Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I’ve actually got some large life changes coming over the next few months and – you guessed it – that means time is at an absolute premium just now. I’m not even going to pretend to be able to keep posting on any kind of a schedule. I can say for sure that this is a good thing – I’m not battling a life-sucking disease or being sent to prison, so I expect by sometime in the summer things will be back to what I think of as normal… so don’t worry about me one little bit. I’ll still check in here from time to time. I’m going to keep smacking a few words at a time onto the current project. And if all else fails I’ve got a pretty healthy back catalog that should keep you entertained for a bit. Keep it dirty while I’m away!
Writing this week is like wading through knee-deep cold molasses. Just trust me when I say I’m not getting anywhere fast. There are plenty of ideas rattling around my head but they’re not making a smooth transition to the written page. As they say, the struggle is real.
Still, I’ve had some good news on other fronts recently. Unfortunately that good news means there will be even less time available in the schedule for writing. And there in a nutshell is the constant battle I fight – for every new thing that comes along, something old most go over the side or you have to divide a diminishing amount of free time between more and more things to do. In my head it’s a constant war between wanting to do one or two things reasonably well, or halfassing my way through many things. Going in either direction I feel like I’m missing out on opportunities. I might be an old fool, but I’m not fool enough to think that there’s time enough for all of it.
So much to do, so little time. I’m pretty good with time management, but I’m damned near out of ideas when it comes to fitting a little more into the schedule.
Nothing helps a writer so much as personal experiences. Sure, imagination is a powerful tool in our kit, but I find myself more and more often turning to real life experience as a guide to how certain characters might respond to events in their lives. It feels a bit like having at least a touch on insight about how they act, what they might feel, and above all how they could respond to the situations they find themselves in.
Now since my current short story takes place largely inside a strip club, it feels like seeing a bit of exposed flesh might help the story along. It would be even better if I could find a way to write off the lap dances as a business expense, but we can’t have everything. I’m not at all sure that’s a conversation I want to have with the family accountant anyway.
I met some delightfully entertaining girls over the weekend who were no doubt very ernest in the efforts to put themselves through school. I’ve always found it very difficult not to be well motivated by a lithe young thing sitting on my lap, treating me like a rock star. If I just so happened to pick up a few ideas for the story while I was there, that’s just a bit of icing on the cake. I’m just going to try to forget how many $.99 ebooks I’ll need to sell to make the weekend a worthwhile investment.
It’s a little more settled around here on this end of the week. The frayed nerves are a little less frayed. I’m starting once again to find comfort in the routine and asking a lot less “why bother” questions of myself and those around me. I’ve even managed to start working through my notes again and had made concerted efforts at getting my head back into the current work in progress. No fresh word count to report this evening, but it’s baby steps back in the right direction. I’m tired of being sad and pissed off at the world, so at this point anything that smells like normalcy is welcome in my home.
After the loss of a friend from long ago and far away over the weekend, I can’t help but be reminded of the all too brief time with which we have to contend. He and I hadn’t talked face to face in years, but he was the first of my old adolescent group of friends to pass. I’ve been feeling the lost these past few days more sharply than I might have suspected. It’s not just a reminder that we’re no longer young and indestructible, but also a hard reminder of the things that fall away when we’re all pressed with work and family and grinding rhythm of a life in progress.
I wish I’d have reached out more often, not just to him, but to all those who were once close but are no longer. All those friends from long ago who we might catch up with occasionally on social media, or see in passing, but with whom we never get a chance to stop and talk or share a memory about how important they were in us becoming the people we are.
My mood these last few days hasn’t been in the “writing place.” At least it hasn’t been up to the kind of writing I do here. Under the circumstances it feel petty and not at all worthy of the effort and time. I’d give everything to be racing towards the horizon right now to say a last goodbye to someone I should have never lost touch with… but as they say, I have promises to keep. Damned if that hasn’t been the problem all along.
After three weeks of casting around with not much to show for it, I think I’ve managed to get myself back into the swing of daily writing. It’s coming out 300-500 words at a time, but it’s finding its way to the page and that’s all I’m really concerned about for the time being. The story so far is moving along well – to the tune of about 2700 words finished before adding tonight’s total to that mix. It’s based loosely on actual life experiences, so it’s something of a trip down memory lane – or at least what I wish memory lane was like. I’m biased, of course, but I think it will end up being a worthwhile short.
Even though it’s meant less sleep, it feels good to be back at the keyboard and not working on someone else’s project. Picking up the occasional bit of side work isn’t bad, but nothing really compares to writing under your own pen name. Is that a contradiction in terms? Not that it matters. I feel like Ed Daniels when I sit down and practice this little craft of mine. As time rolls on it’s becoming easier than I could have ever imagined to slip into and out of that persona when it’s needed. What can I say, the dirty old man is a hit at parties. It would be a shame not to get as much mileage out of that as possible, right?
I should be writing tonight. I should be outlining the next chapter. I should be doing something halfway productive. Except after dinner the dog decided to park himself on my lap and promptly fell asleep. Clearly he isn’t interested in how much writing gets done in this house tonight. I assume that because if it were otherwise he wouldn’t expect me to thumb type this post on my phone instead of going to the other room to grab the laptop. Then again the laptop would take up most of his coveted nap location, so that does present something of a conflict of interest.
That’s a rather indirect way of saying I’ve noticed the things you have to give up if you want to even think about writing. Even the short stories will rip you away from family, friends, whatever small sliver of life you’ve been managing to hang on to. Writing is a jealous bitch sometimes. More often than not when you’re in its thrall. There are plenty of things I’m willing to give up in an effort to keep things moving… but just now I’m not willing to move this tired old pup. I’ve got a few books in easy reach, so maybe this is a night to put my feet up and try a little reading instead. It won’t do a thing to get me back in the habit, but some things are just unavoidable… besides, I can always sacrifice an hour of sleep if he decides to move later.