Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Valentines Day

An old lover, a flame from the past, memories. A touch so familiar, a well of emotion long forgotten. Yeah, I know my wife is going to read this, don’t worry.

Today has been quite a day. My youngest had his birthday party and 10 seven-year-olds were initiated as Pokemon trainers on a concrete parking lot in West Berkeley. My wife and I got to spend some quality time together, and a chick-flick and wine await us as the kids settle down.

But something else happened. Somewhere between cleaning the dishes from supper and putting the boys to bed. Something special, something vibrant and exhilarating.

I finished writing Unwanted Heroes last April, ten months ago. Since then, Oilspill dotcom was published and promoted, and Heroes is going through endless editing. Ten months…

Ten months since I sat opposite a blank page (well word document to be precise) and let the story flow. I have been worried that I might not be able to get back in the groove. I’m told it’s like that for every writer. Full-time authors split their day between promotion of what is published, editing what is completed, and writing something new. They never want to run the risk of not having that unchecked creative flow.

But for the vast majority of us, writers who hold down a full-time job, support their partners and families, and who consider themselves lucky to carve out an hour or two a day, there is no way we can fulfill all three of these tasks.

Especially writing something new. When I wrote Heroes, I wrote 80,000 words in three months. I wrote every day, didn’t go to the gym, didn’t watch my favorite TV shows. Oilspill dotcom was at the publishers and I just had to respond to questions and decisions. I did nothing but focus on writing Heroes and it was EXHILARATING!

I never wavered. The book just wrote itself, spewed out of me (excuse the artistic verb, but it’s accurate), in less than a hundred days.

This evening, Valentines Day, in less than an hour, I wrote my prologue and first chapter. First draft, extremely rough, but I am feeling that high again. Tomorrow is Presidents Day. I am home with my boys, but I’ll get 90 minutes before my wife goes to work to slink off to a café and write. Hopefully Chapter Two.

Happy Valentines Day to those of you with a loved one, a soon-to-be loved one, or a story waiting to be told.

Good Writing,

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