I was resting my eyes.
Up until now I’ve reserved this space for my own writing, but surely that can extend to work about me? My friend Nathan Yrizarry read this as an introduction to a reading I gave in Missoula this last weekend. It was really special and I want to keep it here forever. These are the moments, people!
The Molly Laich Story
by Nathan Yrizarry
So I wrote this meta-fictional character called Molly Laich. But it wasn’t really like that. I didn’t construct her, exactly. She was actually also a real person. At least in my mind. And not quite exactly like that either. Actually, you could say that she led a parallel existence, had her own agency, outside my narrative and that other people knew that, would know her. I could even list some other real peoples’ real names, like actual graduate students and faculty in the MFA program at UM, even many of you listening right here.
Bottom line is that the Molly character, however much I or anyone tried to direct her, would always remain aware of herself and would fiercely maintain her own volition. OK. Anyway.
For setting, I would place the story in Missoula. That would ratchet up the meta-fictional feel of the whole thing. Maybe some back-story about Detroit to counterbalance the super-reality with some realist detail. Maybe not.
So, for the first scene, where she’s introduced, I put myself into the story, which is a cool narrativity thing that I like to do. It could be an actual event, play that angle. Here’s the premise: it’s hard to sound good calling someone an asshole in direct response to them calling you an asshole. So here’s the set-up: I’m standing outside the LA building with two other guys, smoking. It’s a bright day, so we’re all wearing sunglasses. The Molly character looks at us and says, “You all look like a bunch of assholes with your sunglasses.”
After this, I would have Molly quit smoking.
I could still have her drink, though. I’d do another scene that was a real event, but write around the drinking. Put her on one of those nice couches in the English Department lounge, lying with her back to the world, and sleeping for, like, all morning. She’s sleeping off the night before. I don’t want to overplay the drinking/hangover component, because she’s a lot more complex than that, but rather develop the character’s irreverent, f-the-world, I’m sleeping aspect.
Now, I appreciate the advice to make my characters at least as smart as I am, preferably smarter (and the parallel Molly is brilliant), so I wanted to give Molly a web presence. So I Googled Molly Laich. Oh my god.
I found all this crazy shit about the Ambien Walrus, this meta-meta-writer that seems to float aerially in non-space somewhere right above her while she’s in a half-sleep trance and writes through her. Lots of weird shit. Ambien Walrus-weird shit. On Facebook and, as it happens, on Molly Laich dot com .
Parenthetically, I need to assert that she has a prescription, which I hope is not too prescriptive.
OK. Last, I thought I should add a bar scene. It’s a good stage to let a lot of interaction play out. I thought about the Palace, but the Top Hat would be more au courant.
And to better understand her, build her character, to really do a good job with this scene, I thought it would be a good idea to actually read some of her work. But then I thought: it would be even better and even more super-meta-fictional to just usher Molly onstage to read it herself.
At which point I was like, “What? You mean, right now?”