Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ringing In the New Year

My, oh my, isn’t 2018 clocking along! It’s the 10th of January; half the year’s gone already!

With the shitstorm that was 2017 behind us, we have to hope that 2018 gets better, and not fall into the trap of thinking, “Well, it can’t get any worse.” I fear it can, what with Britain tripping over its own feet in the race to become a Third World nation, and the US careening headlong toward their goal of becoming a Banana Republic. Given that, the only thing left for us (you know, the people who aren’t responsible for the mess, but who have to suffer the consequences) is to try our best to make 2018 a good year for ourselves, on a personal level.

(You could, of course, become an activist and work to make things better on a global level, and, frankly, I hope you do, because I can’t; that’s not in my skill-set.)

Those things that I, personally, am working on to, personally, make my life a little better (or at least help me, personally, while away the hours in an agreeable manner) are, personally, getting off to an optimistic start. Unlike the wider world.

I’m afraid I need to back-track a bit here. Some time ago, something came into my life that gently altered it very much for the better: I got a shed.

It’s not actually my shed, it belongs to my mother-in-law, but I talked her into buying it to replace the old one, which was rotting away. The new one is bigger, and pretty much my domain.

It’s nowhere near as big—or as kitted out—as my dad’s shop, which was about half the size of our house, but I make do, and I have already built a number of things in it, the first being the workbench.

I wired it up with electric; it has a heater, and a kettle.
Naturally, I can only work in the shed when I’m at my MIL’s house, but I’m there often enough that I can make steady progress on my projects, and enjoy the nostalgic ambiance of making things out of wood. The scents of sawdust, varnish and pipe smoke (yeah, it’s my shed, I can smoke in it if I want to) all bring me back to the days of watching my dad working in his shop, and it is so gratifying to be following that tradition, even if I’m nowhere near as good.

The choirs are starting up next week. I have no idea how well that is going to go, but I do have hopes.

And my writing has taken an interesting turn.

I’ve written a few times about what I have been working on for the past five years -- the 8-book fantasy-adventure series for my grandsons. I also wrote about how, even though I am retired, I spend most of my time NOT writing, and earlier this year, I even posted about how I no longer consider myself to be a real writer.

I didn’t really think much more about that, or make any momentous decisions, but over the past few weeks it has occurred to me that, right now—despite labelling myself as a non-writer—I am being more consistently productive in my writing than ever before. I have finished Book V and am now working on the truncated, children’s book to send to my G-boys (as a belated Christmas gift), and am looking forward to starting Book VI. My alarm goes off every morning at 5 AM and I almost always get 1,000 words written before 8.

I don’t recall any resolutions to pull this off (or any more than the normal amount of resolutions) but, over the past few months, this has become an ingrained habit, one that I hope will carry on into the new year, and beyond.

I also had an epiphany about the series, and some welcomed information from my son. I had a bit of trouble with this year’s book, and realized I wouldn’t get the boys’ version of the book to them by Christmas. This didn’t worry me because, as I have written several times, I didn’t think they cared about them. This was, of course, due to me dropping pebbles down the well but never hearing the splash. When I told my son I wasn’t tossing a pebble in this year, however, he told me the boys would be disappointed because they look forward to the books and really like them.

Who knew?

This gave me renewed enthusiasm and some clarity on what I am trying to accomplish, which led to what I hope is the final resolution about what I am going to do with the books once I finish them. Right now, they are all rough drafts, nothing more than five individual piles of words that need to be hammered into coherent stories, but I am now far enough into the series that I feel confident enough to begin that process. And I have decided that the books will be, to the best of my ability, straight-up fantasy-adventure stories fit for publication, or, at least, self-publication.

Me, at work on my books.
(In case you haven't figured it out, this is a staged photo.)
Writing 1,000 words a day has not only helped move these stories forward, it has also spurred my Patriarch Diaries on. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the essays I have written are far too long to post here. “Television” pushed the blog-length limit at 1,500 words, and I am now working on one about cars that is 2,000 words and counting. So, the good news is, my Patriarch Diaries are shaping up, and the good news is, I probably won’t be posting them here.

In short, my writing is going as well as it ever has, the choirs (fingers crossed) are on track, and I’m enjoying working in my shed. What else could I want?

And for my next trick.
Well, to play the piano, for one, and I have decided that 2018 is the year I learn to do it.

I’d better get busy, the year’s half gone already!

1 comment:

  1. I need to go and lie down after reading that!