Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Am Lisa Simpson. Almost.

I have a confession.  I watch The Simpsons. Regularly. I've done so for years.

On Sunday one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman, appeared as himself on the show. I loved it. Neil, as always, was wonderful, but his guest appearance wasn't the only thing that had me laughing out loud. The episode poked fun at the publishing industry, teen lit, the vampire genre, bookstore/coffee shops,  writing by committee and itself. What from that list wouldn't appeal to me? Yet with all these topics to enjoy, it was Lisa's struggle with her writing that had me laughing loudest. 

When a disillusioned Lisa discovers that her favourite series is written by cubicle-bound ghost writers she decides to write her own tween lit novel. She gets as far as "Chapter One" before the distractions set in.  I wish I could list these distractions for you.  I'm tempted to  fire up the PVR and watch the show again so I can give you an accurate summary of Lisa's non-writing process.  I'm going to resist that temptation, but I will admit that I spent a significant chunk of time this morning trying to find clips online.  Are you beginning to see some similarities here?

What do I remember? Lisa with her laptop at the coffee shop. She signs onto the internet in case she needs to do some "research" while writing her novel. (I currently have two, now three, tabs open in the browser.) Once Lisa logs on she feels that she needs to compensate the coffee shop for using its free internet, so she lines up to buy a snack.  (I had breakfast, a tea, a coffee and two snacks before I finally sat down to write.) 

Once back in her room, Lisa is distracted by a tiny spot on her window.  She is shown scrubbing at it from inside, then later from outside. If you've read this post you'll know why I found that particularly funny.  (Four tabs open.) Nothing like a speck of dirt, or fuzzy felt feet, to keep a writer from writing. 

Lisa's trials with her novel are juxtaposed with the successes of a novel-writing team. This team includes, among others, Bart, Homer and Neil.  It's Neil's job to get lunch for the group.  (Five tabs open. Six. Seven.)  I don't know how pizza delivered by "British Fonzie" isn't a distraction for the group.  It certainly would be for me. I guess my relationship with pizza isn't as strong as Homer's.    

The similarities between Lisa's writing process and mine tickled me to no end. It comforts me to know that someone out there has the same issues, even if that someone is a fictional yellow girl (or the writer(s) of a fictional yellow girl). No wonder I keep watching this show. I'm Lisa Simpson, almost.  The difference being that, unlike Lisa,  between distractions I sometimes manage to write.  

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