…and things that go ‘BUMP’ in the night.
Since Hallowe’en is Thursday this week and there will not be a full moon (unfortunately), I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect a little on what I’ve done and how I feel about it.
I started this blog in June, with a photo of my cat Victoria having a wonderful nap with her toys right next to her. I miss her. She loved chasing a bubble of air under the blanket when I made up the bed. Such pure joy over a bubble of air under a blanket….
When I started writing these posts, I thought I’d be discussing the ‘how to’ and the ‘wherefore’ and possibly even the ‘why’ of writing, but I’ve wandered quite far off that path and I rather like it. There are plenty of ‘how to’ books and blogs and some of them are worth your time. Others, not so much. Instead of directing anyone to them, I think it’s better to let people find their own way to them.
While I did consider that some people want to be told what to do and how to do it, they also get ‘bummed out’ if they don’t get an ‘atta-boy’ just for doing it. Unless you’re 2, you should be able to figure out what is good and bad about what you write, what is well-done and what is amateurish.
When you start doing something like this, with the intent of publishing, you may or may not want to find a common ground with other people who are doing the same thing and tackling the same subject that you’ve chosen. For that reason, I took a different route – no instructions.
Yes, I will offer resources that I find useful, but at some point, we must let go of that helpful hand and become self-reliant in this self-imposed adventure, because this is exactly what life is all about. You, my friend, are on your own, as am I.
I have completed two books, both now on Amazon and Kindle, books that I started late last year, and am pursuing more of them. One of them I started a full year ago, the other not long after that. And now I’ve finished a novella – a short novel – which will go up on Kindle in a few days. While that one is percolating away in cyberspace, I will be pursuing the continuing adventures of people whose lives I invented over many years past, along with several other long stories (novellas) and books.
I sometimes feel that I don’t work hard enough, or I simply get stuck. Nothing to say. That may stem from a lack of focus or from being distracted by life. It just happens that way. I’ve learned to not let it bother me, not pace the floor, not snack on wine and cheese and chocolate to compensate. It just happens, and in this universe it’s not a unique thing.
This isn’t ‘pity the poor monster’ time. It’s ‘look how much I brought in from the cold’. Look how many people have come into existence that I didn’t know about until I started pounding the keyboard and scribbling notes with a Pentel mechanical pencil.
I’m working on a spooky story that was supposed to be a short story but took off on its own, like a kid on a bicycle, and has now grown legs and arms and chosen its own path to follow. And spooky stories are not what I usually write.
It’s only one of many in the works. I’ll update that list in a few days.
I’ve just finished a story that I started a very, very long time ago, with no idea how it would end or who else was involved. Until I scanned it from its original copy to Word, I could not figure out where it was going or who else was part of it.
These are not the only things sitting on the wooden bench in my hallway, waiting for attention. I have a backlog of notes, ideas, what ifs, and partially written stories that are waiting for the day when I open the door and say ‘Next’.
I usually post one of my photos at the start of an article, which is what I’ve done again, for this post. It’s a tallgrass prairie savannah not far from where I live. The trees in the distance line the river and others group together in clumps, the way people hang out together, in companionable groups.
I can draw a comparison to characters in a story. You don’t know how many trees there are in that small copse, or what kind they are, any more than you know how many characters there are in a story, and what they have to do with it.
Right in the middle of making notes for my first book, I typed in someone’s name and stopped in my tracks. “Who in the world is he?” I asked, and got no answer. I don’t know if that happens to you, but this guy showed up out of nowhere. So I left him in my notes and spent some time thinking about him, and he turned into a major character. Next time this happens, I’m doing an interview.
A while back, I was half-awake at my desk, making notes on story ideas and I walked right into a Renaissance Faire village. Yes, I did. I saw people I knew and who knew me, all dressed in period costumes, who told me that if I took the path through the woods — the route I usually took to go to work — they would all die. But I took that path, anyway, found a peculiar construction at the end of the wooded pathway, and went across a road to find my way to work. Then I went back to that village and found that it was abandoned and empty and looked as though it had been like that for years. Then I woke up.
It took me a long time to finally realize that it was my subconscious talking to me, telling me that unless I stayed with writing and publishing, all of the stories those familiar people had to tell would die with me if I took that well-trodden path to work.
I chose to stay off that beaten path, to follow a new and sometimes difficult route. No matter where it leads me, I signed on for the long haul on this road.
I have so much material stuffed away in 3-ring notebooks and notes on my hard drive and pads of 3-hole punched paper that I may never see the end of it, but I will be quite busy following my own paper trail to the end.
A year from now, I hope that I’ll be able to say again “Look how much I’ve done. Look how many stories I didn’t know there were to tell.”
And that makes me happy.