Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Now What Should I Be Doing?

I am in a weird place. For so long I have always had this one huge, indomitable project pressing on my shoulders and nagging my subconscious. Well, this weekend, Saturday morning to be precise, at about 4 AM, I decided that I had finished my novel. I closed my laptop and went to bed. I slept really well.

A few hours later, I got up and made breakfast. My poor wife is sick, so she did not play into these scenes. I fed and entertained our children. I took them to the park, and then to McDonald's. We had a nice enjoyable day. That afternoon, back at home, I was sitting with my wife. I was holding her hand. She looked miserable. I said, "I don't know if this means a whole lot to you, but I have to tell you... I finished my novel."

She may have nodded. She may have just been sleepy. She said, "That's great." Then she asked if I could take care of dinner. I totally get where she's coming from. I finished writing. That's great. Now what?

Time to unleash it on the world, right? Well, at least a few innocent, unsuspecting friends. I made a short list of the people that I know who I would trust with something like this. People that I'd shared my secret with, some of them only very recently. And I emailed them the Word doc and asked if they would read it.

It feels so odd to be done and now, just to be in the waiting phase. In fact, it was so weird, that I stayed up all night on Sunday and made mountains of edits! Then, I emailed out the new revised version to my involuntary beta readers on Monday morning. Now I'm just in the waiting phase... so how come I keep re-reading parts of my manuscript?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Self-diagnosing Insomnia

I never get enough sleep. I was falling asleep at 9-ish when we put the kids to bed, then I laid down for the night by 10:30 (my target bedtime) and lay awake-ish until after midnight. My mind was replaying the day: thinking about my Sunday School lesson, which I was able to recall in surprising detail, thinking about what I’d said to people at my uncle’s announcement of his pancreatic cancer, thinking about how I would market Leadgenix, thinking about how Dr. Everett would present his findings on the decline of the Maya. It was a jumble of vivid, important-feeling thoughts going through my head.

My wife was fast asleep not 3 feet away. I wondered if her being there was keeping me up--like the light coming in around the blinds that I know is there even with my eyes closed. Out of respect for her blissful dreaming, I felt her presence weighing on me, pushing against me, driving me to curl up at the very edge of the mattress, the furthest point on the bed from her. It was after midnight when I finally got up, went downstairs, got a drink of water, and spent the rest of the night struggling for sleep in the guest room. 

It was a poor night’s sleep, I know that. And I was awake again around 5:30 and walked back up to my bed. She asked if I’d been up all night when I came in and I answered that I’d slept downstairs. I felt guilt in my voice as I added, “I just sleep better down there,” as though I had been up to something. I really don’t understand why I can’t get a good night’s sleep. I have this general sense of anxiety, especially on Sunday nights, that makes me think it might be work-related. But I don’t really have that stressful of a job. I’m not sure why I lie awake at night…

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heroic Stereotypes

Just watched a TEDx by Colin Stokes where he explains that Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz wins the fight with evil by being nice to everyone and being a leader (incidentally, of a team of men). Dorothy was not the hero of the story because she was the best at fighting or using a special power or type of magic. 

I agree with Stokes on this. Movies and pop fiction are often sending the wrong message: “Is a hero’s job to defeat the villain and collect his reward (that is usually a woman who has no friends and doesn’t talk)?”

That last bit in parentheses is a reference to the Bechdel Test that most movies fail.

Bechdel Test - 1. Are there 2 women with names and lines? 2. Do they talk to each
other? 3. About something other than a man.

Among Stokes' conclusions was this: “A real man is someone who trusts and respects women and stands up against a real bad guy (that wants to hurt women).” That is the kind of leadership people need to see. 

He also says this about Obi Wan: He knows more than anyone else and shares that knowledge.
Stokes assigns some of the problems he identifies to Joseph Campbell and “The Mono-myth” - The Hero’s Journey from The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Stokes notes that the hero is typically white, male, straight, and able-bodied. The truth of his words is powerful. http://youtu.be/OyM-2_5cmkA

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Loneliness and a Dream

I am sitting alone in the dark, as I often am. I have “work” to do that I’m not doing. I have put aside this bit of time so that I can finish my novel, but I am having trouble knowing where to work, what to add, how to really get it done. 

I wrote most of this about three years ago. I wrote some of this about 10 years ago! Holding a novel in one's head is surprisingly hard work. I feel too tired or scattered to unravel all of the pieces I’ve put down for three different books and which parts I’ve told or changed or plan on telling later. It’s a surprisingly intense mental effort. I don’t really know if I have a reason for why, but I just want this book to be great and to sell and to have someone tell me it was worth writing. It would mean a lot.

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