Sunday, November 20, 2016

November Conclusions Part 3: (pre)Occupations

I finished my manuscript (pre)Occupations today. This is generally a real cause for celebration. And anyone who knows me, knows that I love celebrations. Or rather, I like to drink, especially after completion of a project.

What I hoped to do with this project was to think about Longmont, the town where I live, in a different way. I both love and loath this town. I love it because this is home and this is where I live. I love my people here. I don't like the place because the two most dominate cultures here are the weed culture and the frackers. Either way, I don't get it. I just wanted to write a group of larger (5,000 word) short stories set here in Longmont. I chose to write each one about a character who has a specific job, or occupation. In a big way, I started to look around and see daily life here as very magical. Although it will always be hard to overlook the weed people and the kill 'em all, frack! Frack! Frack!, I did see my town for what it really is, Anytown, USA. Even the people on the streets captured my imagination.

I landed up writing nine of these stories. Nine is no small sum, I don't think it is anyway. Looking over my notes, I see that I began this project exactly five months ago on June 20th. It makes me consider a few things. First, it took me five months to write a small manuscript, the sort of manuscript I once wrote in about five weeks. Sadly, I know those days are over, but I lament the loss of them. And secondly, hell yeah, I wrote a manuscript in five months.

Being the third manuscript I was able to complete this year, I feel very fortunate. I feel like a group of short stories, along with all the other short stories I've written over the years is exactly what I need. Right? I mean, eventually, I hope to spend my time trying to get published, writing emails and letters to everyone, and developing relationships with magazines and editors. I now have nine more pieces to add to the arsenal.

This is not exact what I'll do. I know myself too well. I've always thought that when writing new material became difficult, I would spend my time submitting and trying to push out product. So far, since I first put a pen to paper, sometime in the fall of 1986, the time to set the writing of new material aside and focusing on publication has not happened.

I think it may be a level of laziness. I mean, I'd rather write a 50,000 word manuscript than submit even one short story. It is difficult to edit, rewrite, rework and submit a story that becomes a waiting game of inevitable reject. These are just my insecurities coming out.

The final thought, of course, is now I can open up my mind and my creative endeavors to a new project. It's time to move onto the next project. Initially, (pre)Occupations was meant to take my thoughts from A Scout is Brave and let me focus on Coppertown. It's time to see if it worked.

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