Monday, September 24, 2012

Sometimes writing is harder than digging a grave

Before we get started, lets all give a sigh of relief. It's now less than 3 weeks before the new Walking Dead series begins and those of us who have anticipated this can now start breathing again!

And, since Halloween is fast approaching, I'm gearing up and in decorative mode. By the way, be on the lookout for Jack (Wee Willie Wicked's brother, a not so humorous jester). He'll be making a special appearance as the time draws nearer.

My Pacu Tank

I'm planning on doing some planting.


For the past couple of months I have embarked primarily on making a serious attempt at finishing my first full-length novel. And, I must say that there has been considerable progress and very rewarding. However, this trek hasn’t been what one would call easy and it has taken a substantial amount of self-discipline.

You see, I work as a tech for one of the major telecommunications companies and this job requires long hours. Many times I find myself crouched precariously on a truss beam trying desperately to avoid the nail points coming in through the roof above me wanting poke and jab, surrounded by irrepressible attic heat, soaked to the bone with sweat and itching from the insulation sticking to places you don’t want it to. My only solace is the large spider that lingers in the web at the corner keeping me company. Of course he doesn’t say much and that allows me the opportunity to quickly go about completing my task in order to escape the oven as soon as possible.

Just in case you don't believe me

Of course this job isn’t always this tough. Sometimes I don’t see an attic at all and get to stay outside, squeezing through a cluster of bushes, flicking off the various bugs and spiders fall from its branches from by arms and legs after I make it through. Hey! At least they don’t itch!

That’s when I find myself opening up a utility box to find either a cockroach the size of a small hybrid car, or a Black Widow spider that thought it had a good hiding spot. Of course, that’s after I have maneuvered and am straddling the fire ant mound that sits silently below me.

These are simply a few of the things I encounter on a daily basis and I’m not going to go into some of the various customers I deal with only to say that at times I have felt like they were looking deep into me, at my liver, with Fava beans and Chianti on their minds (pft pft pft pft pft pft). None-the-less, to be honest, I am truly glad and feel quite fortunate to even have a job in this day and age. The fact that these daily horrors are included is a bonus. And, while it may be quite difficult at times, I do have days off, which is more than I can say about my writing schedule.
I once read somewhere; what do you call a writer who never gives up…Published. And, while I already have been published, I still live by this adage and constantly find myself striving to do what I hope to some day do for a living. As of now, the job is a requirement, and it may eventually pan out to always be. But, that doesn’t mean I’m going to accept this unknown fact. And so, every single day I fit in writing. Most of the times it is after dragging myself out of bed, days off included, at 5:00 am. It is what I typically write that is the variable. Many times, at least for the past few months, I’ve been concentrating on my novel A Lawnly Existence and am currently on chapter 21.
However, this is not a constant and the way I feel when I get up usually dictates what will be written. Both compulsion and self-discipline play equal roles. Since I’m a regular review contributor to Horror News Net, (under Wee Willie Wicked) the compulsion factor pushes me to finish the latest review, and this requires the self-discipline, which I obviously have. Of course if you were to ask me if I had this trait the moment the alarm clock goes off I’d probably disagree.

Regardless, besides the novel and film reviews, I have numerous short pieces in various stages that I’ll sometimes find myself adding to; and it just so happens that you are reading a blog entry that my compulsion forced this morning. These are the things I can’t seem to control. But, I don’t see it as a problem since I am following through and plopping down at the keyboard to pound out some words. Someday this may all change and I’ll be able to afford to write at leisure. However, right now I’m forced to fit this writing into a rigorous schedule and have successfully done so. And I may not be able to bang out piece after piece as often as I like, but I’m still writing and when the finish does appear, it is sweet.

Coincidentally, I have finished and submitted two pieces in the last 30 days. One, The Sidewalk Ends, was submitted and accepted by Suspense Magazine. I’m assuming it will be included in the Halloween issue, but I could be wrong. The second was a piece specifically written after receiving a call out for entries in the Smart Rhino Publications anthology Zippered Flesh 2 – Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad. I’ve since heard back from editor Weldon Burge and he likes the tale. However, he has a couple of other tales that surround the subject matter and has requested additional time to decide whether or not to use it. This doesn’t bother me one bit and I view it as a victory. At least it’s being considered. And, if per chance it isn’t included, I have a number of other publications that I’ll submit it to.

And so, this seems to be the story of my life and I am religious at it. But, let me tell you, there are those times when digging a six foot deep grave sounds considerably easier.