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The Search for Inspirado

I’m taking a little break. I just worked out about six hundred words that aren’t horrible and I felt like telling someone. Of course I’m assuming that someone might actually be reading these posts. I’m all about the fantasy.

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

I’ve read a number of places (Steven King’s On Writing and Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy immediately come to mind) that writing is a lonely job.

I am committed to having my first draft by the end of August. I am committing to increasing my actual writing time each day. I thought I would originally be shooting for 100k words, but it looks like I may have to eclipse that a bit to tie everything up. I’m okay with that (at least now. I’ll probably be despairing sometime later this week on my rollycoaster ride that is writing).

Stephen Kings On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I would love to get published on my first effort (not first draft, first effort), but I understand it is a long shot. I consider my current work to be, at the very least, an awesome learning experience. It’s a great way to let me know what works for me (scheduled writing time) and what doesn’t (totally winging the story). It also helps me wrangle my inner critic enough that I enjoy even the clunkers and the hard days.

Jack Black once said in Tenacious D, The Search for Inspirado (HBO TV), “I could manufacture Inspirado, but that would be false.” Of course he’s dead wrong, but still funny. The best way to manufacture Inspirado is to sit down and write. I’d love to hear any anecdotes of your search for Inspirado and enjoy this little Tenacious D video. ***Coarse language warning and irrevocable loss of the next 9 minutes and 10 seconds of your life.***


Back in the Saddle

If only we needed one suitcase.

If only we needed one suitcase.

I had really hoped that our two week trip to Maine wouldn’t prove too much of an interruption. I thought I would write more. I was wrong. We rolled back into WV last night and I am back in my dedicated writing space today. It’s a 10×10 shed that I wired, insulated and paneled. We call it the man shack. That’s a horrible name, but, alas, it has stuck.

Today I’m back at the writing and it feels good. I’ve missed the routine, the story. I definitely had some crises of confidence while on the road, but that always seems to go hand in hand with not writing. I get why people stop writing. I get why people never start. I get why people get mired in the middle of their work and give up.

A little Google search on “giving up writing” yields plenty of blog posts like this one or this one. Here is a quote from Joyce Carol Oates that sums it up pretty well:

I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes . . . and somehow the activity of writing changes everything. Or appears to do so.
(“Joyce Carol Oates” in George Plimpton, ed., Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 1989)

Amen. Off to write.


Of Northeastern Islands

Fire Island Lighthouse, Robert Moses Beach, NY

Fire Island Lighthouse before Sunset by Jim Dohms

We arrived on Mount Desert Island, Maine (close to Somes Pond on the map) last night after leaving Long Island, New York yesterday morning.

“The Island” is home to my Uncle Eddie, who collects and sells books on ebay. As we left he hooked us up with a box of books including Cervantes’ Don Quixote,  an omnibus of the Bronte Sisters’ work, a Mark Twain reader, and a heap more. Paper Gold!

We took the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry to Connecticut and motored north. The trip was fairly uneventful, especially after our traffic extravaganza heading on to Long Island Sunday night.

I’ve always enjoyed boats and all things related to sea/river/lake travel. I have a feeling there will be some water based stuff surfacing in my writing sooner rather than later.

I was able to write a bit on the way up to Long Island while my lovely wife drove and my daughter nodded off to sleep for a little bit. I took one more day off than I had intended, but I just finished up a session of about 1300 words. Hopefully some of them make sense.

Plate I of Gustave Dorés illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote. From Chapter I.

Plate I of Gustave Doré's illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. From Chapter I.

I think it’s time for a Come to Jesus Meeting with the manuscript. I’m a bit adrift right now because story lines are at the point where they are beginning to join. I need to make some decisions on major story arcs and turning points, but still maintain flexibility with the whole deal. Good times.
It’s definitely harder for me to maintain continuity while on the road, but at least I’m getting my writing in. For me, that’s huge.

Of Pop and Posters

by Jonathan 2 Comments

June 25. The day bits and pieces of my youth fell away like so much old paint on a sun-beaten windowsill. Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, both of them gone. I didn’t think much of it at first. Just more in a long line of famous people coming and going.

The King of Pop

The King of Pop

But it’s more than that. Those personalities were fused to my childhood like knee patches in my Toughskins. I wasn’t a huge fan of either celebrity or the knee patches, but both offered some sort of buffer. The celebrities softened the edges of the pains of growing up. The knee patches, well, they were indestructible barriers between my knees and grass stains. (It was odd how the Toughskins would break down around the everlasting patches.)

I remember listening to Michael Jackson’s She’s Out of My Life on Casey Kasem’s Top 40 while playing in the backyard. He broke down with a sob at the end. For some reason I can’t forget that. I remember watching the Jackson 5ive cartoon. I remember sleeping over at my friend’s house, a bunch of eighth graders listening to Thriller in the dark when it came out.

I remember Farrah’s famous poster (though I didn’t know it at the time) hanging in my brother’s room. I remember seeing that poster at the Glen Rock Firemen’s Carnival, just waiting to be won by some kid who could pop the right balloons or knock over the milk cans.

Farah Fawcett

Farah Fawcett

I remember playing Charlie’s Angels into the twilight during summer. I never wanted to be Farrah, only because everyone wanted to be Farrah. Sure, I was a boy, but I loved the way those ladies broke bad on the villains. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?

More recently, a friend of mine got a gig as the sound guy for Michael Jackson’s latest tour. He said that if he did his job well, it would give him the leverage to name his price for future sound jobs. Michael Jackson was still a big deal.  “Before his death, Jackson had announced a 50 date sell-out This Is It comeback tour, in London, England (Wikipedia). Not too shabby. Michael Jackson still did it for millions of people throughout the world.

I don’t know that there is some deeper meaning here; I just was amazed that people I took for granted in their heyday, people I didn’t follow inentionally, could leave such a lasting imprint on my memories.

Two days of Mediocrity…

by Jonathan 6 Comments
Claytor Lake Virginia

Claytor Lake Virginia

…or one of Good?

I spent the day at my dad’s helping him repair some vinyl floating stuff and taking a short boat ride on Claytor Lake. It’s a 5 hour round trip. It was good to see dad and do some stuff together. I woke up with a little cold or allergy-type thing – not a big deal, but enough to cast a weird floating feeling on the day (It wasn’t the boat ride, I swear). I’m home now and we just got our daughter down for the night (maybe). I had originally planned to get to some writing tonight, but I don’t know that I have the attention span to churn out something serviceable. Also, if I stay up late struggling, I don’t get the rest I need and go into tomorrow in a similar state. I thought I might concentrate on getting some good rest and hit it hard in the AM, my normal writing time. That’s my plan.

Would you go for quality or quantity if you were in my shoes? All two of you who read this blog, I’m asking you. I think I can get both tomorrow with good rest tonight.