Yesterday I worked on a new chapter of my book, Sparkle Days (my working title anyway), concurrent with reading one pleasure novel and Chris Roerden’s instructional book, Don’t Murder Your Mystery. On top of that, I worked on a short story for a writing contest that I thought perfected months ago, but after submitting it to critique partners, knew wasn’t ready for primetime. Writers are always multitasking, it goes with the territory, and I’m usually very good at multitasking. Nothing went well and on top of it all, it was raining, again, in what seemed like a week of constant rain.
My new chapter looked like a murder victim from Chris’ book. I wondered if I could write at all. I contemplated throwing down my keyboard. I listened to Johnny Lang’s “Still Rainin,” thinking that maybe John Lee Hooker was right and the blues would cure me. It didn’t. I went to the gym.
This morning I got up and rewrote my new chapter in a way that would make Chris proud. Finished with the chapter, I let it simmer and picked up The Washington Post’s Health & Science section and read the following paragraph reinforcing what I already knew in Lenny Bernstein’s The MisFits column,
"I do some of my best writing on the run. I mean literally.
When the words won’t come, when the syntax doesn’t feel right,
when I just can’t figure out what angle to take on a column,
I’ll often go for a good hard run."
Next to his article was another by Fred Pearce, As Longevity Grows, The World Might Become A Better Place. His article explained how the world’s population was aging and that maybe we might become an older and wiser planet. Good thoughts, but thoughts that also circled back to writing.
During the disco era, I wondered what had happened to my generation. Where were all those cool hippies I used to know? Had they traded in their jeans and tie-dyed cotton tee shirts for polyester lounge suits and swirl dresses? Even the inner fighting Rolling Stones didn’t pull out of the era until grunge started soiling eighties pop. Finding books to read was a problem. I relied on those written by old hippies or nonfiction. I married, found other women with children and socialized with neighbors, but never found the collective consciousness of my youth.
In the last few years after I starting writing with purpose, I finally found my generation in local writing groups and on the Internet writing groups. We increase brainpower by improving the effectiveness of our writing, conjuring complex plots, understanding the emotions of our characters for motivation and creating multidimensional novels. The process of writing makes us wise because we aren’t stagnating, watching TV or letting our minds go into the dry rot of aging. We synthesize news articles and bits and pieces of our lives to create fictional worlds.
I found my generation just in time, ready to face aging with wisdom and work. Some of my favorite authors didn’t write until they were older and those who wrote most of their lives continued until they died. I could name literally hundreds of examples and they were all people who I admire. It was recently pointed out to me that F. Scott Fitzgerald was never published in his lifetime. Our unpublished peer group is awesome!
If we writers continue to write and to exercise maybe Pearce’s upbeat attitude toward our aging world-wide population could be more than just wishful thinking.
To read both articles on-line go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/health/
WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Sasscer Hill on 5/18 and Carolyn Mulford on 5/25. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.