clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rumors of Demise

Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.

I'm alive and well. I've been traveling for the Thanksgiving Holiday and generally ignoring the electronic world.

I answered a total of three texts or emails all through the break.

I did take a call from the office. Otherwise, you got voice mail and a note that you will be ignored: truth in advertising.

I'm an e-hermit but the whole separation from the 24-hour news cycle of panic and indignation did me well. At left, a picture of my toes in the sand of an outgoing tide. Pasty toes. (Michigan weather makes an Irishman cringe.)

I'm working happily on a draft that I am enjoying for the first time in a very long time.

I get excited about projects just like you. I get all misty-eyed at the wonderment of prose I will deposit on the finest linen paper which might be worshiped for centuries.

Hemingway rolls over a little in my fantasy.

Then, the composition, the outline, the reality of the shitty first draft (and if your first drafts aren't shitty, you're lying to someone. Check the mirror). The culmination is the depression over "not what I intended."

Everyone gets it. Published authors push through, anyway. Effort and consistency are a fine match for talent and inspiration.

Updike speaks of his process in an article here. The operative quote {paraphrased} ? For every published novel there is another unpublished or aborted work in his collection.

This is Updike. The guy worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker right out of college and , yes - it was a literary seal of approval even then.

It's been thirty years since I felt buoyed by a work-in-progress. Maybe I'm dying?

It's a taken a bit of devotion and dedication to get enough words out on a regular basis to again embrace the process of composing the novel.  When you are young, it is easier to be moved by the emotion of your writing action. When you are older, it is hard not to see those emotional events as maudlin indulgence.

Writing is emotional for me. The act itself is emotional. I would suggest that it if doesn't effect you on an emotional level, the odds of you having the perseverance to stick with it are low.

You didn't start writing for medals and sales. You started to write because you could say things which otherwise you felt you could not express.

There are a lot of dead pens which go into the effort. Most of what they write has nothing to do with the novel you end up with ...

SO, deep breath, shitty draft, finish it: FINISH IT! It's wanking if not finished. Then, revise something else, maybe draft the next, come back to this one with a fresh eye and fix it.

I don't know everyone's process but that works for me. I've got four in the bin worth the time for another look. I've got about nine (read: "about" means unfinished hideous draft) total that are source for other things. I've file boxes full of short story drafts that may or may not get the attention they deserve in the next six months.

It is process. It is daily progress. It is the sun in winter and the summer rain. Nothing is how you want it. It is how it is.

Back from the beach with ink on my hands, murder in my heart, and key lime pie on my breath.

Is there any better?

I missed this blog just a little. To whom can I tell these things, otherwise?

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