Monday, February 15, 2016

The Buchanan Book of the Dead, Part 1

I don't think it's uncommon to feel scattered. Scattered like your mind is in 3,000 directions at once and nothing gets done. Or you feel like your energy is scattered, like you've just got too many projects going on and the results are the same—nothing seems to be getting done.

For many years, I had many projects at once, many of them ongoing, complete with deadlines. For instance, I maintained this blog weekly, I contributed to The Sophia Ballou Project weekly and I was maintaining my magazine Umbrella Factory Magazine quarterly. In 2014, I was doing all these things and also getting a script ready for Rocket House Pictures. On top of all of that I was working on my latest manuscript for Ring of Fire Books.

It's good to be so busy, it just is. It's good to have deadlines and guidelines. It's good to work.

By the end of 2014, many of my projects were coming to an end.

My time at both The Sophia Ballou Project and Rocket House Pictures came to an end. I completed my manuscript for Ring of Fire. That left UFM and my blog. Feeling tired, and well, scattered, I decided to ease off all of my projects altogether.

We had our quarterly UFM meeting and we decided to shelf it. Of the remaining staff, all of us have young-young children and it was just time to the family thing. Initially, we were to shelf UFM forever. This is was for 2014. As it turned out, it was only two issues.

Likewise, I wanted to fold my blog. I sporadically posted 10 entries in 2015 and all of them after May.

What happened, really, was this: I started to feel like I left what it was I loved about writing and my life as a writer.

What I love is the fountain pen and my 9.75 x 7.50 inch composition notebook. I suppose it gets deeper than that. What I really missed was the feeling I get when just writing, freely creating something. I missed my youth, and I'm at the appropriate age to miss my youth. I missed long evenings and nights of the fall of 2000, Portland, OR, Anna Banana's coffeehouse notebook writing excursions over coffee. I missed the miserable summer of 2005, Tucson, AZ, when I could watch the ink drain from the cheap pens I used as my notebooks filled up. I missed the four novels I penned in 2009, all by hand, that first year after grad school.

I just missed being a writer, or at the very least, the writer I was when I started.

I did not set out in 2015, last year, to write a novel, nor anything of true consequence. I just wanted to write in my notebook. I set a rather arbitrary goal of 25 short stories. I figured that came to one short story every two weeks. I also figured that was a very attainable goal because I was not having to put out two or more pieces of writing a week.

I started writing short stories shortly after making the goal. The short story entitled “The Buchanan Book of the Dead” was one of the first. It felt good to write.

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