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?