Steven King (On Writing) cautions against spending your time not writing when you could be writing (or reading). He doesn’t have much sympathy, nor should he, for people who claim they want to write but whose time is spent doing other things. When he wrote this, his example of time misspent involved television. Now, of course, the would-be writer has it even harder. Blogs helped us pretend we were writing, and Facebook and fake news sites help us pretend we’re not watching TV. But neither of those activities are writing (or reading).
It occurs to me I’ve done a pretty good job of not blogging. I also do a pretty good job of not watching TV, though I am a sucker for a movie (any movie) watched on a laptop perched on our supine bodies in the bed space. The problem activity remains Facebook. Even the recent loss of my phone (not to be replaced until tomorrow) didn’t slow me down. I just take a laptop into the bathroom with me. If I were to claim I was doing less Facebook, no one should believe me.
Still, I’m trying to write more. I’m certainly more driven than I’ve ever been. The trouble is, well, everything else. Right now, for example, I’m (happily) designing a one-sixth scale mockup of the installation Sunya will do for the Crocker Art Museum later this year. They want a picture of her holding a model for the magazine. We don’t have the model yet. I’m trying to design the parts and produce them on a laser cutter without any 3D CAD knowledge but just by faking it in 2D, and the photo meeting is day after tomorrow, so: I’m not writing right now. But I will. Soon. And she apologetically reminds me she won’t need me after this and I (happily) remind her this is our project, not just hers, and I’m enjoying myself.
And if it isn’t that it’s a thousand other things, festivals every weekend with some level of work involved, cars that don’t quite run right, a house needing work (e.g. fix the dryer vent, detox the pool, strip the front yard and landscape it on the cheap, I do go on don’t I). Even so, I do a lot of research, and a little writing, and a little more rewriting, and a bunch of thinking; and I try to read but I get bored so easily, gah.
And no, I don’t want a damn job. I want us to figure this out, and suddenly make it.
Another thing King said (I was reading his book today because of my lost phone — there’s some sort of lesson in that — and I will paraphrase because I don’t want to fetch it from the other room): It’s not possible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, nor is it possible to make a great writer out of a good writer, but with a lot of hard work it might be possible to make a good writer out of a competent one. I’m a competent writer, and I intend to become a good one. We’ll see if after fifty eight badly-managed years I have time for that. We’ll see.