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.”

The Muses and Me

Some days, I require a word count because the muses are behaving like children. The words won’t come. A thousand pounds of pressure is required to press the computer keys. It is exhausting. Computer games call, sunshine beckons, books that I want to read whisper, “Come here,” and to-do lists acquire enormous importance. The word count is necessary to get some frigging work done. That’s in the writing process stage.

In the editing and revising stage, the muses are generally mute. Their work, they tell me, is done. Chapters are the masters. X number of chapters must be completed today. Sometimes the muses show up and start talking about another project. Other projects, with the glorious feeling of creation that they impart, are always seductive. I beat the muses back with sticks. “Not today, damn it. You know that I need to finish this first.” They don’t care. Muses are self-centered. They run with their own agendas.

There’s always a stick for the days when it’s needed. But some days, the muses are waiting, tapping their little feet or fingers, eager to begin. Just give them a sip of coffee, and off we go. I don’t always know if I’m going in the right direction and harbor this terrible fantasy that I’m a football player in a tight game, running with the ball toward the wrong goal.

A table full of muses are here today. Each is learning forward, ready to feed me their input. Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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. 

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?

May I Continue?

Well, writers, musicians, artists, poets, essayists, and novelists, we made it to May. Sometimes, in Feb. and March, May seemed like an impossible goal. But we kept going, didn’t we? Sure, there were a few stumbles. New bruises and injuries were acquired, but here we are again.

March and April were good, and not good for me. That’s how life often seems, though, doesn’t it? One area is going great and another area collapses like a calving glacier. My setbacks were in health. First, there was a long time where I had a severe cold. It seemed to be touring my body. Just when I thought it’d done it’s farewell show, the tour would begin again.

Next, whatever steers these things enlarged my prostate and shut down my bladder. It wasn’t a joyous experience but I survived. I’m fortunate to be financially comfortable and have health insurance. Besides being painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient for a while, the issues meant that coffee, caffeine, chocolates and alcohol needed to be sliced back. I allow myself one cup of coffee a day. Drinking it centers around my writing. I used to drink a glass of red wine each night; no more. I haven’t had chocolate in weeks. I still have a beer once or twice a week. I last had one a week ago. I going back to the doctor in a month to see if surgery is required, or what.

Many writing days were lost in March and April. I’m surprised to discover that the novel I began writing in January is eighty-eight thousand words, three hundred forty-five Word pages, and almost finished. I thought, how did that happen? I guess it demonstrates the power of just sitting down and pushing. I didn’t write for five straight days in March, although I tried. I stopped posting my goofy little things for a few days, too.

When I read the work-in-progress that I’ve written, I enjoy it. Then I read someone else’s novel and fall into dejection because my novel is a piece of crap in comparison. Then I read my work-in-progress again, and think, no, this works.  It reminds me of George Jetson. Know him? He’s a fictional character in the animated cartoon series, The Jetsons. When the show ends and the credits run, George is walking the dog on a conveyor belt. The cat jumps on, and the dog begins chasing the cat. As the belt goes faster and faster, George falls down, and the cat and dog jump off to watch as George haplessly goes round and round, shouting, “Help. Jane, get me off this crazy thing.”

That’s how I sometimes feel with my writing efforts.

My exercise practices took a hit with my illnesses. Some days, my walking dropped to two and a half weary miles a day. Weekly totals plummeted to thirty-two miles. I gained eight pounds.

I’ve lost five of those pounds. The weekly totals of miles per week are back up into the mid-fifties. I recorded ten miles yesterday for the first time since the end of February. So, I’m making progress, and will cling to that.

That’s my recap. I hope you guys are all doing well, making progress, and not going insane or becoming depressed. Thanks for reading.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Cheers

 

What School? (Updated)

Once again, Stephen King has managed to irritate me.

I’d been busy writing, thinking, and brainstorming yesterday, capping off the final few minutes of an enjoyable writing session. (I know, I seem like an eternal optimist, don’t I? Truth is, I don’t share many of the dark days. I don’t like dwelling on ’em.)

MS Word froze. Hell, the entire computer froze. With an exasperated, “WTF?”, I sat back, sipping the last of my cold coffee, hoping to wait it out. A few things were attempted to break the hold. Not a damn thing worked.

Hard reboot, please. I was sore about it, nay, pissed. I wanted to bring the doc up to finish those last few thoughts and paragraphs.

Twelve minutes later – was I counting? Ya think? – the docs were up with some final paragraphs missing. Grrr. The excitement had fizzled, the energy had dried up, the thrill was gone. (Cue B.B. King.) So was my coffee and the allotted time to write. I made a note to myself, just a brief, slightly cryptic thing. I figured, I’d remember…

Twenty-four hours later, I don’t remember. Well, I remember three out of four that I’d thought. Damn it, that fourth one is plaguing me.

Which brings me to the eternal question, which school do you belong to? Are you one that writes copious notes, or are you of the “I’ll remember it” school?

I used to be the copious notes school. Then I read that Stephen King said that he doesn’t keep notes. He said that if it was important, he’d remember it. How sage that sounded! I would be like Stephen King. He can do it, so I can, too…right?

First, I lied. I am a copious note maker. I have documents of notes about the novel in progress, explaining what and why, because I know that I’ll probably get lost in the tangled tales and forget. I invoked the Stephen King clause yesterday in an optimistic fit. While I don’t remember it now, I’m sure that I will as I write today…or tomorrow…or…sometime.

I hope.

Got my mind juice, a.k.a., coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

UPDATE: I remembered the fourth as I began writing, and made a note of all four. Ah, the power of coffee.

 

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