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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TV is the debbil

Didn't turn the television on when we got home from work tonight.

Finished chapter 1.

Coincidence?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby Steps

"It's easier to sustain momentum than to build it."

Full time job (gotta pay the man), family, obligations...a million competing demands for time. Time that could be spent writing.

It's easy to succumb to the excuses, so it's nice to show forward progress, however slow and halting it might be.

I finished the prologue of my novel, "Dead Drunk" over the weekend. I've also got most of the first chapter written and have the outline done. So I'm making progress. Most of my writing time comes on the weekends now but I'll take what I can get.

Really I should make what I need instead of taking what i have but it's all about progress. Baby steps.

I've also got a short story -- "Love Stinks" -- submitted and should have a response by the end of next month.

I found an iPhone app for blogging so even when I can't take (don't make) time to sit down at the computer, I can still manage to pound out a few words while...well, while I'm doing other things.

It ain't easy being a writer. But what choice do I have?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Open the vein

I spoke with a friend last night.  He's going through a difficult time, facing all measure of uncertainty in his life.  "Once you've lost everything," he asked, "what do you do next?"

I answered his question with a question:  "What do you want to do?"

Ay, indeed, my friends.  There is, in fact, the rub.

To know what you want to do requires knowing oneself.  To know oneself requires introspection, a practice many avoid for fear of the dragons and demons we are almost certain to find there.  Going forward on an ill-conceived journey seems the easier path, easier than looking backward and confronting the worst in ourselves.

Of course this is not the easier path.  Until we face, confront, and conquer (or at least reach an armistice) with our past, our present it haunted; our future clouded.  Our walk is labored and weary-making.

My friend is an artist.  A damned good one.  So I encouraged him to look inward by seeing what the canvas revealed.  I told him greatness is found, not in revealing the mind but by opening the soul.  "Open a vein," I told him.

"Physician, heal thyself," I told myself.

So, at 6:00 am on a Saturday morning, I sit and open the vein.  I've walked through the things my friend is now facing, being haunted by the spectral vision of the past, looking fearfully forward at a life uncertain.  Left with but one choice:  look inward and clear the demons huddled in every corner of your soul, to be free to move forward.  It ain't fun.  Only necessary.

My life today is beyond my imagination.  In facing my past, I've built a future with a perfect today in my lap.  Oh, I'm sure there are more demons, as yet undiscovered but I keep looking.  When life's going gets difficult, I can be sure the challenges are internal rather than imposed on me.  So I look inward, seeking out the culprit so I can be free.

And free I am.

But it's one thing to look inward.  It's another entirely to let someone else look in there, too.  Oh, it's a helluva lot better than it used to be but giving someone else a glimpse into the twisted vestige of my inner self is still a daunting task.

Yet, greatness is only found in fully releasing that which is inside.  That's not to say greatness will be found; only that if it is there, it can only be found by dropping all defenses and letting everything flow out.

Only by opening a vein.

Of course, "open a vein" sounds so violent.  (Then again, so are most of my stories but that's another thing for another time.)

Wordsworth found a more poetic and gentle way to say the same thing:  "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."

So that's what I'll do today.  I'll find the breathings of my heart and fill my paper with these.  No more excuses, no more delays.

Of course, should the breathings of my heart evade me, leaving me frantically searching my mind, rather than my heart, for the perfect expression, I'll do what I've always done:

I'll just open a vein.

Happy writing.