I feel guilty when I stray away from this quiet, little blog for such a long time. Guilty even when I am working on something purposeful elsewhere. Like writing original material for some other audience.
But I'm back to say that the best advice that I have ever been given -- about sitting down to write something new -- is simple. The advice was two syllables, one word: finish.
A new book of stories which I have been piecing together has proved to have an elusive closure point. It's ironic that the newest piece that I am working on is a story -- with a protagonist named Butterman stuck in the midst of the detainees' hunger strike at the Guantanamo naval base -- tentatively titled "Endurance." My plan was to have the whole project wrapped up and bound for e-book land before Easter. But the best laid plans . . .
Fortunately, I just had a surprise distraction amidst my (in)action, an office drop-in dragging in a whacky business idea. This has lent me an excuse to draft this blog note.
The surprising (and loopy) proposal that she was pitching caught me off-guard. But it spurred me to give my visitor that absolutely withering, wordless, I don't think so gaze that has terrorized hordes -- for many years -- of staff members, employees, co-writers, teammates, trolls, and children. This is that look that my visitor csaptured. Do I seem pleased? No, I do not.
|"No, I don't think so! Just come back |
with when you have a really good idea."
Endurance. While I have been constructing this unmolded story I've been thinking about Tennyson's work -- and curiously about those folks who were badly injured in the recent bombings in Boston. Challenging it can be to stay on the right path -- especially when something like a bang and a flash hurls one suddenly right off of it. In particular, I've been studying again the poem "Ulysses" with it's emotional closing -- relating to an aging but idle Adventurer looking to 'leave it all behind' by launching anew into some great unknown, but probably fairly happy just to hang out quietly in his Grecian barcalounger, watching his worker-bee scepter bearing kid, Telemachus, do much of the unpleasant lifting on their weathered isle. It's a story told often before.
But, now, I see it's time to go back to my immediate task. Endurance. Completion. On to the finish! No time to yield. (But wait, maybe I'll grab lunch first. Then pick a Kentucky Derby horse to bet on tomorrow. Look around for some lingering list of B-level priorities to address. It just may be that ItsMyLuckyDay.)
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson