Reading and Writing

Yeah, OK, the pic is a little blurry but you get the idea. Best I could do with the goats at feeding time this frigid morning, the animals are a study of frantic motion. It always gives me a laugh to see how the goats fight it out over some hay and sweet feed; this. This is why I keep them. They make me smile.

The goats started it, but today is a day that makes me smile, after a bleak, seemingly endless winter.

Why.

Well, first it must be mentioned that this January marks an anniversary I almost overlooked. I can’t believe I’ve been writing in this blog for four solid years now. Looking back on it, this has been a successful venture. Enjoyable. Which is the whole point.

Second, I have an excellent book to read, “The Splendid and the Vile,” by Erik Larson. It was recommended to me by a friend, and the man knows of what he speaks. I needed a Churchill book to deepen my understanding of this larger-than-life hero; this fits the ticket in excellent fashion. Great reading on a day that is meant for reading.

This leads to a thought: “Hero” is a word that should be used sparingly. Winston Churchill was a hero by any definition, and I am borrowing him for Book Three of my trilogy.

Finally, as long time readers know, a lot of my writing and work is weather-driven. Today is not only cold, it is snowing outside. Snow and rain are the best incentives, at least for me, for keyboard work. On days like today I don’t want to do a darn thing but live inside my own head for hours at a stretch, creating new worlds, or joining friends in explorations of theirs.

The other day, a frigid icebox with lows of 8F (-13.3), I matched a writing record dating back to 2016. Back then I finished up “The Captain’s Cauldron,” the bridge novel of my original trilogy in a day. It was, as I recall, a manic episode that spanned a period from the early dawn to after evening supper, with only brief breaks for coffee or a bite to eat.

That’s the problem with finales, at least for me. The story accelerates to a point that I can’t let go in the final chapters, it seems that I vomit the last words onto the waiting Word document.

This happened on that freezing day last week. Thirteen hours of work, nearly ten thousand words. Stupid. Unbelievable. I paid for it with the stirrings of a migraine and a general feeling of detached shell-shock.

I don’t want to do that again any time soon. Seriously.

But today, today is a leisurely Sunday. All of our running around and chores were tackled yesterday before the snow started to fall. In addition, I visited old friends for the first time since late summer and caught up, the visit was relaxing, enjoyable.

So today I’m in a perfect mindset for Book Number Three in this alternate history trilogy; the beginning of a novel doesn’t have the same feeling of pressure that the end does. The reader, and the writer, have time to watch as events unfold. This is not to say that the writer should be too relaxed; no, the story needs to draw the reader in and unfold in such a fashion that people need to turn the next page.

I guess what I’m saying is that today the pressure is off, and as the snow flies I can have some fun.

It seems like screwing around, really, reading and writing. Maybe it is.

But screwing around, done properly, adds up to work that is fun.

This is how stuff gets done when you’re in the groove; you enjoy what you’re doing and at the end of it you can take some degree of pride in what happened.

Then the editors get to the work in question.

But that’s the tale for another day, and I’m actually very much looking forward to that point.

First, though, the story must be written.

Time to open the Word file. Catch you all sometime soon.

J

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