The Missed

My decision yesterday: “It is not going to be out in September. It’s September 26. I will miss the deadline of this month.”

[Tomorrow The Grace paperback cover, as it shall after release.]

It is not as if the world awaits it, I know. (If that were so, I would be such a wreck it might never be released! LOL! Big success is a double-edged sword. Again, you wonder why F. Scott Fitzgerald drank heavily?) Yet it is important to me that my personal goals are met. Discipline is vital for a writer.

But I feel giving way a few weeks is necessary. It is that important to me because I take seriously those who will devote their time to reading it. Will it be perfect? Of course not. Nothing is perfect. But I believe that rather than rush the last bits of over two years of writing (over 150,000 words), I want to be as content with the final product as I feel I may reasonably be.

So I am now into a “twilight zone” of sorts. I will not announce another date. I will just post, within weeks (I hope), on here… “Surprise! It is FINALLY available now!”

I had hit self-imposed publication deadlines in November 2013, and December 2014, and November 2015, and April 2017. I consider trying to meet a self-imposed deadline as helpful for a writer. If you don’t plant a stake somewhere, you may drift and drift and drift, always finding “excuses” for why it is not finished.

* * *

I will miss always, and probably it does not surprise you, my mother and my uncle.

[Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997. Copyright, 2015.]

I had somehow still made that November 2015 third novel deadline despite our life turmoil caused by their deaths in October (hers on the 26th and his on the 12th). I recall now I had made that one ONLY because I had essentially finished the book BEFORE I had seen my mother’s deplorable health state – which I had not fully appreciated from England – when we arrived in Pennsylvania on October 4.

An English woman friend had read that manuscript:

Screen capture of part of a personal email to me. Click to expand.
[Screen capture of part of a personal email to me, November 2015. Click to expand.]

Despite her private encouraging words, as the end of November approached I was full of doubts. I recall my wife having also finished it sometime around that time – just before she had had to return to England while I stayed behind for a time with my distraught (now widower) father. Perhaps I was having doubts because it contained fictionalizations again of my now dead mother and my now dead uncle, but whatever the reason I remember asking her just before she headed to the airport: “Is it really ready?”

“It is,” she smiled.

I needed to hear that from her, I suppose.

* * *

Yesterday, France’s president from 1995-2007, Jacques Chirac, died at age 86:

His actual politics are not the point here. He will be “missed” now in a way by me as well. Why? Because he was there then:

[Excerpt from Passports: Atlantic Lives, 1994-1995, Copyright, 2013. On Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

Thinking on that got me reflecting on this reality as well. I don’t pay nearly as much attention to daily politics as I did when I was a lecturer years ago. But in listening to current political debates often I can’t help but think… that I have heard this before:

[Excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997, Copyright, 2015. On Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

Of course we had political arguments when I was in my twenties. Pre-Twitter and other social media, ours usually took place in person. We too were always putting the world right.

Our daily personal existence simultaneously meanders on. People invariably leave our life, others die, we meet new people, and the process repeats itself as days blend into weeks and into months and into years and into decades. Before we know it someone the same “age 20” we had been years before is offering some profound political insight in front of us that they seem to think no one has ever thought of or said before, and we sit there and can’t help but offer maybe a slightly “impolite” smile.

Pondering time may be unnerving and even scary. Naturally, though, it goes by – as a famous song declares. It is inescapable.

But in all of that is also at least GREAT potential material for a writer. LOL!

Have a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂

3 thoughts on “The Missed

  1. “I consider trying to meet a self-imposed deadline as helpful for a writer. If you don’t plant a stake somewhere, you may drift and drift and drift, always finding “excuses” for why it is not finished.” I so appreciated these words of wisdom as I “drifted” for years until I set a deadline. It’s fairly loose—sometime in 2020, lol—since I don’t have your publishing experience and am still feeling my way. I don’t want to be defeated by the unknown. 🙂 Anyway, for what it’s worth, considering that rigid deadlines are so often necessary, why not be kind and flexible with your own whenever necessary, right? Hope you are enjoying your traveling adventures, Robert!

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    1. 2020 is just a few months down the road! Looking forward to your release!

      Me, for years I’ve just put my head down and written and written. I try to keep in mind that an indie author always has to have something new to offer potential readers. So I sought early on to release a new book each year.👨🏻‍💻👨🏻‍💻👨🏻‍💻 But after three books, I couldn’t keep up that pace.😜 Now it’s every two years or so – and I do have something of a “back catalog” now. But I feel I have to stay at it. Resting on laurels is not an option: I have no laurels. If I stop writing, and readers sniff out that nothing new is coming, readers for the “back catalog” I suspect will disappear.

      And we made it back here to Britain. Gloomy and overcast. Wish we had Florida’s weather!😂

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      1. I get it. I’m hoping to roll into some sort of publishing/writing groove myself after I get this first one out. Hopefully, the process will be a little easier once I figure out what the heck I’m doing, lol. #clueless Hope your weather’s a bit better today. That sun is blasting away here today, my friend. I’d share if I could. 🙂

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