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Archive for February, 2008

The Bed and the Bathroom (revisited)

February 3rd, 2008 5 comments

Like most of you, I write from my home. There’s no ivory tower, or white-padded room, or tobacco-scented study full of shelves and dark wood. Nope, for me it’s a desk within touching distance of my bed and the master bathroom.The bed–well, it’s uses are numerous and mostly pleasant. The other–not so much. And caught in between is my work place.

This physical tension matches the mental and creative tension of the site. I mean, in corporate America you don’t get to work while bouncing your daughter on your knee, typing with one hand, blasting old U2 through the speakers, and popping M&Ms with the other hand. Probably, this atmosphere would restrict productivity in most environments, yet we as writers and artists do not live in a vacuum of free-thinking. We explore. We wrestle with every day life and try to go beyond the realms of the average, while capturing the essence of that which unites us all as human beings.

A year ago, about the time I joined this blog, I was nearing–I thought–the end of my fiction-writing career. Things were slowing on the sales end, my publisher was not returning my calls, and the checks were shrinking. Hey, what better time then to funnel my energy into a writers’ blog, trying to keep the fires stoked, so to speak.

A year later, I’ve finished three more complete novels under contract, with two more already slated for this year. My fingernails are chewed down to nubs (a habit of mine while writing), my hair’s grown shaggy, and the yard looks like…Well, I’ve been letting some things go.

My apologies, then, to all of you. I have not been the faithful contributor I hoped to be. I’ve read bits of wisdom and humor and endless creativity here, and yet I’ve been a crumbling brick in the foundation. I ask your forgiveness.

I’m still learning how to balance that tension between the bed and the bathroom. I’m still growing in my craft, feeling less gifted each day, finding that most of the time it’s just a lot of hard work that eventually churns up an uncut diamond or two. I’m also discovering that writers are some of the most amazing people to have as friends.

I go into this new year with hopes of creating more, playing more, laughing more, and still sticking to my commitments on all sides. I want to avoid the pitfalls of social networks online, while reaping the benefits and blessing others.

Somedays, I suspect, I’ll curl up in my bed of imagination and dream up scary, wonderful things. Other days, I’m sure will be more earthy, more mundane, and just as necessary in this tension between creativity and hard work.

Addendum: Yesterday, Elizabeth brought to our attention the creative vacuum that seems to exist in today’s educational system. I have two teen daughters, and their accounts of high school activity seems to confirm this.

I struggle for balance between creativity and discipline, and I think modern youth do as well. My oldest joined me on a walk today and pointed to an upcoming hill. “When I walked here with my boyfriend,” she said, “he had to stop to take a break.” “What?” I joked. “He just dropped a notch in my ratings.” Truthfully, though, I wonder how many kids have the basic discipline to tough it out on a hill, to finish homework when American Idol is on, to complete a novel when the Internet calls.

Creativity and discipline…The tension continues. As a father, I can only hope to model something different for my children; as an author, I hope to do the same for my readers.

Once again, I take my seat between the bed and the bathroom.

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