Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Brutal Assessment of A Writer's Reality

Yes, I've written a book.
Yes, I wrote another.
Yes, there's a third.
Of course, two-ish untested manuscripts attract dust in a bin.

So what?
That doesn't make me an authority.
That doesn't make me popular.
That doesn't make me write any more.
That doesn't make me happy.
That doesn't make me think I could do any of it again.

They were just something I wrote.
I will probably write again.
I may write quite a bit.
I may just think about writing quite a bit.
I may just think about nothing.

Then there's Octavia.
She did what we all do.
Even though she was famous.
Even though she had it going on.
She still needed to remind herself.
Write down why and how she should write.
Reframe the self-doubt, the weakness of spirit.
Push herself to keep writing.

Because, fuck, this is lonely business, and sometimes it gets you nowhere except inside your own head.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Consuming Art, Making Do

When my energy is low for writing, my secret is to consume art. Any kind will do. A gallery or a museum. A movie, old or new. A performance. Live music. Those make me want to write because experiencing other works by other artists, struggling or otherwise, gives me hope and inspiration.

Television, the cable version, doesn't. I don't even have cable (to my family's chagrin).

This is my first post of 2019 because I took the month of January to finish the draft of my last Musketeer book. Then, it took about two months to prepare it for publication. It had been hanging over me for more than a year. I'd drafted most of it in 2017 during National Novel Writing Month, then didn't pick it up again until late last year. I kept telling myself: "It will only take a few weeks to get 'er done." The ending foiled me. Nothing seemed to click, and I finally decided it just had to be over. Someone had to die, and it couldn't be the main character (because, well, Dumas kept writing about Athos after the time period in which I placed him). I found this book to be the most difficult to write because the ending just never naturally showed up like the previous two books. The options were many and my decisiveness, missing.

I'm not necessarily unhappy with the story. The last book wraps up the loose ends to my satisfaction. However, there's no sex in it, probably a big downer to readers of the first two novels. Brace yourself. It's just about a big, redemptive sword fight (no puns).

Another issue bothers me: the  first book in the series isn't widely available. On Amazon, the prices of Book One (Blood, Love and Steel) are astronomical. That's because the book is not available unless purchased as a used copy, and the secondary vendors have jacked the price. However, my shelves are flush if you want a copy. Not much I can do for the random shopper.

All this is to say, I'm making do. I'm relieved the last book is finished. The story stands on it own. It's a nice tribute to the original Dumas novel. There were a lot of days when I went looking for art to get me off my duff to finish the series and keep my head full of hope. All the other artists who piece it together gave me reasons to go on. Making art is a joy and sometimes a burden. It will fulfill you and make you frustrated. Do it anyway.

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Year of Living Large

This isn't a New Year's resolution post.

One summer, on a trip to Chicago with my small children, I optimistically wore a hot pink graphic tee that read in silver glitter letters: The Joy is in the Journey.

What a mistake. The flight was a complete disaster, my kids misbehaved in ways I've conveniently forgotten, and it ended in me all but containing a seething yell across the airplane aisle: "Just you wait until we get off the plane!" My naughty children smirked, snickered even.

So, I don't set myself up for such epic failure. I don't emblazon inspirational sayings across my chest because life just isn't a party cruise. It smacks you down. Oddly, Ariana Grande's breathin is playing in the background right now.

But, I'm optimistic about 2019. Maybe because I feel good. Good, as in, life is an open book to me right now. I'm feeling energized and happy. Like I could accomplish just about anything I want to this year. Can one be happy? A counselor once told me that true happiness is impossible. Contentment was more like it. But, no, I'm happy.

Even though there are so many reasons not to be:

  • the glaciers are melting at incredible rates
  • plastic and micro-plastic are clogging our beaches and ocean
  • my word count is still pretty sucky
  • financial security is a myth
  • hell, security of any sort is elusive and easily lost
  • my dance card is empty (again. i'm open to dates, if you're available.)

But but but but. My unfinished books, they're calling. My travel plans, forming. My dreams (mostly about motorcycles) still keep me up at night. Let's see what 2019 will bring. C'mon, 2019, let's get sweaty.