Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Guest Post by Addison Westlake

Today Addison's new book Facebook Jeanie is released so first of all you must all go take a look at that! Secondly read the great post Addison has written for you all today. I could relate to it well and found myself answering yes to all the questions she poses below.

Lost to Writing
By Addison Westlake

Writing a guest blog post for Lost to Books has me thinking about getting lost… I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately and I’ve been realizing something. Or, at least I think I’m realizing something. Is it just me, or has anyone else been struck by the similarities between writing and totally losing your mind? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on the writing process or making light of mental illness, I’m just… seeing the similarities.

There may be others out there like me, so I’ve laid it all out so you can see what you think. For the sake of the time-pressed modern writer, I’ve formatted it into a simple six-question self-evaluation quiz.

Writer or crazy person? You be the judge. Think about yourself and answer honestly. Are you:

  1. Frequently holing up in a quiet place and recording imaginary things, things out of your head, in great detail?
  2. Talking to yourself to “test out dialogue”?
  3. Scribbling notes on scraps of paper in a rush so you don’t forget the important insights you just had?
  4. Often distracted, walking around lost in thought without total awareness of your surroundings?
  5. Less than impeccably groomed as you work feverishly on your masterpiece?
  6. Laughing to yourself? (note: especially common for comedy writers)

This quiz can narrow things down to either writer or crazy person; further diagnostic assessment will need to be conducted to distinguish between the two. As a writer, I’m not sure that I’m competent enough able to tell.

Or maybe—as the release date of my book “Facebook Jeanie” is upon us and I worry over reviews—maybe it’s actually a good thing that writing and going totally bonkers seem to be one and the same. Because if you’re absolutely nuts, you don’t care at all what people think of you. If you think you’re the queen of England then you’re the Freaking Queen of England and everyone else can just piss off. I think I’m going to channel this mindset if I get a bad review of my new book. I’ll see it and simply declare, “Off with his head!” because that’s the punishment for treason.  

But maybe writing is actually more like the experience that Will Ferrell’s character Frank has in Old School. No, I’m not thinking of him streaking naked and drunk through town. Nor am I imagining him dressed up in a mascot costume jumping through a flaming hoop and taking it all down with him. Though those are memorable moments in the cinematic canon.

What I’m talking about is the debate scene when Frank is up against the great James Carville. Something funny happens. When he stands at the podium, he seems to tap into a different part of his brain, channeling eloquence that come out of him in a rush. Ordinary Frank delivers such genius that it makes James Carville instantly give up, saying, “We have no response. That was perfect.” Afterwards, Frank has no recollection of it: “What happened? I blacked out.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yYDzLUH1NE

Maybe that’s what writing is like: entering an altered, elevated consciousness. When I emerge from a couple of hours of writing wearing sweatpants with my hair all up and wild and my eyes blinking like ‘what happened?’, I’m going to explain to everyone that I haven’t lost my mind, I’ve simply been channeling my inner genius. Just like Will Ferrell in Old School.  

Facebook Jeanie

It's Bridget Jones meets "Groundhog Day"...

Ever wonder if you made the right choice? What if you could go back and find out?

31-year-old Clara is in a steady relationship—with Facebook. Every night after her depressing bureaucratic job (so much for saving the world), Clara comes come to her empty apartment and settles down with a pint of ice cream for some good, old-fashioned Facebook stalking. It's her college boyfriend, The One Who Got Away. He now has a perfect wife, perfect house and the perfect life—everything she could have had if she hadn't been so, so stupid.

But, wait. Jeanie from Facebook shows up at Clara's job. There's a new app they're beta-testing and Clara's perfect for it. That night she clicks on it and... nothing happens. But the next morning when Clara wakes up at noon, hung over, listening to her roommate blow-drying her hair and singing "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It", she realizes she's back in college. With the chance to do it all over again.

Back in the world of frat parties, BFFs, and long-suffering, overlooked lab partners, join Clara as she discovers what it really means to hit the reset button on life. What could possibly go wrong? And, this time, can she get it right?

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