As for my next book, I am going to hold myself from writing it till I have it impending in me, grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear, pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall”
~ VIRGINIA WOOLF
It makes me so uncomfortable for them. If they’re talking about a plot idea, I feel the idea is probably going to evaporate. I want to almost physically reach over and cover their mouths and say, “You’ll lose it if you’re not careful.”
~ ANNE TYLER
Vacation may not be the accurate word here. Rather say I’m on an expedition. To commandeer a very useful term from Austin Powers, I’ll be away from my desk indefinitely while I search for my mojo. It’s gone completely. Nothing I have in progress looks interesting. I’ve written some scenes, torn them up, replaced them with other scenes and torn them up, because none of them seem adequate. My pending projects fare no better. It seems to be a truism that if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, there’s no point in doing it.
We aren’t all writers, and those who are aren’t always writers for their whole lives. I’ve been a skateboarder, a wargamer, a karate student and assistant instructor. I’ve explored the desert and the mountains on foot and in 4-wheel drive vehicles. Sunset Cliffs used to be a favorite haunt of mine. I’ve been to war. I’ve been a blue-water sailor, and have developed a fair level of expertise in seamanship, military communications, accounting, and safety, fire, and environmental considerations at a major fuel facility. I am none of those things anymore, and it’s possible that it’s time to add writer to that list. As my wife has pointed out, “It’s no fun doing shit that you aren’t interested in.”
Have I lost interest? I certainly have in the short term. What I don’t know is whether it will come back, so I’m going exploring, which is a euphemism for playing with my Xbox, my grandkids, my daughter’s dog, watching old movies and TV shows with Dearly Beloved, and just generally enjoying my retirement. I received the first two seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for Father’s Day, and we’re in the midst of that right now, and I’m deep into a game called NFL Head Coach on my Xbox. I’m in the final year of my contract with the Houston Texans, and have taken them from a 2-14 franchise to a Super Bowl. We’re about to begin our second run in the post-season. Bonnie enjoys this like it was a real game, and since the Chargers have moved on to embarrass LA for the next 50 years or so, this is the only game in town.
If, during all this unrelated activity, the irresistible urge to write comes over me, then I’ll write, but I won’t tell anyone what I’m up to; I think cousin Anne might have the truth of it: If you tell everybody you know what you’re writing about, then the need to write it becomes somewhat redundant. I hope it comes back.
If not, then then that’s my fate, but I don’t want to leave anyone cold. I will continue to add to Chameleon until the whole book is free for a mouse click, and when that’s done, I’ll begin posting Broken English, another old book you’ve never heard of. By that time I’ll know whether I’m going to be a writer or not. Whatever the outcome, I have four books for sale on Amazon, all 99¢. Stepping away from it means I’m going to stop servicing this blog every few days, but if you found value in my posts about the Craft of writing and the occasional humor pieces, fear not; I present here a list of sites that offer content similar to mine, and some extra pages that I could never hope to match. I’ll be watching my email, blogs, and social media, so if you have anything to say, I’ll get it within a few hours, and reply to anything but trolling. Enjoy these blogs and sites, and I hope to see you soon!
These sites discuss the Craft and offer insights into the creation of better stories:
Gisela’s Straightforward Blog (specifics about marketing).
Cool San Diego Sights (this is a photography site. I include it here because it is approaching 20,000 photos of every description and its owner, Richard Schulte, has decreed that anyone who would like to use one for a cover or illustration need only credit him and his site, and may then use them freely.)
Some of you may enjoy popular culture. I know I sure do, and here are a few that are certain to scratch that particular itch:
There’s a dozen that ought to keep you in insights and chuckles for the foreseeable future. I’ll be around, I just don’t know what I’ll be doing, but if anything comes up, I’ll pass it along. All the best to all of you; read well, and write better!