Skip to main content

Messages in a bottle

I think there must be something wrong with me.

The other day I passed ten thousand words on my new novel.  It's a milestone for me; it means that the new book is a real thing, not just an idea for a book, but it is becoming a significant piece of writing (and a good one, I think).  I'm excited about it, and the words seem to come out of my head and onto the page pretty easily so far, and a few magical times I have had that experience where things just seem to flow out from some external source as if I'm just a conduit, and the direction and concepts that are happening on the page don't even seem to be coming from me at all, that writing sweetspot where things work better than I could have planned for...

And it is awesome.

However, I still have an unpublished, unrepresented, largely unread novel that is just hanging out on my computer, waiting.  And I think: Why are you sacrificing all of your evenings, all of your lunch hours writing when nobody cares?  I sometimes feel as if I'm on an island, writing messages, and putting them in a bottle, and throwing them into the ocean, hoping that someone somewhere will read one, will like it, will in some way give a shit that I do this.

I think of Poe dying penniless and forgotten, John Kennedy O'Toole, the suicide, if it weren't for his mother harassing literary people to read it, we would never have gotten Confederacy of Dunces, it would have remained in a drawer somewhere until someone threw it in the burn barrel doing spring cleaning.

I read somewhere that every writer lies, either about how hard it was or about how easy it was.  For me, the writing is easy, the idea generation is easy.  I've heard of writers block, but that has never been my problem. 

What's hard for me is forcing it into my life, finding the time to do it, finding a reason to do it.  What's hard  for me is finishing anything.  Whats hard for me is seeing it through to the end.  I just got an idea for a new novel, one that I'm certain that I will take a swing at someday.  It is an exciting concept, and one that I'm very excited to explore.  What's hard for me is not abandoning my ten thousand word manuscript to start something new.  What's hard for me is nobody caring.  When Antiartists sees print someday, and someone feels compelled to tell me everything that is wrong with it, that will be crushing to me, I'm sure.

What is really hard is being patient, and waiting for a bottle to come back to me on my island.

Meanwhile, I'm still here, and I've got a (hopefully) endless supply of messages and bottles.   

Comments

  1. If a tree falls in the woods.... I CARE! If you never get published does that mean what you wrote is not there and does not matter? Does it mean that the people who have read it and like it don't matter? Does not your children not have it for life? You say you love to write and love the ideas. Will only being published give your writing value? Do what you love even if you can't do it for money.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Dance of the Sand Hill Crane

 It is Saturday morning in Feburary and here in Michigan it is clear and cold.  The sun has risen a while ago but there are still streaks of red in the sky, lighting up the clouds, high and wispy.  I am standing by my car after completing some chore, cleaning something or retrieving something and I am slow breathing, trying to calm my heart. It has been a difficult week. My son has a fight tonight, full contact MMA, his first, and I am full of conflict and anxiety about it. Not because I don't believe he will do well, because I know he is as prepared as anyone can be for such a thing, but because I am a father and I feel like I should be protecting him from the violence of the world. Even though he turns nineteen in a few weeks and is stronger both physically and mentally than I could ever hope to be, he is still my boy, and I am scared for him. My other son is fifteen and this week was embroiled in some stupid conflict at school, a misunderstanding that had led to meetings with th

One of the Best of Us

In the stifling heat my breath comes fast and heavy. What the fuck am I even doing here? What the fuck am I trying to accomplish? I'm sitting on the mat, maybe dying, a forty something dad playacting at being a fighter. This is my mid-life crisis, this is so, so stupid. This has to be the end for me, assuming I can get my heartbeat under control, assuming I don't just peg out here on the mat.  I can't do this anymore. "It's okay man, it's okay, you just need to breathe through it. You're fine, you're okay." The voice of my training partner, gentle and kind. My partner, the maniac that drove me to such a state, that I think I might die, he sits next to me and shows me how to breathe, how to calm my body. He teaches and guides me through it, and in a few minutes I actually am okay, the panic settles down, and maybe this isn't my last class after all. "You're alright?  Okay. Now lets get back to work."  And back to work we go. There

Fighting for Clarity

There's this to be said about fighting: while you're doing it, you don't have room in your head for anything else, not your busted ass car or your worries about your family, not the leak under your bathroom sink, or how you're going to pay your bills.  There's only breathe one two, step out of range, shift off the center line, move breathe one three two slip the jab level change three to the body check the low kick counter one two...  it is a better escape than most, and I've tried most of them, believe me. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing here. I get humbled and beat up at every session, I don't understand why I even go. I'm feeling defeated; everything is so fucking hard for me, and I don't know why I'm doing it. I should just quit, right? Fuck you.  I'll show you motherfuckers what I am capable of. I'll show you-  And then I go and I try and my knees give and I get pummeled and twisted and what the fuck man how humble do I