Status update

Today I wrote 1500 words about a recent trip I took. I’m happy with the article, like really happy with it. Now I just need to shop it around and see if anyone will buy it. That’s the hard part about this. You pour your guts into a thing like this and 90% of the time you don’t even get a response back. 9% of the remaining time, they say “No thanks.” It’s that one time out of a hundred that keeps you going when someone says “Thank you. We would love to see more.”

There’s nothing better than a good day writing. Not even a day that you get to invoice someone for your efforts. That is just the critique, in my opinion. If they gave you money for it, they liked it. I couldn’t care less about notes when that happens.

But an afternoon of putting the words together and constructing a story is wonderful. It was what I’ve been needing after so many days of editing and before that writing copy for law firms about Camp Lejeune. In the next few days, I’ll go back to writing some more copy of course, and hopefully by then, the jobs will open up again.

Compared to editing, writing is what I absolutely love doing. I don’t anticipate I will get to the point in my writing where I’ll ever be able to hand the dirty work of editing off to someone else. It is rough, dirty business. Over the last few days, I’ve been working through the book. I’ve cut entire scenes and one chapter. I know it’s far from polished. Right now I’m just trying to get the shape of the story. A rough cut from a rough draft. I need to make sure my technique is solid, my themes are apparent, but not blatant. I have to make sure the characters are relatable, but also flawed enough to keep them interesting, and have enough pathos to make them likable. And all sorts of crunchy flourishes that distinguish my writing from the rest of the crowd.

It goes beyond grammar and spelling. If grammar and spelling were the clay and water, and the idea that something is a bowl, all the rest is how you form the bowl to hold whatever it is you need it to hold. Pull that off, and you’ve got something. Otherwise, it’s a lump of clay. Or worse yet, a vanity press book with a glossy computer generated cover that looks like somebody made it in homeroom with a papyrus font for your title.

It takes a lot to write a book, and it takes everything to write a good book. I think my ideas are good and solid, but am I the one to craft this thing? What can be skipped? What can be honed? What can I leave to the imagination of the reader and what needs to be sharpened and tweaked. It’s not mechanics, it’s chemistry.

Do I have what it takes to write a book like that? I hope so. But I’m not optimistic it will do anything when I self-publish. Right now, I just don’t see any other way. Not too long ago, there were more than five publishers and they were willing to take risks. Now they only buy what they think will make them rich, and you need an agent on top of that. Even still, they do very little to market your book and if you don’t make back your advances by the third book, they cut you loose. Maybe self-publishing is the way to go. My last book didn’t do all that well, even though it was a fun read, and a blast to write.

Until then, I have the work and the work is its own reward.

Struggle

Tonight I’m feeling melancholy. I wish I had someone to talk to, but my friends are all in bed and here I am doing edits at almost midnight. The book…jeez, I hate it sometimes. Other times I love it. Mostly I’m sick of it. Tomorrow I will work on something else. Today I did edits and then watched season one of Breaking Bad. Now I’m doing edits again and sipping Irish whiskey.

I want to tell all the people who abandoned me to get stuffed.

I want to ask what wasn’t good enough about me to make them stay.

And a big part of me figures they can get stuffed.

Back to work.

I’d kill for a good slice of pizza right now.

I’m not complaining…but…

Today I had a doctor’s appointment for some blood work. It’s time for my yearly checkup and they wanted to do the labs before they sat down with me to discuss all the ways my body is falling apart at 47. Really, it has been falling apart since I was 19, but who’s counting?

After getting my blood drawn, taking care of some emails, and doing some other things, I looked outside this afternoon and saw just how beautiful the light was on the mountains. It has been nearly two weeks since my dog was spayed, so I decided to load her up and take a trip with the camera to get some shots of the mountains before days like this are just a memory again.

We went west of town to a place called Delaney Buttes. It’s a popular area with the fishermen who visit the county. I don’t fish, so the experience is lost on me. It’s not that I suck at fishing, I just don’t like eating them, and I could think of about ten other things I would rather be doing than standing on the edge of a lake, throwing a baited hook into the water over and over again to catch some elusive, boney animal I will never eat. I can cut out the middleman and just be outside enjoying myself without impaling worms and hoping the hooks don’t set too deep into a fish that is just going to die a short while after I let it go again.

So, we climbed the Butte and did some photography.

The aspens are changing on the Park Range and the clouds were doing a great job at diffusing the light in all sorts of ways. Delaney Butte isn’t all that tough of a hike, but weaving through the sage brush to get there from the trailhead was tougher than I hoped. Penny did great and didn’t have any problems after. We got some great shots and I felt like I got my excercise.

But by the time I got home, I could feel it deep in my joints and muscles. Even after a long soak with a bath bomb, I still ached. Maybe that’s a sign I need to exercise more regularly, or maybe it’s a sign of my body slowing down at 47. Fifty isn’t all that far away. There’s a twenty plus year chunk of my life I feel like could have been used a little bit better. And even in the last five or six years, I noticed I no longer do the mountain biking o the long hikes like I used to. I top out now at about eight miles. I did three today.

The last time I made this climb, I was with my dad. It was later in the year. Or maybe earlier. There were no leaves on the trees and little flecks of snow blew past us as we hiked. At the time, he would have been younger than me. I have no way of knowing how well he did that day compared to how well I did today. All I know is five years ago, this would have been a little easier. I wouldn’t have had that fear of rolling my ankle like I did today. Walking carefully through the sage brush, following game trails and taking my time.

It reminds me of that dream where you are running, but it feels like you are running in sand.

I don’t mean to complain, but getting older kinda sucks. My body is definitely lagging a little from the last time I used it. Maybe that was what a two year slack fest with Covid did, or maybe I’m just (gasp) slowing down. I can’t help but wonder how long I can keep up with this pace. Barring any injuries, I think I can maintain and still be pretty active. But as I go, I can’t help but recognize that some things have fallen off from my list of interests. The mountain biking. The long hikes. Swimming. Running (at ALL). There are times I can feel my ACL and miniscus stretching nearly to the point where things would get interesting and I usually call it. Nope.

Anyway, here are some shots I got today. I hope you enjoy them.