A long time ago, I used to write. Stories, I mean. I’m not trying to imply that I became illiterate for a time or anything. But as a grade school student I wrote a few little stories, having fun with writing some stories like the ones I was beginning to read in my father’s science fiction books. I grew to love reading. Writing, I had a slightly different relationship with.
I enjoyed creating a story. But some of the stories I wrote were judged against the work of other kids in my classes, and I was unhappy that my writing was not judged to be the best. I was massively impatient; if I did something I wanted to be the best at it right away.
I am still a basically impatient person now. I have come to understand that patience, persistence, and practice have value and are virtures, though. So I try my best to practice those things.
But back then, I left off writing gradually, dusting it off to play with it from time to time as I passed into high school and young adulthood. I never took it too seriously. I thought now and then that it would be nice to be published, but never did anything about it. After all, if I tried to be published and someone rejected it, it might prove somehow that I wasn’t any good. Whether ‘wasn’t any good’ would apply to my writing or my entire personhood, I think, wasn’t clear in my mind. Psychologically, it’s not a very nice place to be, but there I was.
For a long time between high school and sobering up in my mid-30s, I bent my creative energies to playing fantasy role-playing games. You know, that Dungeons And Dragons stuff. I haven’t done that in a long while, but it’s a nice outlet for some folks. It was a nice outlet for me. But for me, it was also something not so good. It became an immersion, an escape from reality. When I wasn’t drunk and evading reality by being insensate, I was burying myself in fantasy so I could evade reality the rest of the time. It wasn’t a healthy way to use a nice creative recreation.
And between drinking and playing games, my sometimes hobby of writing fiction fell entirely by the wayside. For a good fifteen or twenty years I read fiction and I thought about what I might do differently if I were the writer of the story I was reading, but I did not put a word of my own down on paper.
A few years ago, when I quit drinking and sobered up, I began to think about my writing again. I had barely learned to ride that metaphorical bike before I had given it up, and it took a little patience to relearn what I had known and begin to develop some skill. It was frustrating. I am still, like I said, a basically impatient person. But getting sober from alcoholism absolutely requires that you learn to set impatience aside when something important needs doing, and writing was good exercise in that area for me.
So I wrote. I wrote some short little stories, and stalled out on them when I couldn’t figure out what happened next. I started a fantasy novel, and stopped it when I reread the thirty or forty pages I had written and found that they were wooden and poorly plotted. But, patience, dammit! I thought I could see some potential there.
I wrote some short stories. I sent them off to magazines, got rejected, wrote more, re-read those first stories, compared them to my new stories. I marked those first few stories ‘needs complete rewrite’ in my files and submitted the next batch. The third batch began to draw an occasional personalized rejection and I thought, ‘hey, I might have something here’.
Maybe a more patient person would keep sending things off to the print venues. I might still do so in the future.
But for now, I have decided instead to try some e-publishing. Maybe I’m just being impatient again. But to me, it feels more like being hopeful.
So now, I have a few short stories and a short collection of flash fiction up on Smashwords and Amazon, which you can see at either location by clicking its name.
If you look, thanks. If you don’t look, thanks for reading this far.
Ultimately, it makes me happy when someone enjoys reading something I wrote.
A note for long-time readers of this blog:
It’s been a long time since I updated. I could plead busy life, new baby, or spending all of my writing time on other projects. But I won’t. There’s a little truth in all those excuses, but they’re excuses and it takes about half an hour to put out a decent blog post. I could have spared the time.
The truth is, I had run out of gas a little bit on my original topics, 12-step recovery and Tao-related philosophy. There’s plenty more to write about on either topic, but I began to feel like I was in increasing danger of repeating myself, like the bounds I had drawn for myself were just a tad too narrow.
So I’m branching out. An established blog with my pen name on it is a good place to talk about my writing. I might talk about plain old regular stuff here, or even *gasp* politics– maybe. It will also remain a good place to talk about my recovery and my philosophizing. It’s just going to be a little more comprehensive from here on out.