Monday, April 28, 2014

All Apologies

An apology and word of explanation is long overdue to you, my dear non-religious — or religiously indifferent — reader. Because, boy oh boy, do I ever sympathize. The fact remains: the fastest way to get me to leave a room is to start talking religion.

If that describes you as well, I am truly sorry for the turn this blog has taken of late.

Here is what I think is going on.

He's typing: good sign!
At some point, roughly five years ago, I stopped writing fiction. Right up to that point I’d been in the habit of hammering out short stories, or throwing words into one or another virtual folder — larger projects I hoped might miraculously assume the shape of a novel or play or multimedia extravaganza. These Big Projects were really just one enormous, fallowing field. The short stories were what was working for me.

A beginning, a middle and an end. A mischievous glint of light that flew to unexpected corners. The “a-ha!” moment when I’d realize what, exactly, was going on. So that’s how this ends! Who knew? etc.

And then, midway through one of these delightful experiences, I stopped and realized: I’d written this story before. Twice, in fact.

I saved-and-quit. The days accumulated into weeks, then months, then years, and the emphasis on “quit” grew heavier.

I recently mentioned this episode to a friend, who replied, “You know, Stephen King has been writing the same story for decades now.”

To which I said, “Pay me what Stephen King makes and I will happily write the same story over and over for as long as I live. Hell, I’ll write the same Stephen King story over and over.”

It's a living.

I shut off the computer five years ago under the conviction that I needed to recalibrate my sightlines a notch or two in a different direction. Specifically, it was time to stop writing from the POV of an aggrieved young man. I certainly wasn’t young anymore, and my sense of grievance was becoming increasingly questionable.

Needless to say, this sort of odyssey manages to be both intuitive and wildly counter-intuitive. It also takes longer than anticipated (one reason why, I suspect, mid-life writers are somewhat prone to leaving the spouse-and-kids: nothing kick-starts wisdom and insight like a rash of incredibly foolish behavior. Moderation in all things, I say, including immoderation — and especially immoderate foolishness).

Anyway, two years ago I received a hard nudge in the current direction. And forgive me also for this next confession: it feels like this is the way out and back in to fiction. So that is the direction I will continue in, for the next little bit.

I’ll try to throw in a few more references to the fun stuff: books, comics, movies, music. I’m way overdue to bang the drum for Devin Townsend — of whom I’ve become a drooling fanatic. I am tempted not to link to this piece, since I suspect it is more likely to turn off prospective listeners than it is to turn them on (this bit (scroll down) is slightly better). But it is timely, so: read (and listen) at your own peril. I’ll see if I can't give Townsend the car-lot sales pitch before the week is out.

"We'll be hearing from that crazy writer again,
and I don't mean just a post-card!"


Joel said...

First of all, I've really been enjoying your series on religion--despite all my complaints or comments along the way, it's been giving me a lot of food for thought.

But what I think is neither here nor there.

My philosophy on blogs is that they are usually more for the writer's benefit than for the reader's benefit. The writer can write about whatever subject interests him, in whatever detail interests him, and post at whatever frequency interests him and the readers are free to come and go whenever they want. I view it as a kind of sandbox to play around in, and then (maybe) to later return and take out whatever looks like it's worth returning to, and fine-tune that for other purposes. (Whatever your literary ambition might be.)

Which is a round about way of saying--No apologies necessary, I think.

Darrell Reimer said...

Thanks Joel. Your philosophy on blogs ("blogosophy"?) is mine as well, more or less. It's how the blogosphere ought to work, I think. Certainly that's the only way it retains any interest for me.

Still, I do know a couple of readers who make a point of showing up because they want to see what I think of X comic book, or they're hard-up for new kick-ass rock -- causes I remain sympathetic to. I don't want to shake them loose, just 'cos I'm in a serious mood of late.