2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 =
Last year I pointed out that 47 is a prime number. This year I feel compelled to point out that 48 = 3(2)4.
A lot has happened in a year. To say it feels “transitional” isn’t the half of it. I feel like I’ve turned onto a new path and haven’t the vaguest idea where I’m headed – but I don’t mind.
The biggest thing, of course, is the slow, scary transition into original fiction. Those who haven’t joined my locked original fiction notification list (and you still can) haven’t seen the progress I’ve made, but it’s there. I’ve written several stories, submitted a few of them to magazines and contests, and begun to collect first-edition rejection slips. I’ve joined an online writing group, I’m taking a workshop, and I’m reading lots of good books. I spent about two months devouring lots of Michael Chabon. I read Ender’s Game for the first time over Christmas. Right now I’m in the middle of Nancy Kress’s Beggars in Spain; I’m also in the middle of her book on writing Dynamic Characters. And for knock-your-socks off short fiction, you couldn’t do better than the annual Fish Anthology.
(I sometimes wonder why I'm making the effort. So far the thing that really excites me about writing -- other than the act itself -- is knowing that something I wrote was moving and meaningful to somone else. But that was something I got with fan fiction -- something I'm still getting with the fan fiction I stopped writing in August; I got two sweet reviews just yesterday. But seeking to publish original fiction means giving myself barriers (editors and publishers) to getting the story read by others. Yet it seems important to do this.)
Ideas for stories come from the oddest places. So far I’ve had inspirations from talking to my daughter about a billboard for a Renaissance fair, reading a horrible report about Disney’s greed, listening to a recording of a book by Will Durant – and the story I’m trying to write now? I got it literally from looking at the clock during that workshop.
In the past year, too, we moved back into our house, I had a job crisis I’m not going to describe in an a public post (but it worked out okay), my sister had a baby, a colleague got fired (no, that wasn’t the job crisis), my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, and my children have astonished me more times than I can count.
Meanwhile my friends’ lives have been, if anything, even more eventful than mine. Some of you show so much courage in the face of hardship that it takes my breath away. And you are, at the same time, so generous and consistent in your affection and support that I wonder how I ever got along without you.
I had the beard colored again yesterday, feeling silly about it. In the evening we watched The Empire Strikes Back with the kids, the first time my 8-year-old has ever seen it. It remains the only one of the Star Wars movies with a hint of emotional truth or any sort of artistic depth.
This morning (“tomorrow morning,” in my mind, as I haven’t got to bed yet) we’ll go to Three Rivers for brunch, and then I’m spending the day in a coffee shop with my computer – just writing. (Well, okay, maybe I’ll be doing character background for my next story, which is my current assignment for the workshop, but hey, that counts as writing.)