Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book 'em, Donno

"You know what Don? Across the board you are an A+ to me so don't worry about all the other stuff, Love You, Sandy"

My sister-in-law Sandy Wigg may be the sweetest person I know. When I was giving myself F's yesterday for not doing things I set as goals, she wrote back with that comment. OK, here's the payback, Sandy. If I ever do get around to writing a poem, I will make sure you're in it. And given how easy it is to rhyme your name, I promise not to write a limerick!

As it is, I have used Sandy's maiden and married names in my novel to create the ad agency Dyer & Wigg. I like the sound of it, even though it would automatically become D&W in the real world.

Which is a long, rambling way to avoid today's topic, grading myself on my third set of retirement goals. However it is really hard to do at this stage because these were long-term book writing projects, and I wouldn't expect to have finished any of them yet. So I guess this report will be about the early stages of the projects.

On August 25 I wrote about five books I might try to write.

They were:

1. The Cracks in the World, a travel book inspired by Simon Winchester, checking out the places with major fault lines, volcanoes, etc

PROGRESS: We're going to Yellowstone to check out the Super Volcano site in a couple of months. It's a beginning. Give this a tick.

2. Teachers, a book about how we can get and keep good teachers

PROGRESS: Don't like the idea as a book any more. Love the topic, but it sounds more like a magazine article than a book. No tick for this one.

3. Cousins, a book about the 50+ first cousins I have

PROGRESS: When I am home I will try to at least get most of my cousins into some sort of communication through the web. Half a tick.

4. A True Crime book, subject to be determined

PROGRESS: Why bother? Throwing this one away

5. A Facebook mystery, where there is no plotline as such, but you can figure out what's going on by drilling down through the Facebook pages of dozens of people.

PROGRESS: Haven't given it a thought since August. Still sounds like fun, but no tick here.

While on this writing thing, though, I have surprised myself by starting work on a novel. I hadn't even thought of writing fiction since I was in my 30s, so this has surprised me. I am discovering that it is a lot harder than I thought and progress is slow. It seems that I spend much more time rewriting than writing, and I have discarded days and days of work when I decided to move in another direction. (Mind you, my retirement definition of a day's work is a couple of hours.)

This need to keep reworking the first chapter is either Nature's way of telling me not to write a novel, or my way of treading literary water. Anyhow, I am pretty comfortable with the first chapter now, and if you want to read it, I am posting it here for a week or so. I should tell you that the language is as bad as The Sopranos but not as bad as Deadwood, so if the f-word bothers you don't read it.

I will shut down the blog with the novel in a week or so because I don't think I could stand the idea of having to actually produce something regularly and on schedule. But I am showing it to put enough pressure on me to keep going at it.

And to show that I have been doing something other than Wii Fit and toaster repair.

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