Friday, May 27, 2011

Idle Thoughts While Waiting for the AC to Kick Into Gear

The best laid plans of mice and men... I never had much interest in what mice were thinking, much less what they planned to do. Perhaps that's one reason we have cats. But that's the phrase that came to me from some back nook of my noggin.

There are so many things that cross one's mind when plans don't work out quite as expected. For example, I arrived home today — easily the hottest day of the year, topping 90 degrees not a dozen days after it was in the mid 40s — to discover that the air conditioning wasn't working. It's built into the same system that powers the furnace that went out last winter and which might be older than me.

Apparently, in addition to my oh so necessary jobs of mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, buying diapers, and finding some time to play with the cutest, most loving and loveable girls in the world, I also need to figure out how to deal with a system that's giving up the ghost right before its season debut. And still we write.

It seems that nothing will ever be easy, not even three-day weekends. I realize this sounds whiny. It is whiny. But so it goes.

As writers, it's easy to become despondent. We struggle to gain a foothold in the world, to get some sort of acknowledgement that our work is valued by readers. Heck, I cherish a rejection letter I received some twenty years ago that called the characters in one of my short stories "wispy" because it at least acknowledged that there was an interesting story; it just needed more work.

So that's what we do. We plug away, we edit, we read, we write and rewrite and rewrite some more until we're so sick of these characters that we consider creating a new storyline in which some crazed individual hires a hitman to whack the characters from the other story. Or maybe that's just me; I am from Jersey, after all.

Yes, it pays the bills, but it also keeps us sane — or it's our obsessive-compulsive means to keep the world in order and scare away the monsters. For me, it's the best way to know that I'm alive and making a minor mark in the world.

How about you? How important is writing in your life?


Jemi Fraser said...

I've only started writing with any thought to trying the publication route in the last few years. Before that I wrote (in my head and on paper) for myself only. It's an important part of me & my life, but will always come after family & job :)

Matt Sinclair said...

Good for you, Jemi. For me, it's part of how I put my family first; it is my job. But my family is more important to me than anything.

Pk Hrezo said...

lol... I'm the same way. I get so sick of my story after beating it to death with edits and rewrites, I have to move on. Makes it fun to come back to later tho. I tend to take a month off after each story, but I can't hide from the stories for long... they start knocking on the door inside my brain saying, "we want out!" Ok... now I sound like a mental patient. lol

Matt Sinclair said...

Putting a story away for a month -- especially when it's a novel, in my opinion -- is excellent advice. You do need to come back with fresh eyes. I think it also helps to go straight into another project, too. I'm a creature of routine, and I like having at least a mental schedule of projects to address at their various stages. As for being a mental patient, you're a writer; it's kinda the same thing. ;-)

Caroline Hagood said...

Writing is so very important. It's what I think about while doing my version of gutter cleaning, lawn mowing, and diaper buying.

Matt Sinclair said...

You make me smile -- although the idea of you cleaning gutters in New York City scares me; I assume you're in an apartment building. But you were speaking metaphorically, so that's all right.