Well, I kind of do every morning, really. It’s kind of hard sometimes to wrap my mind around the fact that next month is our twenty-seventh anniversary. Twenty-seven years. That’s a long time for someone like me, whose prior relationships never lasted much longer than a couple of weeks at best. I was thinking about my past last night, after I got home and collapsed into my easy chair, and thinking again how I could never write a memoir because I really don’t remember what actually happened, and over the years I’ve rewritten things to make me look better in my own mind and memory. We all have, I think, a tendency to see ourselves as always being in the right, and everyone else being wrong…and as more time passes we continue to color those memories and slant them in our minds until the truth, what really happened, what was actually said, have changed completely in our minds and these biased revisions become our truth; which is just one of many reasons I use my past–if and when I do write about my past–I only use it for fiction–because my past as I remember it now is probably mostly fiction.
I had another good night’s sleep last night, which was marvelous and feels great this morning. My muscles feel rested and relaxed as opposed to tight and tired, and my mind feels a bit refreshed. I am not in world-conquering mode quite yet; but I am getting there slowly but surely. I have a lot of work to get done this week and over this weekend; I am going to have to buckle down and force myself to actually get the work done this weekend no matter how badly I want to goof off and relax and do little to nothing–it’s really not an option for me this time around. I have too much to do, and the trip to Kentucky, necessary as it was, really threw me off schedule (which I was already behind, to be fair; the trip made things worse). So I am hoping–with feeling rested and everything today–that I’ll be able to make some serious progress on things, and get to a place where I can unplug for the entire weekend (other than the blog, of course) and avoid everyone and everything until I am completely caught up the way I should be on everything. I doubt that will happen–if anything was proven to me this past weekend on the trip, it’s that I get way too much junk email every day, so not looking at it and not deleting things is really not an option for an entire weekend.
I am also the featured author at Three Rooms Press this month, which is very cool; many thanks to Peter Carlaftes (and Kat Georges) for always being incredibly supportive of me and my career over the years, ever since they published the Florida Happens anthology I edited for St. Petersburg Bouchercon. I was rereading it last night in my chair while I was waiting for Paul to come home (so we could watch another episode of The Little Drummer Girl), and I winced quite a bit, as I always do. The other morning, when I taped the segment for Great Day Louisiana (which, it occurred to me last night, might not air) I was having to talk about writing and again, I think back to the questions asked (Malik, the interviewer, was great–friendly and nice and very high energy) and my responses and wince a little bit. I always feel so pompous and pretentious when I talk about writing, but I try to be as honest as I can. I’m never sure how I come across (and let’s be honest, I am a huge critic of myself), and I want to be practical–I always roll my eyes when I read interviews about writers talking about writing and they turn into this mystical, mysterious thing with muses and Gods of Inspiration and “opening a vein and bleeding on the page” and all of that stuff. Yes, you want emotional honesty in your work, and yes, you want your characters to be realistic and fully developed and well rounded and to have interior lives, but ultimately, at least for me, writing is work. I think about it, I go over it in my head, I sit down and write it and print it and edit it and revise and rewrite it and maybe that can, I suppose, be seen as “bleeding on the page”…but then I remind myself I am not a literary writer and so therefore I don’t go through all the angst and agony they do–I don’t spend hours trying to structure and craft a sentence until it’s perfect and poetry, either.
Then again, I’ve never really fit the mold of what most people think authors are like and I’ve never written the way other people do. And that’s fine; there’s no “one way” to be an author. I always tell people the entire point of writing manuals is to show beginners there are any number of ways to write and be a writer; what works for someone else might not work for you, and the point of the manuals with helpful hints and techniques and methodologies for getting words on the page is for you to try things to see what works best for you, and it may wind up being a combination of Sue Grafton said this and this other writers does this and let me try this thing Michael Connelly does and so on…you have to come up with whatever works for you, and there’s nothing wrong with borrowing bits and pieces of other author’s techniques and honing them into something that works for you.
Which is also why I will never write a How to Be a Writer manual. I could, on the other hand, do something like Stephen King’s On Writing, which is a combination writing memoir/manual, and is the book I recommend to any and every person who wants to write. And then I think, like anyone wants to read your memoir about writing….and didn’t you just say you aren’t sure of your own memories of the past, what’s true and what’s been revised over the years by your ego?
Yes, that would be a problem.
At any rate, it’s time for me to head into the office for another exciting day of STI testing. You have a great day, Constant Reader, and think of me down here in the spice mines.