onsdag, oktober 18, 2006

2007 or Bust

Saturday night, October 14, at the Good Earth. Look at that syrah-fueled red eye!! I look like Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.


A Quote

"If I do have a gift that should be respected, I confess before your pure heart that up to now I haven't respected it. I felt that I had it, but got used to considering it insignificant. There are plenty of purely external reasons to make an individual unfair, extremely suspicious, and distrustful of himself, and I reflect now that there have been plenty of such reasons in my case."

- Anton Chekov in a letter to the established writer DV Grigorovich, 28 March 1886. Grigorovich had encouraged the young Chekov in a letter three days earlier to become a more serious writer.

Connecting the Dots

Yesterday morning in the coffeeshop, a little girl occupied her wait time with a freestyle version of Connect the Dots. Her lyrics included the coupled lines, "Knick the trike! Turn the spoon!" Or maybe that was "Nick." To steal? or clip?

Loading Up the Inner Van

All right. Okay. I've written before about dedicating more time and energy to writing seriously. I have. It's been considerable.

And, yes, the big push is on, but while a creative impulse is capable of burning without cessation, one's involvement with them might best be given a shelf-life for the sake of both the writer and the creative force, wherever it is that energy blooms.

Either this writing dog must have a literary day in 2007 or it's time to find a new obsession. For example, I could live like a normal person: paying down debt; having a retirement plan; maybe owning a cat or plant or something living other than the mice in the walls; etc. The last ten years have been spent not just writing for a hobby or compulsion, but with real intent to publish. I write compulsively, yes, but I work very hard at it too. Daily. I write for at least an hour each day, usually three, on top of all the other writing work I do and everything else one must do by the day: eat, wash clothes, write checks, etc. I have sacrificed sleep and a few friendships, a job and numerous job offers, and even (normal?) relationships for this. I have taxed the patience of everyone in my life and stretched my own too often thread-bare.

(Speaking of thread-bare patience, hey: Bears. Winning on two fumble return touchdowns and a returned punt? and a missed field goal by the Cardinals? Dudes. Do you realize how many cardiologists ought to just forward their bills to you? I'll need my own soon if you don't cut that shit out.)

Ack. Writers are reactionaries. We're prone to grand declarations of hope and failure, though I think this is pretty much a family trait. (You know you ALL do this, though I suspect the soaring hope side is probably a market cornered almost entirely by me.) I have trouble sleeping if I don't write. I'm a total grouch if a couple days pass during which I haven't had the opportunity to write.

I am forever wrestling with declarative sentences.

Regardless of the many ways I might not own up to this, I'm putting it down and hoping someone will hold me to it: 2K7 is the mark, else I am the Beast. If I can't wrestle free some sign that I'm doing anything at all, then it's time to let this be nothing more than a compulsion, like a restless leg. It's a thing to work on controlling, maybe even a thing to medicate. If I can't bring myself to send things out regularly in the hope of publication or landing an agent, if I can't score publication or an agent, then it's time to turn all this energy to something more constructive.

Some of us, even the self-destructively dedicated ones, are just better editors than writers. That ain't so bad. Perhaps that's the door I need to open.

Forcing Your Hand Too

As I write foolish thoughts like "all or nothing!," as I ponder how ridiculous some liberty-image woman would look if she just wandered in with the whole flag and exposed-breast get-up and in an exhausted tone and with defeated posture ordered a cafe au lait, I'm listening to Wolf Parade's "Shine a Light." Repeatedly. (Listen number 12 or so just concluded.) So bear with me. I'm wound up, it's such a frenzied song, yet it includes lyrics like "Waiting for something that never arrives." So I get to sample yin AND yang in this tune. Thanks, wP.

No one else need follow the same self-devised soul-crushing course, but some of you ought to send your work out from time to time. You write well and often. What harm is it to send out work? If you are solely a blogger, you might adapt your work to creative nonfiction opportunities.

Competitions aren't of significant interest, but I'm thinking of them today because many of them are imminent and one can always use the scratch, hey. So, writers in the mist, here are three competitions with forthcoming deadlines:

* 580 Split fiction and poetry contest. $10 reading fee. $100 first prize. Deadline: November 1.

* Briar Cliff. Creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry. $15 reading fee. $1000 top prize in all three categories. Deadline: November 1. (Reykjavik's E, I'm talking to you! Lorie, I'm talking to you! Maybe you can convince your mother to pony up the entry fee, especially since you have those breaking & entering and dog theft charges against her. Or is a statute of limitation in effect?)

* Danahy Fiction Prize from Tampa Review. $15 reading fee. $1000 top prize. All entries considered for publication. Deadline: November 1.

I've a list of many others if you're interested. Now get back to work!
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