At The “Breakpoint”

I don’t normally do more than one post a day. But the stark difference in the subject matter between this one and the previous one is such that I could not combine them. And I wanted to make sure I posted this as well.

Yesterday afternoon, unaware of what was going on “out there,” I had been working as usual. Also I took a break which included not only making a coffee, but listening to Soundcloud while doing so. Marion Claviรฉ has a beautiful voice:

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The Young Man On “The Fringe”

There comes that moment when you are finished writing for yourself, and you have to share the total of your effort. I’ve reached (and possibly even passed) that point now. Last night, Conventions went to she who has been a wonderful “critic” since I began this writing endeavor in 2013.

So she has the “biggest” book of all. As I say in the email to her, March 31 – as I note in the sidebar – is unfortunately probably going to have to give. But hopefully only a few weeks at the most.

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Worried Novelist Walks Through Hitchin

Almost there. Actually, “there” is one of my multitude of tiny problems. 130,000 words and at the point where major changes are essentially impossible, I’m fussing now over single words and individual – but not quite exactly what I wished they were – sentences.

It is that maddening creative moment when you the writer are down to the level of anguishing over the likes of “I’ve used ‘there’ too often in those two paragraphs.” Or “Rather than three sentences, perhaps make it one sentence joined together with semi-colons?” Or “That is supposed to be ‘at’ not ‘as’. Spell-check missed it! Ugh!”

As you get “there,” you also need to pause, breathe, take an extra-moment or two, and maybe see some ducks:

Because it is difficult not to think “Eh, there be monsters out there…” I find I am increasingly consumed with worry. As I correct issues of “as” that should be “at,” I confess even to having moments of despair. “All of this effort,” my mind races as I look yet again at the screen, “and what if it stinks? I may have to jump into that water in Hitchin town center. But I suspect it may not be deep enough…”

To be a writer is to be forever in some self-doubt.

The last thing I’ve been doing is daydreaming about conquering the universe…

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“De Certains Droits Inaliรฉnables”

As you may know yesterday was International Women’s Day. Being a man, I thought I should best be “quiet.” My piling on with my male opinion was hardly necessary.

From the International Women’s Day web site.

Now that we are here the day after, I thought I would offer simply this:

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From France To England (Again)

Well, that’s all for the latest France visit. I no longer know how many times I’ve been in the country. I’ve lost count.

If you have never been there and ever have a chance for a trip, don’t hesitate. I would suggest, yes, see Paris, but also make sure you get away from there and find a part of the country that is NOT Paris. And, above all, if you are American, don’t worry: trust me: the French do NOT hate Americans!

By coincidence, returning to Geneva airport on Saturday we ended up with the same woman driver who had taken us to the airport last year. And she remembered us. We had a great chat once again over the hour and a half between La Clusaz and the airport.

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The All-Consuming “Monster”

On Friday, Kate Colby wrote a thoughtful post on “writing through your fear” – including on a writer needing to face down worries about receiving poor reviews. I liked it so much I left her this comment:

Great post, Kate. So well put โ€“ especially on the fear of poor reviews issue.

Iโ€™m sure no author likes a 1 star Amazon review. After all, who wants to read someone saying youโ€™ve written junk? Itโ€™s human to fear scathing criticism.

When I write, I always remind myself that EVERY author produces books that earn them some negative reactions. Even J.K. Rowling gets poor reviews. It is impossible to write and expect to achieve universal applause, and if thatโ€™s a writerโ€™s yardstick for success I would suggest that person find another line of work. ๐Ÿ™‚

And she liked that comment! It earned a positive review!๐Ÿ˜‚

All kidding aside, it’s a remarkable coincidence Kate wrote that as I am almost finished with my single biggest novel-writing effort yet. To use the clichรฉ, my “moment of truth” is fast approaching. Eventually someone other than myself has to read the entire book.

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Message For “The Elite”

I’m home again in England from America. (As you probably know, I was born in New York.) We had a busy Christmas, with a small mob from this side of the Atlantic flying over to stay with us in the Catskills. It feels kinda odd being back here:

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, arrivals concourse yesterday morning. [Photo by me, 2017.]
Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, arrivals concourse yesterday morning. [Photo by me, 2017.]

Fighting jet lag, in trying to force myself to stay awake last night I went through my Instagram feed slowly. What did I miss while flying? I checked up on what had been “going on” while I had been traveling and out of contact with you “guys.”

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“I really do not understand this child…”

Over in the U.S., a cousin’s daughter has been writing free fiction anonymously on various online sites. Apparently she – she’s about age 20 – receives lots of “likes” and approval. I’ve not seen any of it (I’m not even sure if my cousin has), and I know only what my cousin has told me about her daughter’s writing.

My cousin and I are about the same age. We grew up together, but had drifted somewhat apart – geographically as well as in life – in our later twenties. Thankfully, we “found” each other in a day to day manner again upon the death of my mother in 2015.

Out of the blue, she messaged me the other day frantically seeking Christmas present advice:

Screen capture of Messenger.
Screen capture of Messenger.

As you see, I went all emoji in my initial closing response.

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Window To The World

Social media. It’s full of dangers for a writer. For example, early this morning I decided to have a couple of laughs on Instagram:

In this case, the “danger” is the “distraction.” Years ago – before I ever seriously contemplated writing – I regularly admonished my now late uncle that if he ever wanted to produce one more novel (as he repeatedly told me he wanted to), he needed to stay the heck off of Facebook.

“Don’t tell me he’s on Facebook again?” my now late mother would also shrug. “Have you told my brother books don’t get written on Facebook?”

He’d laugh and agree with us.

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Chaos In Creation

“How do you write?” I’m asked that question at various times. There’s never a simple answer.

My bottom line response: Any way I can manage it.

Another morning facing the Microsoft Surface. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Another morning facing the Microsoft Surface. [Photo by me, 2016.]

I joked the other day to my poet friend Tracey that Conventions (code phrase: “the magnum opus”) is “chaos in creation.” I’ve learned after three books and especially now well into this fourth, which is a vastly more complicated writing effort in numerous ways than were the first three, that its outline is merely “first contact with the enemy.” The effort evolves.

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