My Dad Hit the Nail on the Head, & Now I Will Tell You About It
I brought my 14-year-old to visit my parents today. I owed them a visit because, while I live relatively close to them, I don’t see them a lot. I can give my reasons but it boils down to that I’m an asshole. Not in a mean way, but in an honest way.* I also wanted to bring my daughter there because they love their granddaughter and she’s been in Florida with my sister and her family for over a month. While we were there discussing the end of summer and the beginning of school, my father said to me, “You haven’t been doing much writing lately, huh? You haven’t had much published in a while.”
My response was the normal one that someone who works real hard to produce quality product gives. I’ve been working on this one project and it’s difficult and blah blah blahblahblah… Bottom line: Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is fiction.
It took several hours and some alone time to realize: He’s right. Yes, I have spent nearly every day this summer working on the current novel–editing, revising, rewriting, re-rewriting, more editing, etc. Yes, I have several ideas and other projects in various beginning stages. But what does any of that matter? For you, the reader, only really cares about what’s in hand right now.
I’m a huge fan of Stephen King (duh…). I own every commercial book he’s produced. I have read them all, several of them multiple times. I’m excited that he has the Hard Case Crime novel Joyland as well as Dr. Sleep, which is the sequel to The Shining, coming out next year. And while I’m thankful that he continues to work and is probably revising both projects as I write this, I just can’t wait for the books to fall into my grubby little hands.
I also love Harlan Ellison’s work. Despite owning quite a bit of it, there’s plenty I don’t own, of those things I own, there’s plenty I have yet to read. So for me, he doesn’t have to publish anything new right now, I have plenty to go back to.
Same with Joyce Carol Oates, John Irving, John Steinbeck, Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, John Little, and many others. I have catching up to do. If their working, or are dead and can no longer work, what is it to me? As long as I can get my paws on those books. But once I’m caught up…gimme dat ting!
So even though I spend more time in this desk chair than is probably healthy. Even though I work at least 2 hours a day writing, the readers don’t care. They only care about what they can get their hands on. Which is why I have a blog. It’s a little something, anyway. And it’s why I’m doing my damndest to get this goddamn novel finished this year. I want it in your hands. I also want to go and work on the ever-growing list of other stories I want to tell. So those can appear in your hands.
So thank you, Dad, for helping me see the light better than anyone else could have.
* The main reason is that I lose track of time. I’m horrible with time, which is why I wear watches and have clocks and calendars everywhere. What feels like a week to me may actually be a month. This can be bad when communicating with people. I mean to return a message only to realize three weeks have passed since I received it but it only feels to my like a week, week-and-a-half. Like I said, I’m an asshole. About time in this instance.