Greetings, True Believers!
First, you're going to get a double dose of me today. I will be posting on the Steampunk a-Go-Go website later today. More on that in a bit.
I trust everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend. Mine was great. It's been a long time since I had an extended amount of guilt free time to reflect on what's truly important. I actually took the time to reach out to reach out directly to those closest to me and let them all know how grateful I am for them. And I'd like to take this moment to thank all of you who tune into this site and my other ones to support my modest efforts at being an actively creative human being. Thank you, True Believers.
Today's theme is duality, because, as many of you know, I am constantly torn between two creative paths with my writing. That hasn't changed, really. I've written extensively on that in previous posts, so instead of the process, I'll spend some time with the work.
The serious work lately has focused on what I'm calling "memories in fiction". These passages are not memoir, they're not autobiography. They are, however what's coming out of me, the stories burning to find their way to paper. Part of it may be that lately, by accident, I seem to have spent a lot of time reading some pretty good memoirs. This year's Pulitzer Prize winner, Barbarian Days by William Finnegan, and also one of the best books I've read in years, Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, which if you haven't read, you really need to. Also, I stumbled on an interesting collection of essays on craft by Mary Karr called The Art of Memoir. Interestingly, it was that last work that solidified the fact that I am not writing a memoir by any means. There are part of the process of writing memoir that are not going to be part of my process, partly because I don't think they're necessary for what I'm trying to do, but partly because I don't have the patience to undertake things like sharing them with all the persons depicted int he stories to check them for accuracy. (Here's the thing, I'm the youngest of a big family. There ain't none of us with an accurate memory of the madness of our collectively created experience.) The material is weighty and if it ain't accurate, I try to make it true.
While all this is going on, I'll find myself in an interesting cycle that pays off creatively. The memory in fiction can be a really tough thing to write. To be honest with the material means reflecting deeply, facing some of those inner demons and those memories that while not tragic (to me), are emotionally taxing to explore. So one of the things I do to recharge the batteries is enjoy things like comics like The Amazing Screw on Head, Hellboy or some of those great Marvel and DC shows on Netflix. Then what happens is I haven't realized it, but then I get this flash that says, "I can do that!" and the next story is here. And that is exactly what happened over this weekend. I'll be sharing that on the Steampunk website today.
So that's what's up, True Believers. Thanks for reading and, really, keep an eye on that steampunk site. Good stuff is happening.
Hello, True Believers!
So, I think for the next few weeks, I'm going to share some more detailed insights into what I do with my creative process. I've always tried to speak more globally, but I thought I would get into some of the nuts and molts of my madness. Why? Well, I guess because I've found myself just making vague applications to thinks like needlework, pottery and photography. The creative outlet I understand is writing. So it's probably best if I stick to that and leave the application of inspiration to your own art to you.
I haven't been sharing with my usual volume for the last few months. I am sorry about that. I don't know why I'm sorry, but I feel sorry. I know that some of you really look forward to those posts and I guess I feel badly that I'm not able to find the time to share work more consistently. It is my sincere hope to get these past parts of "The Case of the Soggy Carpet" up on www.steampunkago-go.com very soon.
The challenge for getting work posted as efficiently as I had int he past has to do with my actual process. It's slowed things down, but I do think it's resulted in better writing.
Classically, as a youth who had no ambition and no money, who lived int his fantasy world of being a writer, I had a consistent process. I wrote a longhand draft, I typed it up and I hid it from the world. I kept that up for a very long time until about ten years ago or so, when I was full bore writing the Ivan adventures like crazy. I found that the only way to keep up with my ideas was to compose at the keyboard, like a real writer.
This changed when I started writing more serious work. This came out of my experience at work, which had me staring at a screen for hours of the day. I would just get tired of looking at the blue light shining in my face. The pleasure of writing came when I picked up a good pen, had a good notebook and let the ideas happen.
I'll be honest, writing in longhand is a lot of work. It requires this deep focus, this coordination between your fingers and your imagination. It's visual, it's tactile, it's cognitive. All this happens at once and can frankly be kind of exhausting. Then there's the effort that comes later when it's time to key in that first draft.
Thing is, this is effort well spent. Mainly because it's very, very satisfying. There really is nothing like writing with a good pen, with good ink and a good piece of quality paper in a good notebook. Maybe my friends with a talent for sketching can share thoughts on a similar experience.
It gets challenging, because as we go through life, we only have so much energy to devote to so many things. If you haven't read it, you might want to check out the great book, The Power of Full Engagement, which posits that the secret to success in work and life isn't really time management, but management of the energy you have to dedicate to your many endeavors. I've found this to be a good guiding principle which I've used to my benefit. I make this work by making sure that whatever I'm undertaking, I only do so when I have the energy to give that task my full focus and effort. There's no grinding through and getting burned out. I do it when I feel ready and full. Thus whatever I'm doing, it's done well and done completely.
So, after a long week at work, doing what I do, which often entails hours of staring at a screen, when it's time for me to take time to recharge and indulge in my creative work, which helps me recharge, if it comes between writing a new story longhand and keyboarding a second draft, guess which one sounds like more fun?
So I appreciate your patience as the new work trickles out to you. What I've described above hopefully explains why. And please don't misunderstand, sharing this work with you is important. I know there is that handful of true believers who want to see what happens next. And I fully understand that in many ways, I keep you all in suspense at the caprice of my creativity, especially when I take you about a third of the way into an adventure novel and then I just stop because I can't force the writing mojo. Thank you for your support and patience, True Beleivers.
Okay, that might be enough rumination for the day. I hope this has been worth reading for you. It does me good to know you're there.
There's more to come in the near future. The topics will include:
1) The Dichotomy of Serious and Escapist fiction in my work
3) Plans (if any) for publishing
4) Dealing with the creative dearth of ideas while having limited time
5) Dealing with a backlog of material
Thanks for reading...