Writer’s Log: 2311

Coming up for air was a mistake. I should have stayed submerged, chipping away at my rock of fiction, my own way, my own tools. But the shimmering mirror above drew me to break the surface and gaze about. Toxic reasoning, broken ideologies, plain wrong thinking found me struggling in the froth at the top. Best to sink back down and return to rooting among the muck and sludge that is my domain.

But isn’t it the affectation of all creators to seek affirmation of their work?

Are there truly artists in the world who work solely for the work? The painters and sculptors and potters who toil away in their hidy-holes, furiously producing piece after piece? Producing with nary a thought as to their creation’s effectiveness, impact, or value?

Perhaps those types of art differ from lexical art like writing & songs. Why communicate through words (the foundation of a society) if those words might never be read or heard by another human? Music? I think music might be somewhere in between.

All artists no doubt suffer the burden of mediocrity in concert with self-doubt. Word artists seem unique, however, in their suffering. Failing to communicate through a communication medium must be the ultimate of failure.

Thoughts?

If y’all are about sick of this daily barrage of content from me, worry not, September will come to an end soon and so too this flurry of activity.

Writer’s Log: 2287 Rate of Writing

I have not been idle.

This last month I’ve booked thirty plus hours writing short stories, published over on my writing blog. Among them, additional apocalyptic scenarios and other stories meant for online competition, and still other random pieces. No, not idle.

But not decidedly dedicated toward any of my WIPs, either. As if I’m circling them, sword drawn, dagger ready, crouched and eager for their counterattack. “Just try it, you bunch.” “Ha!” they challenge, “You got this all wrong, buddy. It ain’t us that be needin’ the balls to do the attackin’.”

All too true. Those nodules have shrunk and pulled up inside like a prepubescent servant boy facing his first pour at the royal table.

“I’m still honing my skill. You wait ’till my blades are sharp… You just wait.”

“Bah! Slacker.”

When I went to calculate the number of hours for this post: 2287, I chanced a peek back to last year at this time, which stood at about 2100. So, one year and ~180 hours. Not too good. The year prior? The total stood at approximately 1800,  calculated to 300 hours spent. Beyond this the numbers get fuzzy, but I’m guessin’ the count stood at 1000—the year before—which means that that year (August ’17 to August ’18) I booked 800 hours.

  • Year #4: 180 hrs
  • Year #3: 300 hrs
  • Year #2: 800 hrs
  • Year #1: 1000 hrs (I started this endeavor the summer of 2016.)

Not a good trend.

Now, in my defense, my work-a-day job had been vastly different back in the beginning. In the last two years, however, fewer daytime hours could be “donated” toward my writing process.

Additionally, I dare say that the quality of output has accelerated inversely, counter intuitively, to the number of hours applied. Fewer, yet closely attentive words? But, who is a writer to (accurately) judge their own work?

Regardless, my WIPs taunt me no end. They beg my attention. They deserve better.

Back to work.

(Slacker!)

 

Writer’s Log: 2251 Workshop #4

If I were to suggest one exercise for writers who stumble and fall into this morass of philosophic and analytic musings we call Anonymole, it is this: Read and edit other writers’ work.

I’ve collected four acolytes who need help. Although I’m just barely out of writer’s diapers myself, I can help these authorial toddlers avoid the moshpit of old dogs, table corners, sliding glass doors and unstable dressers. That is, I can point out the obvious problems in their writing.

And they are obvious—to me, now, at least. And these folks are effusively grateful. And I’m indulgently magnanimous in my pronouncements (kidding, really. I’m kidding, y’all).

As I read and edit, with an eight-eyed group watching, what strikes me as dichotomous is this: They instantly know their mistakes when I point them out.

What? How can you write THIS, yet know that THIS sucks when I hold a microscope to it?

And there in lies the WTF moment entwined with a Holy Shit moment. Our writer’s mind is Grand Mal divided from our reader’s mind. Two views of the world living in one brain.

And, (crux of the moment coming up), it is the gradual training of our writer’s mind to follow the advice and understanding of our reader’s mind that all writers strive to achieve.

Case in point.

You write 1000 words. It’s brilliant, evocative and gripping. You squirrel it away and forget about it for months. Occasion permits that you discover it anew and reread it. Gaw! What the fuck is this tripe? It’s heinous. (Well, maybe you’re more forgiving to yourself; I’m a recovering self-oppressed sewage-mucker and know my place.)

Regardless, what your writer’s mind wrote as timeless prose, your reader’s mind hip-checked, crushed and then slammed into the glass.

How can the two minds be so divergent? So disconnected? Ah-ha! I have no idea. However, I believe that is the secret. Writing well is the coercion of your reader’s mind over the top of your writer’s mind such that the words you pen reflect a single effort, produce a unified view of your story.

Of course, if your reader’s mind is undeveloped, Penthouse advice column your go-to literary hallmark, then the challenge of merging your two minds might be as easy as a twelve-pack and a hot day noodling catfish.

But, using my plebes as examples: If their two minds are acres divided, then presenting their errors, as-they-watch, will nudge their divided minds ever closer.

A master writer is one where their reader and writer minds are one.

That’s what I tell myself at least, the liar that I am.

What do you think? Are there two minds, the writer and the reader? Something else? Am I full of shit? Hold on, don’t answer that.

 

 

Writer’s Log: 2250 Friend or Foe

I managed to log only fifteen hours of writing last month. It would seem sequestration induces the opposite reaction, that is, inaction, at least where writing is concerned.

“Son, it’s a beautiful day outside. Go pal around with your friends.”
“Naw, I’ll just hang out inside doing nuthin’.”

“Son, it’s raining and stormy, best you stay inside today.”
“Naw, I got dams to build, boats to float and puddles to stomp.”

Not that I idled away my scant free time. A few thousand words rose like fetid mushrooms in my various venues. Yet, their shallow, haphazard appearance feels as if they grew of their own accord. “Did you write this?” “Yeah, I guess I did. But I don’t remember the verve and swerve of the experience. Perhaps I penned them during a semi-lucid dream.”

That’s not how I’d like to remember my writing adventures.

~~~

Friend or Foe

I read an article recently that explored the concept of creating a personal enemy against which one battles. It didn’t matter what type of enemy, only that it represented an oppressive or offensive manifestation that must be fought. Today I’m going to fight societal bigotry with temperance and forbearance. They, who think I can’t finish this spreadsheet, are not going to beat me! Sure it hurts, but exercise pain is the adversary we must defeat—they thought I’d give up, well I’ll show them.

If you have an identifiable rival upon which you can focus your ire, then you can leverage your aggressions to spur advancement. Fight the good fight. Wrestle and win.

I wondered about this and imagined that I might not have a personal enemy, but perhaps a loved one or close friend needs defending or protection. I might not be in jeopardy, but I have someone close who is.

Bringing this home to writing, I consider protagonists often have either a friend whom they are defending or a foe against whom they personally struggle. There’s an enemy in either case. Something evil, insidious and threatening which must be confronted and defeated—even if the enemies are but one’s own demons.

Find an enemy and do everything in your power to destroy them while they do the same to you or yours. The better the villain the better the story. Of course it’s not that simple. Sometimes a character’s friend and foe switch roles. Still, the roles exist and must be fittingly characterized.

Creating compelling enemies would appear as incentive in life as well as writing. Who are your personal opponents and are you and they worthy?

From the article: “If we imagine a force working against us, we’re more likely to get fired up, resist our temptations, and work harder to achieve our goals.”

Writer’s Log: 2235

Indecision. Self doubt. Disgust. The admission of futility. And so, a little break. A little of this and that… A brief interlude.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sensations of fractured glass tumbling through my veins.

Posed as a model, exposed and vulnerable, pale skin burning beneath false light.

Tiny claw marks, fresh in the dust, behind and above and within.

Ponderous steps through sickly tar, the stench of fermented gasses lifting as a miasma into my lungs.

Keys of plastic, bags of them, letters and numbers, a thousand monkeys shaking red cups of warm beer that smells like urine.

Whales of cumulus breach and explode scattering the froth of grey exhaust spewn from city buses.

Acres of withered milkweed poison orange and black monarchs that slow their wing beats, stop and tumble to the desiccated soil.

Granite seams, never friendly, stick and build the ire they hold for the fools at the surface.

A purple fungus tickles its mycelium along the nodules that have sprouted from my spine.

The penis of mighty Zeus hangs useless, spent and decrepit, having buried its head amongst the folds of a dying Gaea.

 

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