For the most part, I have about an average life as far as big events go: births, deaths, marraiges, divorces (someone else's this time, thank you very much) and so on, but for the last eighteen months or so, the hit's just kept on coming. Like a boxer who hasn't been tagged on the chin, but has taken a lot of body blows, my Wife and I kind of lapsed into what feels like a permanent survival mode. Things have accumulated, and God help us with all the tax stuff we need to gather. I haven't written a thing in Months.
I did manage a blog or two, because I noticed that I get more visits right after I submit something, and I don't want the thirty or forty people who pay attention to get bored and quit checking to see if there's anything new from me. I looks like things are starting to quiet down now, but it's hard to get a groove on when you have become accustomed to waking up in the morning with some crisis or another hanging over your head. After a while, you EXPECT to be interrupted at any time by some new problem that requires your attention, and will extract a toll of some sort.
Even as I sit here, I am expecting the phone to ring, bringing one last echo of a problem I thought had been dealt with. I think I know why so many writers are selfish bastards, with a trail of failed relationships and sometimes self-destructive behavior following them throughout their lives, but somehow they continue to write. By some trick of mind, they are able to compartmentalize themselves from the stuff going on around them and write. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter S. Thompson: anyone you care to name who fits the description--they all seemed to be able, for a time at least, to keep the chaos that was their life from wrecking their writing.
Both of the two I mentioned flamed out early, but lots of other, less extreme cases probably lived in somesuch manner for most of their lives, and continued to write quality stuff. How did they do it? I am a big fan on Jon Carrol here in the bay area, and while not in the bloom of health, he continues to produce servicable, occasionally brilliant columns several times a week. The Sports Pages are full of articles, some of them quite good, and there's something there every day.
How does one just grind it out when things are going bad on a personal level? I confess there must be a degree of professionalism that I lack and these folks do not. Surely, some (perhaps all?) of you out there have been through this. How I feel about things is what fuels my writing, but how do you put all that STUFF aside when necessary and just sit down and write? I think it was James Thurber that said writing consists of staring at a blank page until drops of blood form on your forehead-I know exactly what he means.
Causes David Beemer Supports
Wife works as an advocate for Seniors. Sponser a child through World Vision