In the last couple of weeks, while living a normal life of going to work, actually working, coming home to exercise, fix dinner, curse the dirty dishes, iron shirts, and slop some beans and rice into a bowl for lunch the next day, I have also been living the stimulating life of a writer. I picture you frowning and sighing with jealousy. I understand that.
This life of walking among stars and comets carries me into a plethora of bejeweled creative activities. You know, the way us writers live when we’re not drinking, or wishing we were drinking, or asleep.
Since you’re naturally interested—because who doesn’t want to know about other people’s fabulous lives?—I’ve categorized the writer-ish stuff from the last couple of weeks. This list will also come in handy in case the IRS asks me what that huge deduction was for, if they don’t think that “extra pillows” is a good enough answer.
- Several times I’ve sat down at the computer, opened up a page, and typed in notes for ideas on the novel I’m currently “writing”. I just looked at that page and counted. I added 11 lines in the last two weeks, some of which went halfway across the page. Eleven lines. Top that, Tolstoy. Also, on a number of occasions, I thought about the fact that I should think about this.
- During my lunch hour, I actually started and finished a poem about my grandfather, who my mother told me used to deliver moonshine. That’s one of the more impressive things I’ve heard lately, and I wrote about it. Unfortunately, it’s not a great poem, as I had no moonshine while I was writing it.
- I also started and finished a poem in Dylan style, inspired by a line from a song I heard while driving to Birmingham, Alabama.
- I tried to begin another poem, a profound philosophical one, but I wadded up that sheet of paper and threw it in the trashcan.
Marketing (activities intended to help publicize the novel, once I get it out)
- I went to a story telling and told two stories, one of which I had planned. I had hoped to be brilliant, but I was…well, let’s just call it a whole lot less than brilliant.
- I worked on my writer’s website, and it’s ready to go.
- I corresponded with the two designers I’m working with to get the novel ready.
- I attended two poetry readings and read several poems, where people cheered, exclaimed with joy, and offered to carry me on their shoulders, but I was far too modest for that.
- An email came with official word that in the spring, I’ll be a featured poet at Callanwolde, an arts center here in Atlanta.
Reading and Other
- Starting with “Other”, I drove with a friend to a town an hour away (at least it was an hour with that clusterfuck rush-hour traffic), to see a performance of the musical I wrote with my brother.
- I discussed writing with a colleague. I do love talking to someone who knows.
- As a writer, I’m supposed to be reading, although I read really slowly. This past week I finished Letters From an American Farmer and Sketches of Eighteenth-Century America by J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, a book written in the late 1700s. In part, he writes about the American revolution, and as I read it, the writing reminded me of the battles in eastern Ukraine right now, and in particular Crèvecoeur made me think about the early days of the Russian revolution, and the viciousness of seeing neighbors as enemies.
- I’ve only just started reading The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie, who I’ve never read before. In style, this book reminds me of Isabel Allende, and perhaps a bit of Gabriel Garcia Márquez.
No doubt this list makes you think, “Hey, I should be a writer!” Don’t be hasty. Remember that in addition to the unbelievable excitement I’ve just described, being a writer also comes with anguish and despair. Plus, you have to spend a lot of time in a room with no one but your own self for company. That oughta slow you down.
And notice that actually writing fiction, the thing I really want to do, only has one bullet up above. Oh, and I wrote this blog entry.