is your future success. It’s perfect when you are chewing the end of your pen harder than your dog, or when you realize your 50 page epic about fucking Ellen Page in a canoe down the entirety of the St. Lawrence reads like having sex with a blow-up doll wearing a Ellen Page mask and really makes no sense. So after you set the 50 page epic on fire and shove it into a mailbox in symbolic rage, you realize that having sex with Ellen Page on a canoe still has merit and sitting down with a fresh cup of tea ask yourself why.
Q: I want to write a story about banging Ellen Page in a canoe down the whole of the St. Lawrence how would it feasibly make sense?
A: Okay so Ellen Page would only bang me perhaps if we were in the same social circles or maybe I was running a cruise tour on a cheap budget, where I don’t have to pay and just make it sound edgy and gritty by a canoe tour with watercress sandwiches and all knowledge from a rule book out of a canoe. Hopes is to have at least one idiot a month pay me a couple hundred to think their actually having a genuine vacation experience. And then Ellen Page would be one of my customers
Q: So why would Ellen Page even pay a couple hundred dollars to down with you?
A: She is sick of the life, celebrities like a celebrity breakdown. And this involves just going on a wilderness tour to discover herself. She is also on marijuana and carrying a lot of cash as celebrities would wont to do.
Q: Wait do you even know Ellen Page?
A: Uh preppy maritimer who enjoys playing only quirky roles, ranging from pixie to psychotic? Yeah so okay she is researching a quirky role to canoe down St. Larwrence. So she is taking notes and maybe will agree to try my watercress sandwiches, or maybe it will be smoking weed, cause people are more pliable with weed maybe, or maybe it will be a new drug like St. Lawrence seaweed to smoke.
Q: Why would she choose you?
A: Uh gorgeous beefcake body? Oh shut up.
From this I have motivation, have added a weed-angle for hijinks, and all elements that point to a possibility of me and Ellen banging. Repeat until new ideas come at you like deadlines and Mondays (FYI anyone but me who shares an Ellen Page canoe trip story, will be set on fire and stuffed in a mailbox). Think of the Q & A as jarred and sellable epiphanies that will come over and over again through sprawling lines of rambling thoughts.
By a Joshua P’ng, North York Writer