Inauguration day, as a moment of beginning and continuation, strikes me as a fine day to begin writing again. So here we go.
After a great Christmas in New York, where I got to hang out with my NYC gang—namely, Amy Berryman and Daniel and Grace Berryman (my amazing kids), not to mention my lovely wife Anjie—taking in all things Christmas (except Rockefeller Center, can you imagine?) and eating day after day like I might never get another meal, and after a solid week of teaching at Abilene Christian University, where 25 top of the class young people jousted with me about art, music, meaning, faith, pop culture, sex, aesthetics, poetry, and Les Miserables, I am now firmly seated at my desk, my computer yawning threats at me (or is that just boredom) if I don’t get to it with my 2013 agenda: I intend to complete two plays and a novel.
I’d better get to writing.
I’ve got my allies arrayed close by: Stephen Pressfield’s War of Art, the Zanders’ The Art of Possibility, Bayles and Orland’s Art and Fear, Robert Genn’s ongoing letters from the Painters’ Keys, Thomas Merton’s Seeds of Contemplation, Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, Stephen King’s On Writing, Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, Eric Maisel’s Deep Writing, and of course, Robert McKee’s Story. Then there are the fiction writers to both inspire and terrify. So far I’ve been listening to Walker Percy’s voice in The Moviegoer and John Updike’s in the brilliant and strangely upsetting novel Rabbit, Run. (Did Updike know these people?)
Will books and writers help? Do they help you? They do me, especially when I open them, read them, listen to them, and make some kind of effort to let their words and wisdom work on me.
And then there are my good friends and colleagues who accompany me on this journey of writing by reading my tomes and offering varying kinds of feedback. Of course, with plays you need actors and workshops and directors to help you find your way, and I’m grateful to have some skilled folks to help me sort things out. The novel? This is where the brave folks come out, willing to read all manner of craziness in hopes of coming across a solid storyline or two. We’ll see what happens there.
And hopefully, I’ll get a couple of the children’s things out as well. Sending queries to agents just now, and no bites yet.
Strange to be my age and still pitching as if I were a youngster just starting out. Before long I’ll turn into one of those inspirational older folks young people point to in shaking-head wonder, thinking, why doesn’t he just give it up? Can’t give it up, though…I feel as if I’m just getting underway.
So February 1st starts the New Year for me—January is far too connected to December to make for a clean break between eras, so I wait for February. That’s the day the new grind begins and focus returns. Oh, I know, it ought to start today, and truth is, with this bit of writing, it’s begun. Pushing back the dark one more time, ordering the chaos, doing the best I can with this image of God thing.
How’s your year going?
Time waits for no one…