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New Goals For A Pretend Writer


Jason Rimbaud

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Have you ever read something you wrote twenty years ago and literally cringe in embarrassment? I have so many times it’s becoming a constant state of cringe. And believe me, I’m a master of cringing. 

I’ll give you an example of a cringe that came over me about six months ago..

Twenty-one years ago I wrote a fanfic about the members of Nsync. Which I find to be strange as I have never been a fan of their music. Nor have I been attracted to any of the members of Nsync, then or now. 

I always found my taste in men to be a bit on the nerdy side. Give me a man who wears glasses, a bit awkward in social situations, and I’m all in. If you add in a darker skin tone then I get a mental erection and it's all over but the moaning.

A few of you might know my husband is ethnically an Indian who was born in Malaysia. He’s almost 5’ 10” and weighs 120 pounds skinny butt naked. Does he wear glasses? Check. Is he smart? Extremely. Is it any wonder why he gives me mental erections just by walking into the room?

Back to the fanfic I wrote. It was twenty chapters and just over 100K words. The plot revolved around an assassination attempt of a US Senator at a concert in Hershey Pennsylvania. Of course the protagonist meets the members of this boy band and the plot is off and running to a climax I still believe is pretty good.

But you ask, is the story any good? I can say honestly, it had some really good scenes, a fairly interesting plot, mixed together with some of the worst writing I have seen in a long time. Trust me, I read it, then I read it again. It wasn’t great by any standard.

The tone was all over the place. Due to the main plot, it was a bit dark. After all it was about assassinations at the core. I tried to weave suspense throughout the narrative, and I think I tackled that part okay. But then I would have a scene of graphic sex, eight or nine pages of graphic detail. So it was this weird mix of death, humor, and jerk off material. Sound like a story you want to read?

Yet can you believe at the time, I would receive up to fifty emails when I posted a chapter. I thought I was on top of the world. Which only goes to prove the theory that even a bad writer can get sympathy platitudes. 

I actually had an idea for a sequel. Thankfully it never materialized as I would have another novel to look back on and cringe.

Why did I fail to write the sequel you might ask? A few months after I completed the novel, I kind of went off the rails with a love affair of cocaine and Oxycontin that I wallowed around for a few years. And that addiction morphed into a habit of picking less than ideal boyfriends that only fueled my drug addiction that caused me to choose bad boyfriends which fueled my drug addiction.

And if any of you are wondering what life was like during that time of my life or if you are contemplating on getting a drug habit, I urge you to scroll down to the past blog entries and you can experience all the chaos that comes with those addictions. 

Or if you want to really experience what goes through a drug addict's mind, you can always read my poetry. I might have stopped writing stories but I never stopped writing. I poured all my mania, my anger, my drug addled thoughts into some pretty amazing pieces. In poetry I found a way to confront my demons and exorcized them one piece at a time. I am still rather proud of my poetry.

Then I somehow gave up the drugs and the poetry. I swapped them for blog entries. Those posts really delved into the characters of my sordid past and focused on my journey into sobriety. They were funny, sad, and at times would drive any sane person mad at the stupidity of my actions. But through it all, I remained honest and wrote with an intensity that scared me at times and healed me at others. I showed the bad along with the bad, and was unashamed. 

Then just like real life, days turned to weeks, months turned into years, and slowly my life got on track. I’ve been clean for over fifteen years. I focused on my career that afforded me an amazing life in San Francisco. And that focus on career came with a hefty price. I had walked away from writing and found peace and a measure of what I thought was happiness.

Then I met the man who would become my husband. That is when I found out there was another level above a great life. For five years I went from great to perfect. I had found my life partner, the person that would spend every night sleeping next to me. That person that can make me smile just at the mere thought of his name. And when he decided that our life needed something else to make it better than perfect, he brought a cat home named Peaches. And then somehow it got even better when he brought home another named aptly, Kali. 

And life is still perfect. And I know some of you might be thinking there is a “but” coming. You would be wrong. My life is still perfect. We started our own business. I’m doing something I love. And yes it’s slow getting off the ground, and we are still struggling to be successful. But I’m happy.   

Throughout that feeling of happiness, I had a growing feeling deep down in the darkness of my heart. It was a feeling I had lost long ago. That feeling that urged me to get back to what I’ve always said was my first love. 

Even before the love of drugs, I had a love for writing. From my earliest memories, I have wanted to be a writer. And for a multitude of reasons, I slowly lost that love to create stories. Yes, I wrote poetry, blog entries. Those were things that were needed at the time for my own sanity. But I wanted to get back to crafting stories.

So I made a plan to get back to where I knew I wanted to be. Firstly, I would gather all my writings that were posted in various places under a bunch of different names before I settled on Jason Rimbaud for a pen name. I had numerous short stories and novels, mostly on Nifty. And I’ll admit that in those early days, I wrote a bunch of stroke material. 

Secondly I wanted to start writing seriously again. So in July 2022, I made myself a promise that I would write at least two hours every day. And thus far, I have stuck to that promise without missing a single day. 

I have written a bunch of flash fiction, even a few short stories since then. I also wrote a bunch of blog entries that no one will ever see due to the fact they focus on my husband and our lives together. They are way too personal to ever share. 

The flash fiction stories were a way I could dip my toe back into serious storytelling. I needed to relearn how to write stories. I had been writing true to life ramblings so long I had forgotten how to structure a real fictional narrative. And that was a huge challenge for me.

Then in mid-November, I saw a writing prompt somewhere and got this idea about a story involving a pink jockstrap. And I got really excited about this premise. So excited that I actually wrote it. And then I got brave enough to ask a few people to help me with the edits and beta reading.

Was the story great? I’m not sure. They gave me amazing feedback and insight but by the time I was somewhat satisfied it was New Years Eve. It’s a bit too late to post a Christmas story after New Year’s so I think I’ll save that until next year. I do feel a bit bad as they had to wade through lines upon lines of crappy writing and I never posted it.

But that’s not what this post is about. And judging from their feedback, I have a lot to relearn about story structure, plot, and characterization. I mean, you can’t walk away from something for twenty years and expect to be mediocre when you return after only six months. 

My passion for writing was not diminished in the slightest. Their critique actually started a fire inside me. So what I’m really saying in this post, I am actually re-writing that old fanfic about Nsync. 

Of course I removed all mention of Nsync. I created my own fictional boy band. I also updated the story to be more modern and expanded the cast of characters. I cut entire chapters and trimmed certain scenes, plus added a bunch of new content.

And then there’s the sex. I had to tame the sex a lot. I didn’t eliminate it all together, because for some reason not only am I getting back into reading light erotica I’m also interested in writing it again. What am I saying with all this?

I rewrote the entire story completely. Now I’m going back and adding/cutting/expanding the story from the beginning. My goal for this year is to finish the story and see if anyone would like to host it on their site. 

I’m relishing the journey of finding my voice after so many years of writing tongue-n-cheek blog entries. And I think some readers might find this change confusing as they expect a more cheeky tone in my writings. I know in the long run I will feel more fulfilled in doing something that makes me extremely happy. And for a guy that has no reason to be as happy as I am currently, I am grateful.

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Hooray for you, Jason.  This is an enormously inspiring, heart-gladdening account of a man who has faced his demons and is winning his life back to where he wants to be.  You have my very best wishes.
James Merkin

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It takes a degree of courage most of us can only imagine to have lived the life you have and come to where you are now.  So, so many succumb to the draw of the needle or nose, and somehow you had the strength to overcome that.

You've always had a quirky, irreverent sort of ink in your pen which makes it a delight to read what you've written.  I hope you don't entirely lose that.  You can write serious stuff, mysteries, drama, and still have that voice.  The name Carl Hiaasen comes to mind; he writes that way and very successfully.  You have to, and still can, I'm sure.

A lot of us love your writing.  So glad we'll be seeing more at some point.

C

 

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