Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring worrying

I did it. Last month I finished the last novel in my Where Shadows Lie series. Well, I almost did it. Last month I almost finished it, but on purpose. I left off the epilogue, because I didn't want to write it then. I wanted to write it when I finally submit it somewhere. I wanted all the experiences I'll have to weigh in on that final punctuation. But for the series' entirety, really, there isn't much more story to tell.

The reason all of that didn't sound more joyous than it might have is because new problems have cropped up since then. I have new challenges, and have experienced new failures. Foremost is the science fiction story. I might have mentioned that meetup group I joined last year, the one that dealt primarily with world building. I joined that group because of my sci-fi story. Because I got about half way through the second book and recognized the setting as too two dimensional. I could see the strings holding things up. The sky was painted, and the bushes and trees and sun and stars were all props.

So now I've finally, finally gotten around to fixing those problems. Turns out, the things are like creeping ants, and every time I find one, I encounter others. Today, I turned a corner. Five times was the charm. Five times I took out a sheet of paper, or opened up a document file to make a list, or re-layer a subject with description. For the first four, I encountered problems like, "Well, if they converted this machine for use as a vehicle, all it would need is new tires, a larger cabin, more seats... and gearing. Wow, crap. Who could make automobile gearing? What tools are required? What tools do they have?" But today, I approached the center of things from a direction such that it didn't all cave in behind me when I moved forward.

The second problem is less easy to solve. In fact, it doesn't have a solution at all. It just is, which is why I focus on it less. I guess you could call it character building. I failed at something I never thought I would fail at, and the activity led me down an introspective well of feelings on the subject. They were mostly negative, to be sure. But then the sun went down, and came back up again, and I was still here. I guess that means something. Actually, as the sun continues to set, and rise again, I become more sure of that fact.

I went to a retirement celebration for a former co-worker. I wrote once, in an attempt to culturally explain the concept of graying, that "star dust collects most readily on the heads of the wise." I thought of that line as I looked around and saw all the silver hairs. They weren't all gray, of course, because I was there, along with others around my age. We sat by ourselves, sort of like a grown up kids table, and every now and then one of our elders would come over and none too subtly hint that the torch was being left to us. A few times, they even stopped to talk about what they wanted to do now that they stopped having things they were required to do. One man seated next to me said, "I'm not going to wait until I'm 60." There were nods all around at that. It occurred to me that some people work in order to earn their rest.

I wasn't sure then, why I work at what I work at, and I'm still not sure. I do wonder though, if I have enough words in me to carry me to 60. I especially wonder if the words will be good enough.

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