Let me clarify. I write. Quite a bit, actually, but none of it has been fiction for the past few weeks. Papers and posting and work stuff have been the primary focus of my written output. As you may have noticed by the chorus of crickets here, I haven’t even taken the time to blog very much.
I miss writing terribly, like spending time with an old friend. Who occasionally pisses me off.
I have gotten words down in drips and drabs. While I was traveling last week, after I posted to my class discussion boards, I did manage to get some scribbling done, and I even got about halfway through an edit on a story while I was killing time between visiting family and working/sleeping/doing homework in the hotel room. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to accomplish, but I got enough done to make me feel like I accomplished *something.* Better than nothing, I suppose. I’m revising my goal of when I’m getting that done and out into the shark tank (by my birthday), and I feel confident that with three days off and one class done, I’ll be able to hack it. What irks me most about being this busy right now is that I won’t be able to participate in NaNo this year, which is a total bummer. I do have a number of ideas that would develop into a series of shorts to KILL the 50k goal. I’ll also miss blasting the “Facetubes” with the word count of the day. That was always good fun. I will get through it and I’m looking forward to having the “free” time to dive into writing again. My appreciation for time has definitely increased and those little moments where I can get some unexpected scribbling done are moments I cherish.
Enough of this for now. It’s time to get the big rocks into the jar so I can start working on the pebbles and eventually get to the sand and water.
Quite some time ago on a message board while in the midst of a conversation about kicking a story out into the big, bad world of publishing, I coined a phrase. I conjured up the most terrifying image I could for doing something that makes me somewhat queasy, even still. The image I created, the phrase I coined is something that still makes my stomach lurch, yet still fascinates me. Instead of sending my story out, I would drop kick it “into the shark tank.” Thinking about a big pool filled with hungry predators looking to take a huge bite out of something, namely, my work, just terrified me. The image justified the cold sweat that always breaks out as soon as I hit the “submit” button and watch my words flutter away on the digital breeze.
The more I think about this horrifying image, these intimidating, ancient creatures prowling the waters and opening their jaws with their sharp teeth to take even a curious, exploratory bite from me or my work, the more it lures me. The more I fear it, the more I’m attracted to it. I’m terrified of sharks, and yet, I watch Shark Week compulsively on The Discovery Channel. The shark tank. The big beasts in their natural habitat. Slipping into the wet folds of the nightmare and sliding into the Big Drink amidst these graceful, imposing creatures is both awe-inspiring and paralyzing. Something like the way I feel when I’m sending out a story to a big publisher.
I’m on the verge of some big changes right now. I am in the thick of diving back into a degree program to finish what I started many years ago. Jumping into the world of distance education while working a hectic full time (an then some) job and still trying to write is going to be…challenging, but a worthy struggle. It’s going to be an epic event, I know, and one that will require some kind of celebratory move. An epic celebration. It’s going to mark a new chapter in my life, and time to conquer something else that intimidates me.
And what better, than actually jumping into the drink with the frightening beasts that make my blood crystallize into ice?
That’s right. When I’m done with school, I’m going shark diving off Guadalupe Island. In a cage, mind you. It may not be much protection when you’re looking at a beast that could easily use said cage for toothpicks if properly provoked, but skin-diving is not my idea of a good time. I’ve made the decision that I’m going to jump into the shark tank for real, and I can’t wait. I’ve already done some research and I have a rough idea of what the cost is going to be. As soon as I have an idea of how work, school and the writing gig will balance over the next couple of semesters, I’ll be able to figure out when it’s going to happen, and I’ll update with a target date.
As scared as I am of them, I’m really looking forward to jumping in the water with them and seeing them up close. This is going to happen and I can’t wait!
This has been quite the hectic week! Midterms for one class are tonight and I’m not ashamed to admit that I am terrified of pulling up that test and starting it because I don’t feel like I’ve absorbed/learned enough from the class. I have a critical analysis paper of a scientific journal in the same class as the midterm and it is entirely overwhelming because I’ve never written this kind of paper before. The lit paper was a breeze and I’m ready to submit it tonight.
All that, and it doesn’t include my regular homework, or the work I’m trying to front-load for October so I can take a trip to the frigid north in the middle of the month.
That’s not to say that there aren’t fun points. Last night, after class, I made up a crockpot of my almost-famous 15-can chili and even though I didn’t win, I got some damned good compliments.
Writing. Hmm. Other than the academic writing, there’s been a cumulative ~2k over the past month, which is a little depressing, but when judged against everything else I’ve done over the past four and a half weeks, I’m not overly concerned. Getting any done is a minor victory.
Even though I can’t focus on them, I’ve been fortunate enough to have ideas clamoring for my attention. I have a short piece in the works (the very SLOW works, but in the works nonetheless), and I’m in the wool-gathering stages of another one I think will be pretty epic. I have a source for some first-hand observations and information that would be nearly impossible to glean from anywhere else. I’m definitely grateful for his help because something tells me this story is going to be big.
The goal for this month is to get two shorts edited and drop-kicked into the shark tank. It’s time to feed ’em some fresh meat while they gnaw the others to the bone.