Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

I never did get to Castroville Tuesday; or yesterday, either. I'm still deciding whether I can go today. The reasons I didn't, a different one for each day, should be done with, but they lurk at the back of my morning. Either could rear up and cut me off at any time. Sometime in the next half-hour I'll have to make a commitment, either to staying or to going, and I'm in suspense to see which it will be. If I don't go to Castroville I'll either draft a query or spend all day helping somebody move, unless the world starts spinning, in which case all bets are off.

I quit the soul-sucking day job ostensibly to have control of my own time, but of course I don't. Nobody does. A friend needed help on Tuesday - I cannot control when my friends need help. I can, and on occasion do, say no to them; but if you only say yes to someone when it's convenient, and never volunteer without being asked, that person isn't your friend in any sense I recognize. Health stuff happened yesterday. If I could control health stuff, I'd eliminate it from my life entirely.

Making schedules and plans never works for me long-term. I can't even outline a novel properly. I make lists of events that have to happen to get from the situation at the beginning to the ending I envision - I don't start writing till I have an ending - and I write from one to the next. I usually need three scenes to set up and react to each item on the list; more than that, I'm overwriting and putting in too much detail, less and the story logic breaks down. But sometimes by scene I mean scene and sometimes by scene I mean chapter. I think it's like surfing or horseback riding (not that I ever do either). You can pick your wave but you can't control it; you can guide your horse but in rough terrain or a fog you'd be a fool to try. Wave or horse or story - you have to trust them to carry you, or you're coming off.

I could go on for a long time about how the harder you try to control your life or the people around you or the work you do, the less of what you want you're going to get. I could even get off on a rant about how that's what makes a day job soul-sucking and how the more rules a business has the lower the quality of work done. But I need to put my lunch together as if I'm taking it to Castroville and after that I think I'll know whether I'm going or not, so take all that as read.

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