Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Month Later

Cars is still watched daily in my house. A month ago I was ready to blow my brains out, but I've gotten past it. I've gotten past putting hits out on Steve Jobs (God forbid!) and the entire Pixar staff. I've come to some uncertain peace with it - it is just part of the background for me and Jack - who, while he insists that it sometimes be on, no longer sits to watch it much anymore. He plays with his own cars while it plays behind him.

The pecan tree is golden. I have to mow the lawn this weekend, but then that obligation can be set aside for three months.

I am just beginning to read Gogol's Dead Souls and Cardinal Newman's Apologia pro Vita Sua.

I am still writing, but it appears I only managed an average of two pages per day, five days a week, this past month. Strange how quickly it moves at some points and how it trudges at others. Regardless I'm halfway done with my first draft, if the story cooperates. This morning during my walk I was able to get through some obstacles in the plot and am excited to get that down on paper. Before, the story seemed to be converging on some premature closure, since I didn't see the next move, and now it has opened up before me again. Sigh. The most important thing as a writer, I have discovered, is simply to write. It is in being faithful. How's that for an elementary truth that has taken me entirely too long to learn? Apparently my slowness in learning (and, even still, knowing) is due to my abhorrence of having to wait (as a story slowly develops on the best of days), and my distaste for discipline. As well as my neurotic fear of failure. Other than that, I'm golden.


kkollwitz said...

Gogol....I read his Overcoat when I was in 6th grade or so, too young to get it, but it stuck with me, and I wondered about it for 15 years 'til I got the point. I think. There's a movie that I swear channels The Overcoat, but I must be the only person who thinks so: Man Push Cart.

I don't know Dead Souls...

Read about half of Apologia this year....can't seem to finish. It makes so many references to other things I hadn't read.

Dan said...

It's exciting to know that you're writing so much, and that it's a novel. Does it jinx things to give us an idea about it? What time era, what region of the country, what age/gender of your protagonist? Congratulations on plugging away at it so faithfully!

Scott Lyons said...

Christian, I'll see how I do on both - I haven't been doing well on being able to sit down and read lately. I open the book and one or two pages in and I'm nodding, but not in agreement or recognition, if you know what I'm saying.

I actually have a few other books in from the library that I need to pick up as of today and I just don't see how I'm going to be able to get through them all - I usu have a few too many lying around at home.

Dan, I don't imagine it would jinx anything - but, hey! I haven't tried it yet, so who knows? Anyway, the subject matter of my book has long been what has paralyzed my writing, I discovered. I wanted to "write something for the ages" (cue 2010 theme). But I also have wanted to just start making some cash for helping out at home - and I'd read through some of the kids' books and thought how easily and quickly I could rip out some of the books they love. So I decided to do a juvenile fantasy. I figured it wouldn't take me long: I have some good ideas that I could use, I was raised on the stuff, and I figured I could certainly do a better job than some of what I read out there - put a little more meat on the kids' plates as it were. But, unfortunately, as soon as I began writing - about 25 pages in - the juvenile aspect of the fiction became difficult for me. I think, weaned on the genre, that for now I simply need to write the kind of writing I love to read (which seems obvious) because that's what's coming out. So it's not entirely my plan and it's taking me far longer than I had originally anticipated and, as always, I don't even know if I will be able to get it published. But, importantly for me, I know now that I can get it written. And that's exciting.

I would like, if I could, to write "real" novels someday - whether it's for the ages or not I don't have any great aspirations. But I'd like to write something that I can learn from, that can teach me, as I write it and as I become a reader of it later. And I think even this series I've started will have much of that within it. Nothing didactic, understand.

It's a learning process and it's exciting. But I'm still rather impatient and wish it were finished yesterday. I don't know how long editing the first draft will take, once it's finished, but one step at a time.

Anyway - for now, it's a somewhat typical fantasy (series, most likely) in which some "this worlders" end up in another world and become heroic to some degree, but with a twist that I hope is integral to the story line, as it seems integral to my life at the moment. It won't be on the scale of "Lord of the Rings" (but of course, it doesn't need to be either) simply because Tolkien's background is, in many ways, far richer than mine for writing this kind of lit. Not to mention that it was more or less his life work, and I'm not sure I would want this to be mine. He's the father of modern fantasy perhaps, but more of a myth-maker, I think at times, than a fantasy writer.