Saturday, April 27, 2013
It's a rainy, drizzly, overcast day out here in the woods of Tennessee. I have to give a shout out to my backpacking buddies from last weekend--a few of them are out again this weekend, getting soaked. I would've joined them, but they are way out east on another adventure, and not going to get back until tomorrow afternoon. But some family is in town for the weekend, and about twenty of us are going out to dinner together this evening, so I have that obligation to attend to.
I even thought of going on a short day hike around here today, and I still might, only if the rain lets up though, because I left my rain jacket hanging on the back of my chair in my office. But it's coming down in buckets and it doesn't look like it's going to let up anytime soon.
Last night I went out to another meetup group, this one was a meet-and-greet for singles. I have to admit that I really didn't enjoy it very much. Yeah, I met some nice folks, but I had a couple of things working against me. First of all, I hate my job, and of course that's the first thing people want to ask you about, and it's hard to avoid being negative when you talk about a job you hate. The other thing is that I really don't like to tell people where I work anyways, (learned that lesson from my Vegas days), not that people would show up and hassle me, but because when people learn where I work, they inevitably have to offer up an opinion about the place. Nashville is too small of a town for that. I haven't figured out a good 'job alias' to tell people yet, I suppose.
Also, it seems that a lot of the people there *really* want to find somebody for a relationship right away, and well, that's just not for me right now. I've got plans and things I need to do, and seriously, none of those women I met are the least bit interested in somebody who plans on quitting their job in a year, putting their stuff in storage, and is heading off into the woods for six months.
Another thing I noticed is that while everyone was super friendly, more than a few of the women were just looking for a way to drink free. I've been to enough happy hours in my time to avoid that trap, so I didn't offer to buy anyone a drink. I did, however, meet one gal who I found particularly intriguing, but after talking to her for a bit, I got the vibe that she was actually dating somebody else in the group already. Of course, the best ones are already taken...
So after about an hour and a half of meeting everyone and making small talk, I ordered a small plate of pot-stickers and grabbed a seat in the corner to watch the Pirates-Cardinals game on the tv, paid my tab, and got out of there by 8:30. I think I'm gonna stick to the hikers and writers groups instead. There are no expectations there, and those meetups are much cheaper to attend anyways.
Anyhow, I got to bed early last night, and slept straight through until 8:30 this morning, which I enjoyed very much. I haven't gotten to sleep in for a long time. Usually on my days off, I'm still waking up at six o'clock in the morning, just out of habit.
So I brewed a pot of coffee, turned on the Pandora, and sat down at the new keyboard. First of all, I went back and re-read yesterday's epic post, and did a bit of editing--I caught a few spelling errors and such, so I fixed them. (Part of the problem is that I'm not used to this new keyboard quite yet, and sometimes I accidentally move the cursor around or hit a tab button without knowing it). I also noticed some awful writing, like in an early paragraph repeating the words 'backpacking' and 'weekend' far too much. The honest truth is that I use this blog to practice my writing, and having taken so much time off, and also so much time between posts, sometimes the results aren't the highest quality. Maybe subconsciously I'm saving my best for the book I'm working on (at least I hope that's the reason), but I'm always working on improving my work.
Speaking of the book, I think I've got four early chapters almost completely finished, and they are in the capable hands of Linda Lou, getting edited. We're gonna talk tomorrow night about fixes, and I'll take one of them with me on Monday night to one of my writers group meetings to share.
The funny thing about writing a book is that I don't sit down and write it in chronological order. I just write whatever I'm thinking about at the time and just let it rip. The stuff I've got so far is all early chapters, and one of them is obviously Chapter 1, but the others don't follow immediately after that, so it wouldn't quite make sense to anyone that stumbled across my files and tried to read it. So that kinda leads me to today's project. My goal for the weekend is to not only crank out another chapter or two (probably just one--they take much longer to write than a random blog post!), but more to work on my outline and get a better sense of exactly how it's going to take shape, and figure out a way to tie together the chapters I've written so far.
Telling the stories is the easy part. Tying them together, making them flow and keeping them interesting is the hard part. Also, I'm finding that one of my personal stumbling blocks is that I unconsciously change from past to present tense and back again over and over again when I'm telling a longer story. So that creates more work to go back and fix everything. Also, writing dialogue in the past tense is probably the most difficult thing I've encountered so far. It's impossible to write exactly how people speak, and finding a balance between the two is a real art. Plus you can't keep using phrases like 'he said' and 'she said' over and over again, otherwise the writing starts to sound like a monotone Hootie and the Blowfish album, where every song feels like it's in the same key. And the word 'exclaimed' will never make it into my book--it's just trite way of varying up the word 'said'. So it's a huge challenge.
The idea of writing a book is extremely appealing. The actual doing, the nuts-and-bolts of putting out good material, can get rather tedious. But it's not all bad, a lot of the work is me going back and rereading old blog posts, remembering stories, remembering things I left out, and enjoying it all over again. That's actually the fun part, when I get an idea in my head and just run with it. Of course the work comes when I go back and have to fix it and make it more readable, but that's the price of a ticket for admission into the author's club.
But this book ain't gonna write itself. And nothing is more pathetic than writing about writing a book, right? I better get after it.
Posted by Hurricane Mikey at 11:01 AM