Don’t Touch Anything!
*This is a placeholder. This is only a placeholder. If this were an actual post, you would see information, and opinion, and somebody being WRONG on the INTERNET! Possibly. *sigh* Look, I’d intended to be up much earlier, but for a confluence of reasons, I’m running short on sleep (by a bunch, and spread over a couple of weeks, really) and I’ve just barely started my coffee, and the Creature aka Wee Dave aka the Delight of My Eyes *clenched teeth* is – well, he’s more than stirring: he’s sitting up in bed and sucking his thumb at the world in general. And though Mrs. Dave does have more time today than she would otherwise, it starts earlier than usual. Until I have an opportunity to get to the office, throw up (like Chunk) some ideas you’d like to know more about, perhaps from someone a bit less practiced than the more senior Mad Genii.*
Ok, himself is fed, changed, bathed, soothed, and put down (for a nap. I’m told it’s important to remember to include that point). This one – now that I can finally get to it with something resembling a clear conscience – is going to look a lot like a State of the Writer post (Insanity? Confusion? Frustration? Could be, dear readers, could be), but I hope it’ll segue into something actually
worth reading informative, and – perhaps, perhaps – enlightening. Unless you’re a dwarf, and then I hope it’ll be endarkening. Note the line-out in the previous sentence. I’m going to come back to that.
Wee Dave turned one this past week. I’m told this is something of a milestone, and not an altogether arbitrary one. Mrs. Dave and I kept him alive for a year, without losing our minds (much: see the above paragraph for implication/foreshadowing) or running screaming from what passes for life in this fallen world. It was close a few times, though. He’s (mostly) a delight. Most of the time. Especially when he’s asleep and quiet. I like those times a lot.
All right. The Raspberry Pi Traveling Writing Rig is proceeding apace. I have the Dremel drill press almost set up to put the finishing touches on the case for it all, and need to put together something to carry Das Keyboard in the manner in which it would like to become accustomed. And in which I would like to be so. I’m planning something in leather, so I’ll need to put together a stitching horse before that can become realized. I was going to do that, anyway, as I’ve got plans for making some moccasin-style boots that I’m itching to make a reality.
I’ve learned over the last couple of years that my joints are not quite as elastic as they used to be. I’m doing something about it (several somethings), and one of those things is changing my footwear. Every positive inch of heel adds something like twelve degrees of lean (if you were to maintain proper joint alignment) which requires an unpleasant amount of shifting in order to compensate for. This will entail shortening of muscles as full range of motion is lost, as well as extra stress on ALL THE JOINTS. Which results in pain. A pain I could really do without. So I’m looking at shoes that don’t have enormous soles. My New Rocks languish in the closet. They’re pretty sure I don’t love them anymore. Which isn’t true: I just don’t love them enough to put up with knee pain.
Unfortunately, nobody makes what I’m after. No, I tell a lie: nobody makes what I’m after for less than about four hundred. Which I’m just not willing- I tell another lie. I’d love to pay someone to make me the shoes. I just can’t afford that. I can afford to get enough leather to make myself a pair, and to make a pair for Mrs. Dave. Upside is I can actually do the work myself. I just need to put together a stitching horse. And buy a bull hide. And some nice conchos. It’ll still be spendy, but not as spendy as just buying a pair. Plus I get to further develop good skills. Can’t have too many of those.
Unfortunately, all of this work (and the activity board for the Boy-Creature. Need to do that soonest) is going to take time, and time I don’t really have to waste. I already don’t get much writing time (though there’s a plan. It involves money, and a lady trusted by people we trust, and maybe a couple of mornings a week during which time I don’t have to be on the Active Daddy Clock (Heaven!!)) and what I do get is in fits and spurts. It’s maddening, especially when my brain moves faster than my fingers. Which is always, again, frustrating.
One of the things about being anything is the investment of identity in the activity. “I’m a plumber.” “I’m an engineer.” “I’m a writer.” A writer who don’t write ain’t a writer, not to put too fine a point on it. And a writer who doesn’t write often enough becomes a rusty writer. This feeds into Imposter Syndrome (For me, and for most other creators I know. I’ve heard tales of one creative person who doesn’t deal with that voice, but I’m not sure I quite believe them.)
Imposter Syndrome is when that SOB voice in the back of my head starts in on the “if you were a *real* writer – a genuine author – you’d have finished/submitted/published more stuff. Y’know, like Peter/Jason/Cedar/Sarah/Amanda/Pam/Dave/Larry.” So I answer it, “not like John?” And it responds, “ok, now you know you’re really nuts. John’s a freak of nature.” So at least there’s that. On the other hand (you have fingers) there’s learning to let enough be enough. I finished a few chapters across a couple of different projects, I wrote a short story and plotted another, and I’m getting a mess of other shorts ready for publishing. And I have a one-year-old son, for whom I’m the primary caregiver.
Oh, sure, I can make excuses. That one-year-old is usually a pretty acceptable excuse, at least in the set of people who are also parents. It’s harder to convince myself that it actually excuses my relative lack of productivity. (This despite Sarah’s, Cedar’s, and everyone else’s insistence that it does. Look, I’m pretty bright and reasonably savvy, but I’m also an American male, and we’re raised to believe we don’t have limits that we can’t overcome simply with an effort of will. Which will become another post, now I think on it.) This has been my struggle in the past few months, ever since the words started flowing again.
Kris Rusch had a great post recently (like many (most? All?) of her posts), but one piece stuck out to me. In it, she quotes one of the Random Penguin people to the effect of, “if you want to be a solo artist, you’re probably not going to be happy.” Now the context was about working in the happy fam-damnily at whichever part of the Random Penguin empire the publisher-critter works. Kris suggested, not impolitely, I thought, that authors are usually solo artists, and that looking at them otherwise is, perhaps, not entirely keeping with reality. The vast majority of the work we do as writers is inside our own skulls.
Now on the upside, I can do a lot of the preliminary work around whatever else is happening. On the downside, that means I spend most of my time there, and if I’ve learned anything from reading Sir Pterry, it’s that you need to bounce around the rest of humanity to actually be one of ‘em, and as uncomfortable as that may well be, it’s important. To my writing, if nothing else. (And there is else.)
So how’s the writer doing? The writer is doing. He’s working on the bits and pieces, and endeavoring to learn which stuff is the small-stuff-not-worth-sweating. I’m suspicious that it may turn out to be “most of the stuff.”