Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A line from the novel

Amy went all the way out the door and lit a cigarette and started smoking. The smoke of the burning tobacco smelled cheap and there was a thrill for her in not caring about hastening her own death in exchange for a cheap thing, like she, whatever she was, was dissipating as quickly as the smoke into the atmosphere, like she was as thin and temporary as that, but also as weightless.

Self-conscious commentary (not in the novel): Cigarette scenes as a concept, but not necessarily in the execution, frequently strike me as the result of impulses felt by inexperienced writers. It's the same thing as why teenagers smoke--there's some truly significance romance attached to it, a sign signifying something you know does not exist once you've emerged from the state of massive ignorance we, many of us anyway, and I certainly, occupy in adolescence. Another way it's a tic common too teenagers and writers just starting out is that both often don't know what they want to do with their time and feel the act of smoking a cigarette gives purpose to a moment that is, in truth, purposeless. I'm not sure that's not what's happening here, except that it does say something about Amy's character. And also I write purposeless scenes all the time, or used to back when I was writing more and sucked more, but I like this one.

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