September 13th, 2008
Woke driven by ripples of hunger and sex. But dogs were pacing in the bedroom. S.B. was still shaking off the tireds. And there's always the chance Little Man will spring open our door. Popping in like some little jack-in-the-box.
One desire down. One to go.
Went into the kitchen. Stomach grumbling. Thought about fried eggs and toast and bacon. Looked at the clock. Little Man had faked us out. He was still in bed. I thought better of banging around pots and pans. Headed upstairs.
So, here I am. A rainy Saturday morning. At the keyboard. Stuck between writing and organizing writing. Obviously, I've decided to write. A few moments ago, however, I was going through old writing. Journal entries, poetry, short stories, unfinished business. Trying to put them in appropriate folders. There's a lot. And that's just this one hard drive. There's another hard drive filled with writing. But it crashed about a year ago. And as far as I can tell, three years of writing went down the tubes. Then there are the floppy disks. Compact disks. And boxes of paper. Thousands of pages. All I can be sure of is that I better work at it now or there'll be even more of a mess. More words lost. More time unaccounted for.
So, with sex reduced to a slight tingle in the nether-region and S.B. downstairs with Little Man in charge of breakfast, it's old Stevens. At it again. Hungry and still wrestling with the age old struggle. To write, or to write about writing?
The bitch about writing (and trying to write well) is that it takes time. Patience. It took me about five years to write "Pilgrim's Bay". Granted, I didn't know I was writing a novel at the outset. I felt like I was LIVING a novel, but what I was really doing was writing short stories. I was drinking a lot. Staying out late. Working full time. But I always made time for writing. And I kept at it. Story after story. Honing each one. Stripping them down. Defining the narrative voice. Until I had a group of stories that shared a theme, characters, a place. Then, I set to work putting them all together. I had to fill in the missing time. Create connections. Write the ending. And I had to do it all without it coming off as filler and forced connectivity. The ending was always in my head. I'd written it without paper and pen, without the keyboard, hundreds of times. It took the act of putting all the others parts together for me to realize that the ending in my head was the one for "Pilgrim's Bay".
And there you have it. Something you've worked your ass of on for years. A piece of yourself. Of everything and everyone you have known up until that point in your life. The book is you. It is something you are proud of, but it is not something you feel you can shove down people's throats, share with strangers, and you certainly cannot expect anything of it. You know you will sell copies to friends and family. To the few die hards that have stuck with you over the years. But as much as you want fame and fortune, for professors to peg your book as REQUIRED READING for the courses they teach, you know that it is unlikely. A chance in a bazillion. Like throwing change into a wishing well. Waiting up for Santa Claus. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the Tooth Fairy.
There is nothing else to do, but know that you've done your best. There are other stories to write. Novels to live. Pages waiting for ink. The keys. And there is no reason to stop now. In it so deep. Pulling people under. Pushing people up. Splashing pennies into the ocean. Hoping your ripple will last.
At least a little while.
(copyright 2008 by K.J. Stevens)