Sex and the Ivy

The Limits of Creativity

Filed under: Kyle, Writing — Elle June 27, 2007 @ 2:35 am

Brain is fried.

I didn’t think it was possible to get sick of writing — or at least, writing about my favorite subject, myself — but it most certainly is. Hours upon hours on my current piece and I am still 1,000 words from done. It’s like climbing the stairs to my fifth-floor walkup; there’s no end in sight.

Back in January, I started writing this piece about Kyle. I never got around to finishing, but I revisited it throughout the semester. Now I’m finally sitting down and trying to fill in blanks. It’s harder than I thought it’d be. It’s also much, much lengthier than planned. Delving into our origin invariably means addressing what happened with Aidan. To adequately explain why I was so hurt from that, I have to talk about the fallout from the blog, the start of therapy, and the resentment I felt toward my friends. Kyle was both symptomatic of greater problems and ironically therapeutic.

I think that’s why I found him such an intriguing subject. In the midst of the insanity I was going through, here was this person who was just as unsure about what he was doing when it came to his future, his relationships, his everything. Beyond sex, I was just craving understanding. Empathy from everyone else rang hallow but for some reason, I actually took what Kyle said seriously. He was the least judgmental person in my life at that point.

Part of the problem I’m facing with finishing this piece is that there is no real conclusion to the story. Eight months later, things are more or less the same as they were when we met: he has a girlfriend, I am wary of all men, and neither of us is embarking on a particularly well-paying career. A happy ending this does not make. There’s not even a moral, except maybe “Don’t date Kyle/Lena attracts attached men”. I was so frustrated about the lack of a satisfying conclusion that on a couple occasions, I suggested to him that we hang out just so I could come up with something to write about. Obviously, life is organic, not fueled by my need for material.

I want to do this story justice and at 2,200 words, I’m still not satisfied. It is looking very likely that this will be my sample chapter.

5 Responses to “The Limits of Creativity”

  1. Sam Jackson Says:

    I often have difficulty writing quality reflective pieces about myself, as my traditional sense of sarcastic cynical detachment can hamper the process.

    Make it a serial!

    Also, re: nonjudgemental people– dogs!

  2. Alex Says:

    In _Strip City_, trying to get closure and perspective on a conclusion, Lily Burana makes an exercise for herself. Maybe it’ll be interesting to try on Kyle?

    “On a scrap of paper, I write the three most valuable qualities I developed [by being with Kyle].”

    Burana’s three are: Nerve, Empathy, Charisma.

    “On another scrap of paper, I write down the three things that [being with Kyle] brought me that I would most like to get rid of.”

    Hers are: Weight, Defensiveness, Obligation.

    Then she writes a bit about the development of each theme.

    Fifth floor walk-ups are the best, yeah?

  3. Elle Says:

    I’m moving this weekend into a second-floor apartment, and I have to say: I’m going to miss the four flights.

  4. David Says:

    Have you tried varying the POVs? I’m assuming you’re writing it as a first-person memoir.

    But what if you wrote it as a story of someone (you, or someone else) telling the story to someone else?

    Or how would it sound if two reflective people who knew the story were “dishing” about it in a restaurant (a la Capote’s “La Cote Basque-1965″…but without the snark or cattiness [ well, maybe a little ;) ] )?

  5. Dee Says:

    Hey Lena, I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time.

    A lot of European movies don’t have happy, feel-good endings like American films do. Sometimes that is more honest and candid. It’s a matter of taste, I suppose, but like you say, if the story doesn’t have a real “conclusion,” why press for one?

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