Boom

I was expecting another fast and furious writing session. That’s one of those times when the muses pile in, dictating so urgently that all you can do is type and hope to keep up.

After studying myself extensively, I know there’s a lot that I don’t know about myself. I know that my moods and energy levels cycle, though, and that I often go through a dark period that lasts about two days, where I become pessimistic, bitter, and angry. I also know that I go through a period of buoyancy as well, whenever, when the sky is the limit. It’s about being aware of those cycles and the peaks and troughs, and managing myself through them. And, I know that although I write almost every day, my writing energy also runs in cycles.

First, about writing almost every day. I try to write every day. It’s my intention and effort to go, order coffee, sit down, and write. I push hard to do it. Existence intervenes. Doctor’s appointments, social engagements, holidays, family obligations and other things all provide obstacles. I try to work around them, but sometimes, I fail.

I used to hate it when I failed to write. Part of the hate was the fear that, if I don’t write every day, I’ll lose whatever meager skills I’ve acquired. Now, either because I mock my skill level or whatever, that fear is much less. It might take a little more time and thought to encourage the muses to arrive after a long writing break, but they generally do come in. I’ve become more familiar with their ways and the signals they give off when they approach. I’m a bit better at letting them in.

By the way, the longest break from writing every day this year is four days.

Because I think about myself in general and my writing often, trying to make sense out of who I am, what affects me, and how it affects me (especially given how my body has changed through the years), I know about the cycles. So I was ready for an energetic writing session to strike.

One point about that, though, gives me pause: do I make the writing cycle happen out of expectations and investing more in myself, and extending a greater effort, or does it actually come about on its own?

I’m not positive, but I believe that like many things, there’s a bit of both in it, and that what’s true one time is probably not true the next time.

Today, though, was an exciting and intense writing session, sweeping me out of here and deeply into the imaginary existence that I’m writing about. It was one of those sessions that are so fantastic, they’re addictive, because it encourages hope that this can happen every day. That’s not how highs work, though.

There are some drawbacks. First, didn’t drink my coffee. A third of it is gone, but that’s all. Small price, right?

Two, I’m suffering from writer’s butt. My Fitbit reminded me to get up and walk each hour. I said, “Okay, in a minute. Just let me finish this sentence.” Next thing I know, ten minutes and several hundred words have passed. Oh, well.

Good day of writing like crazy. Time to go on and address other aspects of life and living, like, you know, eating. Cheers.

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Fast and Furious

To borrow from the movie franchise that stole the phrase from popular culture, today’s writing session went fast and furious. Hard keeping pace with the muses as they turned up with generous inputs. It fast became one of those writing-like-crazy sessions where I sat down, swallowed a big gulp of hot coffee, and then started typing. When I next was aware of tasting the coffee, it was cold to the lips, and the coffee shop was empty except for me and the barista.

Exciting time. Loved it. Hate for it to end, but they’re shutting up for the day, as they close at noon on Sundays. It was great while I was here, though, the sort of session writers always hope to experience, where the story comes alive, and the words thunder out as if the faucet’s been fully opened and will never close.

Personal Update

Time for some self-congratulations. Medical appointment went well today. Lost seven pounds since August 8th. Blood pressure was 230/131 on that day; today, it was 130/64. Cool beans.

All the blood tests came back with nothing there to explain my high BP. It all looked good on paper. I always suspected weight and sodium. Based on that, I went on a three-day-green smoothie that began August 9th. Then we began a modified green-smoothie-diet. Based on the book, “The Green Smoothie Diet”, we consumed smoothies for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, I also had a banana, prune, a handful of raw nuts (usually walnuts) and a boiled egg. Fresh veggies such as celery, radishes, and carrots were consumed for lunch.

Dinner was usually a romaine lettuce salad and then fish with something. For example, Monday, we had a salmon Caesar salad. Tuesday was cod with ginger sauce with rosemary oven fries. Wednesday was steamed broccoli and a baked sweet potato with the salad.

I also cut back on coffee, beer, and wine consumption. For perspective, I drink few things beyond those three items and water. I drink a lot of water.

Meanwhile, checking my regular foods for sodium, I was horrified by the findings. I’d always checked foods for sugar, fat, and fiber, along with general contents. Now I see that sodium needs to be on the check list. Once again, it comes down to being mindful. Well, it’s paying off.

Put me off my writing schedule by a few hours but got my coffee now. I’m in the seat. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Be Brave

Another writing slash self-examination of myself post. It’s all about me, you know…

Writing often is about the author, whether it’s the process or subject, the writer is deep into it. I’m too damn introspective for my own good, and I’m a fragile beast.

I’m struggling with April Showers 1921. Much of the struggle is my fault; some is due to life events.

Life events kept me from writing several times. Vacation. Vacation is a good thing, right? Not for this writer, as it meant not writing. Felt like someone was scraping the enamel off my teeth.

Other life events, a birthday party, memorial service, surgery and health issues, interfered with my writing habits. Those, though, could be overcome. I felt confident of that.

Harder to overcome was my doubts about what I was writing and the story that I was relating. “Overthinking” is the world. Overthinking let in the doubt monster. The doubt monster fed my writer angst. Next up was a full blown case of imposter syndrome worries.

I walked and fretted, ate and fretted, awakened and fretted…fretting accompanied everything. I was engaging in one of the worst and most common problems afflicting writers, trying to write for others instead of myself. It took me until this morning to realize it. A young woman’s tatoo finally awakened.

She’s a barista at my fave coffee shop. On her left wrist was a tattoo, “Be brave.” 

I’ve known her for four years. She graduated from high school a year early. She was sixteen. She then took a year off to travel Thailand and southeast Asia. She said tattoo was a reminder.

After speaking with her, I went on a walking break. I admired her and her tattoo. I’d never tattooed anything on myself, but I employed a mantra: “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I’d developed it when I was young to help me overcome those things. Others were always saying that they saw things in me and nominating me for stuff or asking me if I wanted to try something.

What kind of cad would say no to such sugary words? Not me. Between genes, birth order, and socialization, I’m just a boy who can’t say no. I want others to like me too much. I don’t want to disappoint them. I fear disappointing them.

That’s where and when the mantra was born. People would tell me, “You got this. You can do it.” Nodding, I’d agree without speaking, and then tell myself, “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I frequently added, “Focus.” Results were often excellent, usually surprising all of us.

Remembering that, I turned back to the times when I employed that mantra and achieved good results, and decided, time to drag that mantra out again.

No fear, no doubt, no worries.

Time to continue writing and editing like crazy, at least one more time.

 

Back, Baby

Hold breath. Release.

Order, calm. 

Relax. It’s okay.

Sure. Yes. It’ll be okay.

So it went on Monday. My wife and I left on a car-cation. Just a road trip to Yachats. I wanted to write, of course, but I knew she was jealous of that. She wanted to break out of our regular structure of existence, hence the trip to the coast.

So, with reluctance, I agreed without speaking to her unspoken concern. It’s the kind of thing that works after being married through a few ice ages.

I worried, though, oh, I worried that I’d forgotten what I’d written, where I was in the ms., and what I was about to write or change. It helped that I was on draft number seven of April Showers 1921. It’s probably ninety percent written, with changes being made to sculpt the story, structure the plot, polish the prose, and exercise the pace. Still, I worried that the muses might decide to teach me a lesson because I’d ignored them for four days.

A more rational aspect of me reassured me that all would be well. That piece of me proved correct. I sat down with my computer and cuppa coffee today, opened the doc, and said, “Oh, that’s right. This part is wordy and awkward and needs some lovin’.”

Then I was off. Good day of writing — and editing — like crazy. Good to be back. Time to go on to other things.

Butt’s asleep, ya’ know? Yeah, writer’s butt; it’s the worse. They never warned you about writer’s butt when you told them you wanted to be a writer, did they?

Take That, World

A friend’s daughter recently published a short story. I ended up with it in hand to read. It wasn’t her first. She’s been published about a dozen times.

Oh, how the urge to edit pulsed through me as I read it. My inner writer was shaking his head. The story was wooden, with passive verbs, a weak concept, and slow pacing. There was much telling, then showing what’d been told, and then sometimes told again.

I was dismayed and baffled. This was my take, but this was a recently published short story. This must be what editors like.

Novels that were recently published that I’d read were recalled. With many designated as bestsellers, I often thought the writing was clumsy, particularly in the early chapters, but they knew how to tell a story, and that came through in the end. Of course, there were a few where the writing was sublime. Those tend to be the award winners.

Yes, I know, every reader brings their a unique set of expectations, and finds their own story from what the writer offered. My take will be different from what others find and enjoy. Yet, something like the things I found that I wanted to edit seem like the basics of strong writing.

I concluded, I’m out of step with what’s wanted and desired in the writing and publishing world — and the reading world — and probably destined to be so forever. Accepting that, I’ll resign myself, again, to writing for myself and trying to improve my writing.

Take that, world.

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

As A Muse Will

I’d come in, fired up the ‘putin’ machine (no, not the one that make everything that comes out look or sound like Putin), had my coffee, and settled in to write. Problem was that I didn’t know what to write.

In the course of revising April Showers 1921, I added another layer. It’s worked well. I was ready to end that layer. I didn’t know how. I’d been thinking about it but nothing came to me.

And then, hands on keyboard, the muse arrived and conducted, as a muse will. A scene flashed on my mind’s edge. Words arrived. I typed. The scene took off, becoming multiple scenes and dialogue, becoming a chapter. Walking away from it much satisfied with the results, I continued thinking about it as I conducted my post-writing walking review, and the next pieces came to me. Arriving yesterday and setting up, I took up with that, and had more terrific results. Then, today — yep, again, for a hat trick.

It was an intense and productive three days. I feel like I’m just coming back up for air.

I know it’s not a muse, but deep recesses in my mind shooting neurons at mental walls until something sticks and some sort of Jackson Pollack-like story ideas gel. It’s easier, simpler, and more elegant to just attribute it to the muse, though.

Besides, you never know. If it is a muse, sure as hell don’t want pull a Joey Tribbiani* and upset them.

Done writing like crazy for at least one more day. Cheers

* If you need the explanation…

Joey Tribbiani was a Friends character played by actor Matt LeBlanc. (Friends was a U.S. television sitcom on NBC last century.) Joey was an actor who achieved success on a daytime television soap opera. During an interview, Joey claimed that he wrote most of his own lines. The writer wasn’t happy and promptly killed the character.

The end.

 

Double Think

Seven triple four began doubting his mission. The Kazmo believed he had a special insight into where the other versions of him resided. The Kazmo were correct, although it wasn’t as easy as they perceived. The silver machines didn’t know or understand that many of his other versions were fakes. Usually existing for about fourteen minutes, triple four suspected these other versions existed to distract the Kazmo and their resources.

That fact scared triple four. If he was right, his other selves knew about the Kazmo and their project.

They probably also knew about him, too, then. But if they knew about him, it could be that the fake others might only exist in his perceptions.

What he needed was a way to figure this out. If he couldn’t, he didn’t have a reason to exist.

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