Checking In

Image courtesy McSweeney’s:

How’s everyone’s spring going? Got that shot in the arm yet? Got two? Convaxulations! Me, I got the AstraZeneca and achieved full not-clotting status with only minimal worrying. Who knows what my second dose will be. I’m hoping it’ll be a combination of Pfizer and Marlboro cigarettes.

During my time away from my weekly column, I’ve been fitfully working on my novel manuscript. About a month ago it passed the 50,000-word mark, which I always like because then I can tell myself I just wrote The Great Gatsby. It’s at 76,000 now; if it were a human, it would be in its teenage years, all pimples, angst and lack of self-confidence.

I don’t so much have a writing routine as a writing stab-in-the-dark: when I’m not exhausted from work or the low-grade anxiety of life in 2021, I find a space, sometimes on the bed, stretch out with the laptop on my lap (one of those rare times when it really truly is a lap-top) and write until I lose feeling in my legs. Don’t kid yourself; I’m 55, so this is probably a thousand words, max.

Unlike my first novel, I’m not revising as I go, barely re-reading what I’m writing, in fact. This could be a terrible idea, we’ll see. I’m also allowing the characters more freedom to direct the plot rather than have an end point for them to get to. Again, this may not be a good idea. But the benefit of taking time between writing sessions is that these characters marinate in my head. By the time I get down to actual writing, I have an idea what they’re going to do. Sometimes, though, they surprise me. That’s fun. That’s magic!

Am I missing my weekly newspaper column and posts here on this blog? I can’t say I am, honestly, probably because the larger project has taken up most of the available creative air space. I’ve also had time to write some shorter pieces that have found publication elsewhere. In March, there was Christopher CrossFit FAQs at McSweeney’s. I got to riff on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in April (AITA For Not Wanting to Be Seen with My Donkey-Headed Boyfriend?), and this week I’m there again to celebrate Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday and also to benefit from my lifelong misconception that Blood on the Tracks referred to literal blood on train tracks. The result is Bob Dylan’s Zombie Blood on the Tracks.

Finally, I had my first appearance at HAD, which is a very cool and weird journal of creative writing, mostly short. They accept submissions only during brief windows announced on Twitter, so you creative writer types should follow them as well. My piece is entitled Simple Mnemonic for Remembering Pi to the 30th Decimal.

My three-month hiatus from my newspaper column is supposed to end next week. Will it? I have to decide.

Other than that, got out camping, readied my garden and did not replace my toilet. I’m living my best life. You?

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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23 Responses to Checking In

  1. kristawells says:

    Hey, nice to read your news. (I really wish I could post photos here so I could show your fans what you looked like as a youngster performing in Midsummer Night’s Dream!) Your writing routine sounds about right. I’m feeling similar with my drawing/painting routine. Motivation is elusive. General malaise is not. Keep on keepin’ on. BTW, I LOVED your story at HAD!

  2. beth says:

    Sounds like you’ve found your groove-congrats

  3. franhunne4u says:

    How can you life your best life if you do not have a new toilet? Just think of one of those luxurious Japanese technical miracles that you miss out on.

  4. candidkay says:

    Hiatus? What is this strange custom? Wink, wink. Sounds heavenly. And “convaxulations” is a new one to me–love it:).

  5. I’d remembered being taught that pi was an irrational number, but your pi-piece really brings that home. On the big Circle of Life, some things are just mathematical constants. A boy’s love for his mother, and lactose-induced insanity.
    I just moved, someplace closer to the harbor and with a tiny patio in back, and chickens next door (I mean, they don’t own the place, there’s a nice couple living there too and they feed them), and I can see the clock at Rockwell Automation. It’s a forty foot dial, lighted at night, so most of us insomniacs have gravitated to this neighborhood. 40′ diameter, I guess you can figure out the circumference.

  6. pinklightsabre says:

    Great update and thanks for checking in! Happy to hear how active and productive you’ve been; of course I’d miss your weekly but you’ve shown up in lots of other places too so feels like you’re still around! But I confess I do think about you on Thursdays which is kind of weird. And I went back and reread your very first post this morning too, which was fun. 2013!

  7. Great to hear what’s going on Keep creating. I might have to take a break soon Are you interested in doing a Guest post??
    Above all I wish you Laughter

  8. peachyteachy says:

    Hey Ross! Just driving by as you are checking in. And I asked for two micro-chips..

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