Something slapped me in the face a few days ago, and it took me a while to figure out what it was – no, I am still figuring it out. Maybe writing down my thoughts will help.
Well, one obvious thing is that I have not been working on my writing enough. I have been (contrary to copious advice) obsessing over my blog stats and the miniscule sales figures of my print and electronic short story collection and individual short stories. I intend to rectify that situation. I am preparing the memoir of my time on the road in the mid-70s for publication, and I hope it will be ready in a month or two. It’s not just a travelogue; it’s a radical piece of writing documenting my thoughts as I courted danger and diversity for the sake of art. Afterwards, there will be another short story collection, at least by summer I hope – possibly sooner. And then, we shall see.
One problem is that I have been equating sales numbers with quality. That doesn’t work. There are too many stories of great writers who were unknown in their lifetimes, or only became known near the end of their lives. I am not saying that I am great. But I am unique.
That’s another thing. Because I have not sold much or become well-known I have considered myself a fledgling. But it isn’t true. I have paid my dues. I have traveled the world and have put myself into bizarre situations, to say the least, for the sake of my art. I started writing back in the early seventies, and though there was a large gap in time during a very confusing period in my life, I have been back at the keyboard for fifteen years or so. I am not a neophyte.
Of course, I am not a success either, and that’s part of what bothers me, but it shouldn’t. Success matters little in the pursuit of truth. I’m not after quantity but quality, but I have so much I want to say that quantity shouldn’t be a problem either.
So what slapped me in the face? A reality check that said: get busy. I do have a lot to say, and less time than most. I think about my mortality often, something I am fairly sure that younger writers do not do. So be it. It’s another prod to spur me onward. I will not make any empty promises such as New Year’s resolutions, but I will get busy. Now. Today. And every day possible. Stay tuned.