The 17th already? And only the second blog entry for the month. Caramba. What a lackadaisical blogger I am.
It was easier to stay on top of this when I was driving truck. Hunkered down in the sleeper cab, parked in some diesel- and urine-redolent truckstop, it was pretty easy to find the time to write an entry. The trickier part was locating a good wi-fi signal so I could post it.
Here at home, the distractions are legion. I could make a list. Something the heroine of What is the Meaning of All This? is fond of doing.
Susan Constant; that’s her name. The poor girl; I thought about her every day for so long, and now I’ve cast her aside.
Hemingway, who was also a whiner, also talks about this problem. From the perspective of a rich and successful writer, however, which is a little different from my own situation. Papa, as he liked to be called, complains about how when he’s been working long and hard on a book, people seem to think he’s just sitting on his ass. Once the book is published, they praise him for all the hard work he does. While he sits on his ass, because once the book is done he does in fact do just that until he starts on the next one.
What a writer wants to do, once a book is finished, is anything but think or talk or write about the book. He’s gone out there to the deep water, found the monster, caught it, fought with it, reeled it in, laboriously brought it home. (This is the metaphor from The Old Man and the Sea, which Hemingway claims is not a metaphor.) The old fisherman is exhausted. Days and days he spent out there, with nothing to eat but some raw bonito. To catch the great fish, he has sacrificed hundreds of feet of good line and assorted other tackle. His hands are cut to the bone, and he’s begun coughing up blood. In his tragic running fight with the sharks over his catch, he’s lost his knife and, as I recall, a few pieces of his boat. By the time he makes land, with nothing to show for his efforts but the gnawed bones of what had once been a magnificent fish, all he wants to do is go home to bed.
All I want to is work on the next book.
Instead, I’ve got to do marketing. Which is what this blog is ultimately about. Kind of pathetic as a marketing effort, but then I’m not a marketer. What I’m told I need to do is mount a huge Facebook campaign. Facebook gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Wish I knew a good marketer willing to take this off my hands.
Then I could get busy on the next book, for which I already have a rough sketch. Except that before I get too involved with that, I need to go through that old screed The Great American Desert to get it ready for Kindle.
And then there’s always the job I ought to go find. That, of course, would be the practical thing to do, as of course this whole fiction thing is, so I hear, merely a by-product of the Industrial Revolution. And my chances of ever making a living by writing stories are infinitesimally small. Something, by the way, that I have no need for anyone to clue me in on.
The trouble with having a job is that, historically, it makes me unproductive as a writer. And while I see the advantages of having a roof over my head, I also have this compulsion to write. So for now I choose to be impractical.
What a lot of whining.
Mañana, for a change, I’ll blog something about WITMOAT. Really. Kerouac has a good line about mañana, which is a favorite word of some Mexicans he falls in with outside of LA. What a beautiful word, he says. It probably means heaven.