Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Know What I Mean?

I'm feelin' a little anxious, if you know what I mean.

It's 2006, another election year and I'm still recovering from 2004. The bird flu is mutating in Turkey, and how appropriate is that, I ask? The weather's all screwed up - mid 60s one day, chance of snow the next - the wind was blowing so hard a few days ago that it ripped one of the fake shutters off the house. But it didn't blow the garbage can over, so I've got that going for me.

I've got fifteen stories out at the moment. That's the most I've ever had out at one time. And three of my four screenplays are currently submitted to contests. The Zoetrope contest announces on February 1st, and although I don't expect to win, I sure would like to place. Meanwhile I have so many things I want to write that I can't decide which one to work on. Writing is hard work. I keep telling people that, but nobody believes me.

Sometimes when you reach this point, you get the urge to go to one of those writers' groups and talk about writing with other writers. Yesterday I discovered that there is a new writers group meeting at the new Barnes and Noble near my house. I thought about going because the Barnes and Noble is located in this high-end retail area designed to attract all that doctor and lawyer money residing in the nearby gated communiburgs, and it might be fun to go and see what people who don't have to struggle are writing about. But as the founder of a now-defunct writing group, the Memphis Writers Co-op, I hesitate to repeat the mistakes of the past. And sometimes a writing group can become a crutch, a kind of literary methadone that takes the place of actually writing.

As Robert Frost said, Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes the pressure off the second.

In a similar "vein" (carrying forward the writing-as-heroin-addiction metaphor), there is this wonderful quote - We are either doing something, or we are not. 'Talking about' is a subset of 'not'. Unfortunately, I don't know who said that, but a truer thing was never said.

So I guess it all goes back to addressing the statement posited in the title of this blog - Midnight and I'm Still Not Famous. Which writing project is most likely to earn me fame and fortune? Doesn't that sound dreadfully mercenary? Isn't writing supposed to be more noble than that, art for art's sake, writing what is in your heart?

Well, of course it is. But all these things, all these projects, from my unfinished novel to the novel I haven't started to my unfinished screenplay and unfinished novella are equally in my heart. That's why I'm torn and casting about for direction. So why not finish the one most likely to pay for a new Saturn for my wife to drive? She's a goer.

Modern poets talk against business, poor things, but all of us write for money. Beginners are subjected to trial by market. - Robert Frost

But really, all I need is a pint a day.

UPDATE: Make that 16 stories out.

1 comment:

polijn said...

Well, at least you have stories out. I can't bring myself to get anything done to my satisfaction, much less actually send it anywhere. :p I also seem to have Writer's Constipation. It's kinda like Writer's Block, only not. Like you said, "I have so many things I want to write that I can't decide which one to work on."