I’m Gonna

What I’m gonna do and who I’m gonna be 

keeps slipping away from me like sand between my

toes

Love is a stunted realty, sex is a wistful fantasy

Train wrecks in prolonged slow-

mo

Days whiz by like pee in the night

Time sits by at one side, mocking and laughing at me and my plight

I have no idea how anything

goes

Birds still sing, the sun rises and sets

I could tell you more

but you know the

story changes, rearranges every day and

night

I think I know what I’m gonna do

like everyday before,

got my coffee, I’m in my seat,

I think I’m gonna

write

 

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Hot Coffee

He said, “Coffee.” Then he looked aside. “It’s getting hot out there.”

“Yes.” She smiled. “I’m surprised that you want hot coffee on a day like this.”

“I like the smell of hot coffee.” He grinned. “It helps me focus.”

Nodding, she slid a mug of steaming coffee across the counter. “I know what you mean.”

Beetroot Juice Insights

My wife pursues an eternal quest to improve our health. Frequent new food stuffs are introduced to the home. I usually try them to observe what impact they seem to have on me as well as how they taste.

Not all work out. Our pantry has a shelf of forgotten foods and drinks that neither of us adopted as part of our normal diet habits. I think one jar is marked “Best By Oct 2003”. We can’t bring ourselves to throw it out. We’re just too sentimental.

Today, I give you beetroot juice.

Beet juice, according to WebMD, is supposed to be terrifically healthy. Well, juice from the root is supposed to be even better, a superfood that will amaze you.

Okay, we said, buying some from our local heath food store. Amaze us.

It comes in a fine, whitish powder form, like chalk. Adding the desired amount to a glass of water and stirring gives you a red drink that looks like cherry Kool-Aid.

It don’t taste like cherry Kool-Aid.

It tastes like beets. That’s not a problem, if you like eating soiled old socks. I know that I probably seem old-fashioned, but I take exception to the taste of socks in my mouth.

But holy-moly, the beetroot juice has a kick. 

The first time that I drank it, it was like I’d been injected with niacin. I felt flushed and hot. Every pore was utilized to let the sweat burst out of me. I drank it late in the evening. That wasn’t a good idea; I then had too much energy to sleep, as if I’d had a quint-shot mocha right before going to bed.

We’ve learned that this isn’t an uncommon reaction. Besides that, we discovered that our beetroot drinking should not be done around the same time as our coffee drinking. Some people suggested drinking beetroot instead of coffee. Oh, how we laughed as we plotted on how to eliminate people making such cruel suggestions.

The coffee wasn’t given up. I moved my beetroot drinking to the late afternoon. My reaction isn’t as severe as that first venture, but let me tell you, it’s like my brain has been vacuumed clean and my senses have been blown out. My thinking and memory both seem sharper. My creativity level seems to have been kicked to another level, too.

I’m more ambivalent about its impact on my dreams. I already dreamed and remembered my dreams (or imagined that I did), and this beetroot juice seems to have me dreaming with my clarity and remembering them with more details.

It could be a coincidence, but my writing output jumped after I started drinking the beetroot juice. I typically typed about twelve to fifteen hundred words a day. Now I’m typing twenty-five hundred to thirty-five hundred a day. I’m typing an extra half hour because I just don’t want to stop. That’s a significant difference over a ten day period.

It also helped my walking output. I’d been riding a streak of sixty miles per week the day that I began drinking the beetroot juice. I frankly didn’t think I’d be able to sustain it for another week, which was a bummer. But the beetroot juice revitalized me, so I’ve now gone six weeks averaging sixty miles a week.

The one drawback that I’ve noticed is that the beetroot juice doesn’t go with other foods, especially anything sweet, and especially bananas. I swear, I’ll never eat a banana and drink beetroot juice again.

Bank on that. 

Friday’s Theme Music

After another night of peculiar dreams that ended with Boomtown Rats singing “I Don’t Like Mondays”(hello, it’s Friday), and streaming some Brian Seltzer, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” arrived in the stream. I had the dubious enjoyment of Bob Dylan’s original version alternating with the Guns n’ Roses cover. Clapton’s reggae version slipped in there a few times, as did the a recording of Tom Petty singing it with Bob Dylan.

Although I prefer Bob’s original song, the Guns n’ Roses’ cover (1990) dominated today, so I went with it. Had to have a shot of coffee before I stopped feeling like I was knocking on heaven’s door.

Cheers

The Twelve Stages of Writing

Thoughts on a novelist’s life as they cope with conceiving, writing, revising, and publishing a novel.

  1. Jubilation! What a great idea! I must start thinking about this and writing. This is brilliant! Coffee, quick!
  2. Doubts. Wait…what was it about? I don’t know…that’s more complicated than I realized, and derivative as hell. What the hell…why would those characters do that? What’s their motivation? Man, I need some caffeine just to make sense of this. Better go get some coffee.
  3. Bargaining. Look, let me play a computer game and then get through just one day, just one hundred words, just one scene, just one paragraph today, and I promise that I’ll write more tomorrow and catch up. Give me some coffee.
  4. Denial. Why am I doing this to myself? I don’t have what it takes. I’m not smart enough or talented enough. I’m such an idiot! Why did I ever think that I could write a novel? Let me just finish my coffee and go.
  5. Acceptance. Well, I’ve gone this far. Might as well finish the damn thing. Then, maybe I’ll set it aside for a century, and take a look later, see if I can edit and revise it, and make something out of it. I need a fresh cup of coffee.
  6. Jubilation! Hey, this isn’t so bad. This is pretty good. It just needs some work. It’s all coming together. Give me some coffee.
  7. Doubts. I don’t know…what was I thinking when I wrote that? I don’t even remember writing that part. Who is that character? I don’t remember them. I have never seen so many typos in my life. Even the coffee tastes bad. What a waste.
  8. Bargaining. Listen, self. If I can just finish reading and editing this part and sleep on it, I know that I’ll find a way to make this all work, and then I’ll take a break from it all. More coffee, please.
  9. Denial. Who am I kidding? This is absolute garbage. I’ll never make it as a writer. I can’t even type. Even if I finish this, who will ever read it? Maybe I should work on something else. I need more coffee.
  10. Acceptance. No, you’ve come this far. You owe it to yourself to at least finish it. Maybe more coffee will help. Come on, you can do it. What’s the saying? Just open any vein. Sure. Give me some coffee.
  11. Jubilation! This is pretty damn good. Now all I need to do is find someone to publish it. Let me hunt for an agent. But first, some coffee.
  12. Doubts. I’ll never find an agent or a publisher. Maybe I should self-publish. But then I’d need to have a cover made, hire a copy-editor, and then do all the marketing once I publish it. Let me drink a cup of coffee and think about it…

How ’bout you, writers? Any thoughts on the stages of coping with your writing efforts?

Monday’s Theme Music

I don’t know ’bout you, but some days, I get up and think of my routine, and look at the world and the moment, and I think of other places. I think of beaches with a sun blistering the sea, and book stores with cafes, croissants and coffee, and strolling that endless beach in the mist of crashing waves. I look ’round and think, I just want to fly away.

Then I know what I want to do and need to do that day, and I snap out of it. But the song begun with the thought streams through me like the runoff from melting mountain snow.

Here’s Lenny Kravitz’s 1998 song, “Fly Away”. Guess I’ll have some coffee instead of flying away. You know, let the wings of caffeine lift me into the day.

 

The Muses and Me

Yeah, another writing rant/post. Aren’t you lucky?

I wondered again about this writing process and how much control I have. Writing today, I reached a scene where I stopped writing to say, “I don’t want this to happen.”

The muses answered, “Okay, we appreciate your opinion. Now write the scene.”

“But — ”

“You’re wasting time,” a muse said. “Pitter patter, get ‘er at ‘er.”

Jaw clenching, I put my hands on my lap and glared at the computer screen. “I’m the writer here. You’re not the boss of me.”

“Yeah, we are,” the muses said with hooting laughter. As their laughing mounted, one shouted, “He thinks we’re not the bosses of him.” That fired their laughter into higher mocking tones.

Saving my work, I locked my computer and went for a walk to shut them up and think.

I couldn’t appreciate their case for what they wanted to happen. I didn’t have an impressive alternative, either. Hard to argue with them when they have a plan and I don’t.

Dismissing that for the moment, I reflected on the epiphany that I’d had, that, ah-hah, I need something else at the beginning, “something else” being mental shorthand for a more involved and complete opening scene (or chapter) that properly sets up the story and consequences, a piece that gives the reader more reason to be invested with the main character, along with the supporting protagonists.

As many writers before me have said, the first draft is the writer learning the story, and you can’t write the beginning until you’ve finished writing the end. All this seems especially true with this novel in progress.

Returning to my writing, I sat down and did as the muses decreed. It was the best thing to do because, at this point, I was wasting precious writing time, analyzing what they were telling me to write and my reasons for not wanting to write that. Besides, this is just a draft. I can always edit and revise this part later, right? I can even delete it.

That cracked the muses up. “Sure,” they said. “Of course you can. You’re the author.”

Sometimes, I’m not fond of the muses. They can be so mean.

The coffee cup is empty except for a cold, bitter dribble. Time to stop writing like crazy, at least one more time.

Don’t Anger the Muses

I love it when I get in here to write, and I seem to know exactly where to begin and what to type. Little thinking is demanded; it’s just go, go, go. 

I know it’s not from ‘nowhere’ or some mysterious regions of my brain, or a gift from the muses. Truthfully, I’m agnostic. I’m not going to be categorical and say that it isn’t the muses. Maybe it is. Don’t want to outrage them by denigrating their contribution, you know. If it is due to the muses and they cut me off, I’d be bereft.

In my defense, I know that I stopped in the middle of a scene yesterday. I was following a trend. Once I’d shut down and was walking, thoughts arrived about what to do. Walking frequently acts as a laxative on my thinking, out there, going somewhere that only requires me to think, left, right, left, right — which out for the bus — permits to me to think.

I’d not been planning my thoughts and wasn’t actively thinking about the novel in specific ways. It was more a part of multi-streaming that I often do, especially while walking, surfing a little of one before jumping to another. This idea popped up, found its roots, and grew. More grew, developing new angles, as I showered and shaved this morning.

I guess it’s probable that I was thinking, but the muses were directing the streams and deciding what came to what. How’s that for a compromise?

Got my hot coffee. I’m in my chair. Time to write again, at least one more time.

 

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