Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Road Leads

Life spins, sometimes slowly and sometimes fast, or so it seems. I dragged a lot this summer, longing for summer fun. I haven't visited a beach, yet. I don't believe I got to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania last year either. I hate to blame everything on a job, but nursing home world and the afternoon shift and working many weekends began to take its toll. I change jobs the Tuesday after Labor Day. I'm returning to the road of home health.
I started journaling again in April and suddenly the need to write in a blog lessened. I spend too much time on Facebook, as it tends to lull me in a trance, maybe. I love to see what is happening all over the world. I suppose that is the excitement of Facebook. I always thrilled at live TV, too, like the Kentucky Derby, Times Square on New Year's Eve, the parades and the Academy Awards. I feel like I'm part of the action, but on my comfortable seat.
A topic I wanted to write about as I read this summer concerned scenes or words I wish I could use. John Steinbeck wrote of June in The Winter of Our Discontent. The words exactly described the sensation of June I want to convey in Last Free Exit. I giggled that I could just say- read these paragraphs and see how June feels.
I'm still reading Pasadena by David Ebershoff. A scene with a horse could be modified for Main Street, if I told it from the oldest boy, Tommy's point of view. The time setting is the same as Main Street and Country. In fact, Linda, in Pasadena is born the same year as Christina in Country. I love the detail in Pasadena, the long explanations, the history lessons. I read the reviews and some didn't like the “rambling,” felt it lacked a good editor, and was one hundred pages too long. I sensed the long hours of research and crave to have that background in my writing. When I wrote Main Street, just knowing the details, even if I didn't include them in the writing, enabled me to tell the story. I need the background in my head.
I decided to go to the West Virginia Book Festival to hear Homer Hickam speak. One of his interviews, I heard this past winter, lifted me from a slump in my publishing dream. He had a story to tell and then some. He also had to find the seventeen year old boy's voice to tell Rocket Boys. Writing is more than words, it shows a picture with a voice.
As I perused the web site for the festival, I noted the other speakers. Neil Gaiman has a spot on Friday evening. We have a few of his books, as my oldest daughter liked his writing. In preparation for this event in October, I grabbed his anthology, fragile things, from downstairs. I read all the introduction on Sunday and in the back of the paperback, my favorite, the interview. I love to hear about the writing process. My favorite quote makes me want to write short stories, “The joy of the short story for me is you can have an idea and it can fall into place enough that you're excited about beginning it. You can settle down and a few hours later, or a weekend later, or a week later, you're done.”
Now, I think, I need to write short stories. I laugh at how I am influenced by voice. I read the beginning of a few stories in this book and two poems, as I dried after swimming yesterday- oh, remember doing that for hours? Now, just too busy, it seems. As I left the pool, words fell at me, but I recognized them as Neil's. The long wait at Sheetz for all the oil guys to get their food chased those words away, as I stood there in damp outline of my swimsuit on my clothes and flat wet hair, glasses and no makeup. At ninety degree weather, I guess I didn't care. Still I made no eye contact with the head teacher from my daughters' high school as he coolly strove in with his preppy shorts and shirt, in pastel colors.
Yes, I should write short stories, too. But not in anyone's voice, but my own. I remain with the novels, as well. Outside of Time sits under the editor's gaze. I never heard back from the photographer of the picture I would love to use, so I elect another avenue for the cover. To go with my philosophy of using local businesses, I will contact my photographer friend for some pictures for the cover and use another young college grad with a film degree working home repair for my cover design.
Dreams take work and they fail without enterprise.
 I admire some authors or learn from the ones I don't like. Out of all the influences, my voice rises. Sometimes I feel inadequate and other times, superior. But I'm traveling on this road, telling my stories. I only hope you come along wherever the road leads.
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