Tuesday, February 19, 2013

There are no oranges

Been awhile.

I can't lie and say that my absence indicated some increase in productivity. I wrote recently, but it was an uncommon session. During the week, in the middle of doing something else, the words almost literally burst out of me. I had opened a word processor and started typing almost before I fully understood what was going on. I've yet to even save the file. It's still open, declaring itself Chapter 14. The cursor blinks like the afterthought hazard lights glowing and shading a car collission scene. It'll be awhile before anyone can come to grips about what just happened.

The book came out. Feburary 1st. I did the online release event, like usual, and here is an interview where I talk about my process and the book in question. Even the book currently in progress, which just now reached what I imagine to be its half-way mark. But I haven't quite come around to getting down on myself. So long as the chapters keep coming, however slow, I'll keep pretending. This will not be a story, I realize, where the hero bows out gracefully.

I started reading again, too. I happened upon some terrifying prose in the library at my job and have spent some weeks deciphering the genius of the first few chapters. At times, I feel duped into even starting the process of believing any of it, and at other points I have little choice but to surrender to the sublime grit of its power. I would call the story a modern western, written by a salty dog of an old man. Whether any of that is true, I can see why the Coens found it so compelling. I'm learning about the epics within simple premises. Maybe I'm having fun, too.

If LinkedIn is to be believed, I've become an accomplished editor. I even got offered a position on a creative project, not because of the recommendations of several of my e-contacts, but an in-person one, but still. I was told once, some years ago, that aside from writing I possess other quantifiable, marketable skills for which I could be compensated. I think I scoffed then. Now, I do a lot of thanking and accepting.

In other reading I've done, by choice only in some cases, It's become more apparent that the American Dream might be a mirage. Newsweek speaks of the "financial profligacy of previous generations" making this generation's ability to achieve the heights of older Americans a virtual impossibility. I see signs of that truth. It's somewhat debilitating to think about, but at the same time a little comforting to believe that I won't be alone in my striving for something a little different. We might all go together.

In brief, I've been doing a lot of thinking, which it turns out is very dangerous to working. A happy man, pack full of apples, is stopped by another man with a furrowed brow. "Where are you coming from with all thsoe apples, and why do you seem so chipper?" The second man asks the first. "Why, I discovered an apple orchard right behind my house, and spent the morning picking my pack's fill," the first replies. The second man understood, but his mood did not change. "But you're a cobbler, and your shop has been closed all morning. People need their shoes!"

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