Sunday, March 18, 2012

Strange Dreams and Summer Plans

Wednesday, March 14, 2012—Orange, CA

Strange last few days. I’ve been having some very weird dreams, very intense ones. The one that sticks with me most is one I had a couple nights ago. I don’t remember all the details, but in it Backwaters of Beauty was named one of the best books of the year by the L.A. Times—even though it was unpublished (how the Times got it I can’t quite say). I remember thinking (in the dream) how this meant that the publishers would now be coming to me, that I could cut just about any deal with them I wanted. This dream really disturbs me, mainly because it’s the first time I can ever remember dreaming about my writing and I’m not sure what that means. The fact that the dream was essentially about money and recognition is the truly spooky part. I’ve never thought much about making money off my writing before. In fact, I’ve always assumed that to be a pipe dream. As I’m getting more accomplished at what I do, though, I’m starting to rethink this a bit. Why shouldn’t I get paid—and paid well—for what I do? I have at least as much to contribute as most of the writers who are getting rich off their work. Still, I don’t like these secondary concerns coming out in my dreams. Money ruins everything and I don’t want to lose sight of that.

I’ve also been a bit depressed and confused because it’s looking more and more like Greece simply won’t happen this year. I’ve saved nowhere near as much money as I hoped to and plane tickets are extremely expensive because of the spiking fuel costs (Greece’s own current instability isn’t exactly a selling point either). I also don’t know what my employment situation will be in the fall—I could easily be very underemployed—so I’m a little paranoid about spending money on such a trip. And if I do go it will be a last minute thing. I won’t know what’s going on with the stupid IVC job until maybe as late as June, which means I can’t buy a ticket until then (which will drive up the cost). A part of my will be crushed if I don’t go, but another part of me almost wants to just sit home. I have a new book coming out in April and I’d like to be around this summer to promote it. If I don’t go I could also buy the bike I’ve been wanting and spend the summer here riding and surfing and generally getting in great shape, (while I throw myself into writing Sunshine Seas). This appeals to me a great deal. Another option I’ve been considering is to stay home and buy the bike, while also taking a little two-week vacation somewhere, to perhaps south Florida, which is a place I’ve been wanting to go for a while (though that could end up being kind of expensive as well). Like I said, this has been bumming me out a bit, but I’m trying to keep some perspective. I mean, my worst-case scenario is that I play in the sunshine at home all summer while having tons of time to work on a book I’m really enjoying writing. I’m a very lucky man in so many ways …

Speaking of getting in shape, I’ve been riding my bike to and from the Seal Beach Pier lately, and I plan on expanding my next run to the south end of the Seal Beach. Eventually I’d like to make a regular ride all the way down to the Huntington Cliffs, which is a healthy pedal. Some back and joint pain has been slowing me down a bit on this goal, though. All-over-the-map weather isn’t helping things either. Still, I’m acquiring the baseline from which to really get healthy this summer (no matter where I am). My goal is to leave my forties in far better shape that I ended my twenties. If I keep at the pace I’m going I should be able to accomplish this with no problem (if for no other reason than my diet is so much better than it was then).

Another strange happening I forgot to mention. Last Sunday night I experienced a crash of depression and loneliness, which was quite intense (it has to be another symptom of whatever has been causing my unsettling dreams). I was still feeling off the next day. In fact, I suppose I’m still not quite right. Overall I’m feeling good, though, so this is a bit of a mystery. My day-to-day life is a little narrow right now, which might have something do to with it. I’m just going to let it ride for the moment; I don’t yet have enough information about it to do much else.

Started another Sunshine Seas story, which I’m calling “The Adventure of a Bather #2” (it’s inspired by an Italo Calvino short story of the same title, minus, of course, the “#2” part). I’d broken ground on “Off Lombok #2,” but I couldn’t get into it; I’d just written a story that took place in Indonesia and I think I need a little distance from the part of the world before I attempt another one. “Adventure” takes place on Crete and is a totally different type of story (it’s written in the third person and the protagonist is a woman) so it definitely feels fresher to me. I’ve only just started it and I’m not sure where it’s going . I think it’s going to be a fairly substantial story, though, and also one that might take a bit of time to write.

Still reading a lot. Finished The Sun Also Rises. I liked it. Very Left Bank artsy and plotless; obviously heavily influenced by the modernists Hemingway had been reading and meeting. Still, most of the Hemingway attitude and style is there, along with many of his preoccupations. Picked up To Have and Have Not at the SCC Library today. I’ve heard that it’s one of his lighter works (he called it his worst novel), but I’m in the mood to continue this Hemingway thing I’ve got going and it was convenient. It’s short, if nothing else, so if it isn’t good at least it will go by quickly.
I also finished The Machineries of Joy, by Ray Bradbury. Decent. About half the stories are really fun. The other half so-so (there’s nothing really awful in it). He writes and publishes too much, I’ve decided. If he were to have put out only the top fifty percent of his short stories he’d still have a massive oeuvre and his contribution would be much more apparent. Been rethinking some of my Ray Bradbury comments of my recent posts, in regards to my goals as a writer. What I want to be able to do in bring the joy and wonder his work exudes into a deeper context. I’m still figuring out exactly what I mean when I say this. I think Sunshine Seas will eventually go a long way to answering this question for me.


helicopter steve (Estabrook) said...

Interesting re your dream...I would take it for a good omen. And although "Money ruins everything and I don’t want to lose sight of that," eating is good so nothing wrong with fair compensation for your art. It's not like you haven't paid your dues. Bummer re the possibility of no Greece, though.

Carol Deveney said...

I found your book and blog on Amazon while searching for Jack Kerouac books. I was delighted to find a book written about Long Beach. I grew up there and was born in Hawaii. I spent some time in Big Sur--mainly at Nepenthe. I can't wait to read "Heaping Stones," and will follow your progress. I am attempting to write my life story for my nephews to read titled, "Blue Collar and Culture--memoirs of a born again Beatnik".

Rob Woodard said...

Hi Carol - Welcome aboard! Heaping Stones is a rough book (very angry). But if you like Kerouac it could work for you. I've got a book of poetry called Edgewater coming out in late April that has an LB orientation as well.

Interestingly I grew up here an spent time in Hawaii.

Thanks for Posting.


Rob Woodard said...

Greece could still happen - a few things need to fall into place, though. I should know by late next month. Yeah, eating's cool. But I can't get caught up in anything designed primarily to make money; that would absolutely kill who I am and what I do (different aspects of the same thing).