What Am I Doing? Quotidian Update 43.2.a6

OK, so here I am, almost 6 months post op from a hip replacement, riding the Bike to Nowhere, walking the dogs, doing weight training, editing my novel. My life is mostly editing (writing?) and physical training. It’s not a bad life, and I’m sure not complaining, but yesterday I wondered “Why?”

I don’t have an answer. All I can say is that I can now do 30 bridges and 30 squats. My physical therapist would be proud of me and pleased I’m doing them. Still, I haven’t told him, haven’t stopped by to say “Hello!,” nothing.

The local ski area — Wolf Creek — is the first to open in Colorado. It doesn’t have a LOT of snow, 20 inches, but I know from experience in California that’s plenty if you’re desperate. The mountains on all sides are white and beautiful. Fall proceeds slowly giving the dogs and me plenty of time to enjoy the changes in the air, the colors of the world. No one is playing golf — though the course doesn’t seem to be closed — and it’s wonderful to be back there and not worry about icky old men with lousy attitudes and their shirts off. Ugh.

But just as I don’t really remember how to run (no, it doesn’t just “come to you”), I don’t remember how to ski, either.

As for the writing, well, I usually sell a book a month, but this month, no, nothing. And now I have this new novel and will soon begin the adventure of querying agents.

I spent more than a week on 30 (slow moving) pages attempting to elevate the pacing. I thought the whole time of Truman Capote who described that kind of writing as giving him “the mean reds.” I totally understand. You sit there in front of your work and you go, “That sucks, but I need it to move the story. Shit, how can I make it less heavy-footed, less pedantic, less ugh…” Next time you pick up a 200 page book that you end up loving, think to yourself about the writer who had to sit there (maybe) and, line-by-line eliminate $90 words and passive sentences and repetition. No, he or she is not a martyr to his/her writing, but damn, that’s really hard, tedious and fucking boring.

Now that things are happening in the novel again, it’s a lot more fun.

So what am I doing? I really don’t know. It’s all rather Quixotic, but what else would I do?

16 thoughts on “What Am I Doing? Quotidian Update 43.2.a6

  1. I think you just described why I’m not writing a book.
    It’s the editing.
    I’m a one edit writer. I do it once (which isn’t NEARLY enough) and I’m done. I don’t want to ever see the book again.
    That’s not how you make the Big Time.

    • I think you can edit until you’re blue in the face and still not make the big time unless you redefine the big time as writing as well as you can. I didn’t even know what that meant until the Ghost of Truman Capote showed up in my dreams. Now I’m stuck.

      • You comments beg the question: how can a translated work (think Voltaire), or an abridged novel still have the same value as the original? Surely, changing a few words around, or even the language, isn’t enough to dilute really great writing. I think the core idea is what gives the writing its oomph – not the way it’s edited.

        Hmmm, that was supposed to be encouraging…

        • Editing is often what gives writing its “oomph.” If you can’t find the core idea because the writing is so bad, it doesn’t matter what that core idea is. Editing is the place where a writer makes his/her writing what he or she really WANTS it to be, good editing allows language to serve the idea.

  2. It keeps you off the streets. 🙂 I think the same about my mosaic at the moment. Why? I hurt all over. Is the satisfaction when it is finished worth it? I could just go for a walk instead. Instant gratification. I dunno.

  3. I must be weird. I like nitpicking my writing, changing words here and there. I guess, if that’s the interesting bit, then my stories must be pretty bad!
    What else would you do? Well, don’t start picking fights with windmills, because that would be about as quixotic as you could get.

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