On the Weight of the World

Back in August of ’16, I was pretty dismayed and distracted by the state of the world. Little did I know how much worse it would get. The amount of programming and control ideologies in Americans is staggering. The corruption in the Senate is at a historical high, revealed in the way the impeachment “trial” of the president was managed. Democracy is in a brittle state, crumbling with every new revelation brought on by this administration and GOP-led senate. I have kids and soon, grandkids. I care about the future they face.

It’s still very difficult to get creative with fiction when real life is so dire. I want to inject meaningful messages in my writing, but I find it hard to even get in the mood to write. This pervasive, mood-altering awareness of the historical implications of today’s American politics is like a blanket, smothering the muse. I simply have to be more disciplined, more open to the vision of story as a means to convey the meaning I seek to impart.

In my WIP, there is an overarching, powerful secret organization running its own game on Earth (and in space), making its own rules, disregarding conventional law and government rule. The discovery of this organization by the protagonists leads them on a quest to a.) survive, and b.) reveal the truth to the masses (expose the organization and its tech). This model of story is exactly what I see/feel needs to happen in our country/world. There are beyond-wealthy types manipulating the world to meet their goals – have been for decades, probably centuries. They are using wars and inequitable economic methodologies to harvest wealth from the planet. Greed is the driving force. Lack of morals and ethics compound the situation.

I’ve often wondered, “Why is it that the least moral, least ethical humans end up with so much wealth and power?” Part of the answer seems basic: because they act like animals – tearing into the flesh of anything they find useful to their cause. They disregard principles and values that are otherwise the foundation for civilized society (and indeed are what the majority adhere to in order to keep life civilized).

What would happen if the majority starting acting like these uber-wealthy types? I’ll tell you. Chaos would ensue. Civilization would collapse under the weight of a population that steals, kills, and subjugates anyone they can. Mad Max in real life.

Anyway, I digress. My desire is to use my story to illustrate the passion and character it takes to face overwhelming odds, to take on established, powerful forces in order to restore balance and justice to a world. That has to be the motivation to get my writing done. Some tie to the real world that could make a statement while still being engaging and entertaining to read.

Technically, I’m working on outlining the remainder of the story. This is in itself an art/skill, one requiring every bit of creativity as free writing from the hip. The benefit to outlining is that once done, the speed bumps are removed to the actual writing. You know what must be written, so the writing gets done – opening the way to editing (the real polish to any work).

Enough jabbering. Back to outlining.

The stirring…

The dream is stirring, coloring my waking life with the urge to create, to write, to revisit the world of Starshine. That world is asking to be discovered, wanting to tell me more about the dangers, the characters, and the surprises in store… it wants me to pay attention to it again and record what happens there. It wants to be found again.

Time is passing so quickly now. In a little over a year, I’ll be half a century old with maybe 20 or 30 years left, if I’m lucky. I’m having to ask myself, where do I want to be as a writer in 2 years? In 5? In 10? The answer is simple: much further along than I am now. Much.

That means I must pay attention. To the stirring. To the calling of a world I birthed and left frozen in time. I must direct my mind and soul’s efforts to writing. I have to write. And so I’m making room again for it. I want to see what real effort does for the world of Starshine, but also for my world. The future, I suspect, has them entwined in most interesting ways.

The Dream?

Riding quads w/my babe – part of the dream

The dream was… to become a novelist. A working novelist – writing and editing and marketing and maybe getting picked up one day by a house. But a dream needs a plan, and a plan needs execution, and execution takes time and effort, and time and effort take dedication. That’s what my dream lacks.

Or at least what that dream lacks. I’m living my overall dream – of life. Being practical, working in IT, enjoying time with my girlfriend, out doing stuff like quad and moto riding, road trips, shooting pool, and generally having fun. Payin’ the bills, living in the now, making it all work. That’s not a bad dream to be having, believe me. So, has my dream of writing died?

No. I’m acknowledging that the dedication isn’t there because I don’t have the passion to write right now, and without passion there is no need. In that regard, I’m not being practical about achieving my dream. If I really wanted it, I would let myself need it… and I know to do that, I’ll have to set all things aside – all things but the basics (work and sleep). Creating the need means putting the writing at the center of my being, lighting it afire, and focusing on it, immersing in it. I have to need it to come alive before I can engage in a way that will birth the dedication.

And I know that’s not going to happen right now.

They say that we all paint our world, that we create it with our thoughts. So am I painting a restricted mode of thought that prevents me from writing¬†and living my current dreams, too? Why can’t I write during the week and spend the weekend at Sand Mountain riding and partying with friends? Because the week is painted with 9+ hours of IT work, every day. My energy and creativity levels are typically quite low come evening. Mornings are tiny blips between getting out of bed and arriving at work. So the week doesn’t hold much promise.

I’ve read about dedicating just one hour a day to writing. Just one hour. The idea seems “doable” and sparks my interest in theory. But in practice, I too frequently find myself hovering uninspired over the keyboard, feeling the minutes pass dryly without the juice of creativity. The thought, “life is too short” pops in and I postpone the effort for another time.

So for me, creative writing requires a focus and dedication that I can only muster with sacrifice, dramatic isolation, and need. While that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, I sense a future where I am more free to dedicate myself to creating the passion. I’m not sure how far out it is, but something tells me I will write one day, the way I’ve always imagined I would. Until then, I’ll be living the dream this way and loving every moment of it.

And now… 3 years…

I wanted to finish Starshine in three years. Next month, it will be three. I’m at 138 pages, with a target between 180 and 200. The progression of the story itself (where it is at by the 138th page) I’m happy with. I have not outlined to the end… something that I may have to do in order to expedite completion. Relying solely on the midnight muses isn’t working(!)

I’ve spent a lot of the last year working and playing hard. New relationship, adventures, new hobbies, travel, etc. There are a dozen and one other excuses why I haven’t been writing, but they are not worth mentioning. The hard truth is becoming more apparent now – if I want to be a writer, I need to set aside time for writing. Simple: do or do not. Success in writing never comes from wanting it. It comes from doing it.¬†

So we’ll see how much I want it, of course. Time will be the judge, as always.