One of these days the books will write themselves. The robots will have analyzed every facet of our brains and they’ll craft the next great literary wonders. Inside their copper and gold neural networks they’ll piece together the best of what humans desire and you’ll have masterpiece after masterpiece to enjoy. Until then, I plan on keeping my eye on the goal of finishing the first draft of this massive work. It could be two or three times larger than anything I’ve written before and that means it’s going to take longer. I wish I had the patience for that. Truth is I don’t. I want this thing done yesterday, just like the sale of our house. Nothing seems to be happening fast enough for me these days, and I have a feeling that is going to persist for the near future.
So what does that mean?
It means a lot of frustration. It means grinding every word and sentence into paragraphs, hoping that it makes a difference when I put this hero sandwich together. The silver lining is this – Any good (not even great) piece of writing is hard work. All of the great ones, no matter their profession, slaved away in the dark until they were finished. As a writer I might never write anything great, or it might be found in the years to come and enjoyed after I’m long gone. Every creative work is a gamble. It means putting life and time on the table and betting that your stuff is good enough to get noticed. Flip a coin Harvey Dent, tell me which side comes up.
I want to make sure you understand me when I say – I have zero regrets about the passion that chose me. Storytelling is in my blood. When I hear music I don’t think about the music, I think about a scene where the music could be used. My brain explodes with tons of possibilities and this happens on a daily basis. If it happens to you, then maybe you’ve got the same itch I do.
Aristotle said – “You are what you repeatedly do. Therefore excellence ought to be a habit, not an act.”
To that end I can happily report I finished two chapters this week. Two I really needed to finish because my writing was starting to become an act and falling away from a habit. I’ve slipped before, I think every writer has. My 9-5 puts pressure on my writing schedule, but also offers pockets of time where I can be very productive. Find the time, make the time, and create time where you didn’t believe there was time before.
This week I ordered Kat Michels children’s book Monsters in the Night. Kat is a great follow on Twitter and the book could make a fun gift for a certain kid I know. Aimed at a much younger range than my two boys, it looked fun. Check her stuff out!
Another creator I’ve mentioned on Twitter is Stephanie or as I know her Offbeatworlds – Artist, writer, and someone I hope to work with in a future film project. Last I saw she is open for commission work and if you’re in need of some serious talent, get your eyes on her stuff.
Tom Petty was the rhythm section of my high school summers. He was the guy in the back of the van, smelled like a funny kinda grass, and asked you to take another minute to consider where you were, where you’d been, and where you were going. Tom flooded the airwaves with his sound. He took your head and heart on a journey you’d never considered, even if you’d heard the tune a thousand times – which living in the Midwest – you probably had already. I call him Tom not because I ever met him, or even saw one of his shows. I call him Tom because his music was a friend to me. It got me through at least two high school girlfriends and one crush who never knew I existed.
His song The Waiting was one of my favorites. A tune that sat in heavy rotation in the Rockford airwaves and in my head. When some of my friends listened to the next grunge tune out of Seattle or some band named Nine Inch Nails, I quietly jammed out to all-american folk and rock on my bass. It played okay with my parents who were sensitive to the crushing distortion the other music offered. Tom Petty was like taking a Soma and sitting in a cornfield. Even when he went uptempo the music was still his.
I went back into his vault of music this week and listened to some of my favorites. I don’t mourn him or any other artist when they die. It’s not to say that I don’t feel when they pass, I do. I choose to channel the energy they gave us in their art into my own. I can think of no finer remembrance for a creator than to have people take the energy they give and put it into their current works. Art is meant to arrest and inspire. It is meant to bring us to an uncomfortable place where we’re forced to think and feel.