Sunday, January 15, 2012

Writing Bliss

Sunday, January 15, 2012—Long Beach, CA

An overcast day, with the slightest amount of drizzle. I slept kind of late, watched a little of the Ravens-Texans game, listened to Ian Masters’ Background Briefing (which I do on most Sundays), and then went for bike ride along the beach and a half-hour soft-sand walk. Then I road downtown to Portfolio Berlin coffee shop where I am now. The rest of the day will consist of trying to get some stuff done for school and BSP, maybe watching some more football, studying some Greek, and perhaps working on my current short story. I’ve also got to write an application letter for the Ventura job, which I also might try and start today.

I mentioned in my last entry (I think it was that entry) that I’ve been feeling really good about things lately. I still am. But I’m also feeling restless too, like it’s time for a major change in my life (the job apps, the Greek option, and even my foray into the world of short-story writing are of course symptoms of this). A part of me just wants to do something radical like sell almost everything I own, buy a really good road bike, and just start riding—to anywhere. I think the only thing that’s stopping me from doing that sort of thing is BSP—I really want to keep the press going, build it into something that matters. There can only be so much wandering while that dream is still around.

I’m sure part of my restlessness is coming from the fact that I can feel myself embarking into new places in my writing that I’m anxious to go deeper into. Though I’m only maybe two-thirds of the way thru Girl in the Orange Bikini, the short story I’m working on, it’s already showing me a way into a big new world, in regards to storytelling; I know it’s going to be the first of many stories that as a whole will be something really substantial. It’s so refreshing after writing two novels to work on so much smaller of a scale, to put things like atmosphere and feeling in the forefront—it’s so great to leave the tyranny of plot behind. My dream of approaching storytelling like painting is already coming true in my first effort! This amazes me. I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for a decade at least, but I could never before realize it (though it crystalized into prose here and there in my novels). I’m also now seeing how I can explore aspects of my life that I’ve never been able to before. The first story is set in Seal Beach—the Seal Beach of my youth. I’m envisioning stories being set in Hawai'i, where I live for a sizeable chunk of my twenties. Maybe my travels to places like Australia will make an appearance at some point. Most of my life, before I was about thirty-five, has been a dead issue for me as a writer. During those years I was essentially in flight—from everything: from myself. Because of this I’ve had little to say about it: my denial made those years lies in very important ways—and it’s the admittance lies that matters, not their details. But there were moments, staggering moments of beauty and wonder, if not clarity, that haunt me, that demand to be refashioned into some sort of art. Now it’s finally happening! How can the coming days not be good ones, when things are suddenly so right for me that my long-bolted doors are now gently opening?

I’ve been looking back at some of these diary entries recently, and they worry me a bit. As I've earlier feared, this on-line format is limiting me. There are certain things about myself I simply do not wish to discuss in a public forum. More troubling, is my continuing reluctance to write about the people in my world. It’s privacy issue. I have every right to put my own existence on display, but I don’t have the right to do that to other people’s lives. This, combined with the areas of my life I won’t go into, has left my path thru this project a somewhat narrow one. Maybe it’s a blessing, though, in that that things about a writer’s life that are most important to his readers are those aspects that have something to do with his relationship to the written word—and that’s the area I’m most comfortable going into here. I could be that when I look back on these pages a decade from now I’ll see that my instincts were right on, that I was doing exactly what I should have been doing. Still, these pages seem a little strange at times. I’m a largely solitary person, but not to the extent these entries imply. Hopefully there are enough hints to the other aspects of my life that they can provide a bit of context. I’m of course too close to all this now to know for sure.


helicopter steve (Estabrook) said...

I'm liking the idea of these short story vignettes...and I can't help being reminded of John's "...ew, she's wearing orange!" comment.

Rob Woodard said...

Yeah, that guy ruined a perfectly good color for a lot of years for me too ...