“When I’m writing, I’m not here”

I had an early start yesterday. Incidentally, a cappuccino is a morning coffee. Italians don’t usually drink them after noon…

Later in the morning, the cappuccino long since consumed, the doorbell rang while I was in the office working. I was expecting no one. We were awaiting no packages.

Ugh. I hate being disturbed like that, but you never know if it might be something important, so I rushed downstairs (down two flights of stairs). I opened the door, perhaps looking a tad annoyed, to see a twenty-something guy standing there. After he said “Hello,” he looked down at our footpath for a moment, started his selling pitch, and moved to hand me his company’s flyer.

I was not happy, but was determined to be pleasant. I accepted the handout, which detailed how they do footpaths, patios and whatever. Quickly – to try to stop him from going on and on – I pointed out that we didn’t actually own the house, but that I would pass his info to our landlady. That ended matters immediately.

I couldn’t stay annoyed at him: he was just doing his job…

…yet he had interrupted me as I was trying to do mine: my work is my novels, and the concentration working on one requires, and the focus that such concentration produces, is difficult to describe to someone who doesn’t write fiction. (As I posted last week, completely lost in what I was writing I nearly hit the ceiling when the doorbell unexpectedly rang.) My current effort won’t see the light of day probably before mid-2019. I’m not anywhere near considering it under control; it’s still a frustrating mess.

Returning upstairs, briefly I thought again about my late uncle: he never answered his door during the day. “When I’m writing,” he once told me, “I’m not here.” That’s an excellent rule to live by – if you can manage it.

This is an awkward and even unsettling time for a writer: feeling as if one is in “nowhere land.” Between publications, it is hard to show anyone what has filled your working time. What there is of it is often disjointed chaos.

[Sneak peek from untitled follow up to Conventions: The Garden At Paris. Click to expand.]

That is the reason I post excerpts of what I have been working on… if they are reasonably coherent. Doing that also provides a bit of a “peek” at what is coming – but hopefully without giving too much away storywise. Overall, it is a way simply to share what I’m doing.

And it is a necessary release of sorts as well. Often everything I wrote before – including the completed novels – finds itself submerged and even nearly forgotten as I feel I am only as “good” as my current day’s output. If it is, I believe, “lousy,” I feel terrible. I live for the “good days” and the sense I am moving in the right direction.

That is a mental burden that never truly can be lifted. It takes months, and even perhaps years, to write a novel; yet finish one book and you feel that there must be another. Writing is, in some ways, I have learned, like an addiction.

I am beginning to think the happiest day in my authoring life will be when I decide finally not to write another line and call it the end of a career.

However, that is not just yet. Oh, maybe I’ll go make a cappuccino now. Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

2 replies »

  1. Thanks for providing the quote from Washington Irving. It reminds me of what Charles Dickens wrote in his Preface to David Copperfield: “No one can ever believe this Narrative, in the reading, more than I have believed it in the writing.”

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