Friday, May 18, 2012

Legacy

I had a lot of thoughts, and then I had none. Lately, without writing on something weekly, I'm feeling fairly unproductive. Plans are being created almost everyday, but none of the little seeds have quite gestated into something more fertile. I am working on a few guest appearances to promote the latest novel, so that's something. It's a bit odd, answering something like the same questions over and over again, and being conscious of similar answers being already in existence, time stamped for eternity. One question I consistently choose to answer is about advice given to aspiring authors. How does one battle a mountain?

Thoughts and opinions about the April release are trickling in. It seems to be about the same as last time, the vast majority of people who read it like it, and then there are a handful that don't for a smattering of reasons. I fear the editing might be somewhat impactful, and I'm not sure as to whether or not I should have fought harder. The next release is being judged as I type this; the phrase "fragile balance" comes to mind. Certainly, it's occurred to me before why authors would go through all the trouble to make their own labels. But more than that today what affects me is a mistake that was pointed out to me that was all my own. I'm ashamed to admit it, because what caused it was little more than my own lack of experience. My mentor encouraged me to experience things so I could write about them with greater authority. I've never felt like I failed in that regard before. And now... well, now I understand why he said that. Because it's never going away.

This week, the sequel to a video game that shaped my college life (yeah, I was a nerd) was released. All my friends bought it, then posted pictures of themselves holding the box on Facebook. I felt a bit displaced because I had no strong desire to join them, felt no jealousy at not possessing the game as well. Likewise, I spoke with a scientist friend of mine poised at one of those crossroads in life, one path leading towards the lonely kind of success outsiders dream about, and another pointing in the direction of the mundane kind of happiness everyone would wish for if they could only understand its sublime perfection. And of course they're mutually exclusive. "The children of some of the greats," my friend said, "were often neglected by their obsessed parents." It was one of those conclusions that washes over the listener, and drowns them in understanding. I felt similarly displaced again, and a bit small to think that I would have more trouble deciding to walk down the latter road as opposed to the former.

I think this week is a bit of a wash. Too much time spent looking back... or maybe too far forward.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Up and up

On Sunday I wrote, detouring the route that would take me to the coffee shop again in lieu of sitting in the room I like to call my office and writing there instead. I was happy with the end result and happier with the idea that I was finally, finally close to finishing.

Last week I had discussed getting together with a writing friend and perhaps having dinner. On yesterday we did so, but afterwards the night was still young, his because Monday is his work schedule's version of Saturday, and mine because he is a constant reminder to me of what can happen if one simply leaves oneself open to possibility. After drafting and snipping several plans, we ended up taking our laptops to his office, or might I call it perch. That it is a nice, quiet area full of tables and chairs is not so remarkable, even to say that it's on the 19th floor of a luxury hotel. It's remarkable because my writing friend is terrified of heights.

Yet that is his office. "I was really afraid the first time," he said to me, "actually, I kind of tried to claw my way out of the elevator." He went on to explain how finding his newest writing space was an accident. He had been wandering the area around his apartment when he found the hotel, the site of the annual local sci-fi convention, and after stepping into the elevator he had wanted to go down. As it turned out, the elevator took him to the 19th floor on a whim. I imagine him afflicted with the shakes and flop sweats. Yesterday, I watched him nod his head only a little nervously as we went up, and after we reached the floor I watched him type out a confident 500 words with hardly any hesitation at all.

For me, I completed the draft of my epilogue. I explained to him that it wasn't perfect, but my editing it would have to wait because I was going back to the very beginning, not of that novel but of that series and turning it over and shaking out everything that wasn't working. The last section of the last book could wait. I was glad to be done, and free to think about other things, though I didn't hardly exult. I could see a large portion of the city from my friend's office, and I can't remember the last time I was nineteen stories up anywhere. I had forgotten the kind of scope such a height granted one.

I have a long way to go, is what I'm saying, and I could see it last night. Next on the docket is to get with everyone who lent me their time to read over the draft of my sci-fi novel and to take ample notes. I have more wall space now so I can actually print out the thing page by page and tack each onto walls, draw on them with a red pen with arrows made from fire.

Step at a time, step at a time. A smooth, express elevator would be convenient, even preferable, but I'll get there this way, too.