TRYING TO FIND MY WRITING MIND
Even now I am practicing. I am looking for my writing mind, searching for the one thought that will begin this post. I am trying to plant thoughts, grow thoughts, cultivate thoughts and produce a post. But that is getting ahead of myself. I just want one sentence. Hell, I’ll settle for a phrase, a name, the name of a place. All this would be easy enough to do if I went looking for it out there with a click or two. But then that’s someone else trying to get at my unique writing mind. I don’t need that, nor do I want it. So, I take another sip of my coffee and wait for my subconscious mind to send this post to me, then to you. When that happens, this post may not perfect, but it will be mine. It will be original.
Writing Back outta the world
Why it this relevant? Because, I have just finished my second novel, Back outta the World. I am intentionally giving myself a week or so to honor myself, to congratulate myself. I once read that it is way too prevalent in this country to ask someone who has just achieved something remarkable, such as high school or college graduation, to ask them “What’s next?” Consequently, I have tried to make it a practice instead to say to the achiever, “That was quite an accomplishment” or “It must have taken quite a lot of work.”
Of course, being human, we are most often extremely hard on ourselves. I am no exception. If my life is a kitchen, then I am my own hangry Gordon Ramsey peering into the fridge and seeing blood from his onglet steaks dripping on the radicchio. It was with some difficulty then that I was taking this week to say to my writing mind, “Well done on the novel. You did it. You must feel proud of yourself.“
As the week went on, in spite of my opposing intentions, I observed myself thinking about what to do next with Back outta the World. I have to find an editor and cover artist, start social media marketing, decide on genre to place it in. Those of just some of the steps taken with Tripio. I have done them before. I was able to let my writing mind process most of those thoughts away. And yet, I was still observing my next project, my “what next?” making itself at home in my subconscious mind. I could not just shut the fridge door and walk away.
The Writing Mind for Ironjaws
I had written ‘Ironjaws” so long ago I could hardly remember much about it. I had not even opened the file for about 5 years. It is a novella in length and the next work of mine I’m planning on getting published. My plan all along was to begin to work on it after BotW was up and selling. Towards the end of my week of trying to shut out the “what next?” I gave up on that plan and read Ironjaws and laughed out loud several times.
I decided then and there to apply a lighter touch to Ironjaws, to attempt to add a even more laughs to it. Ironjaws is the story 5 boys on a fishing trip the last weekend before 8th grade school year starts. Once at the lake they have a chance encounter with “a man in red baseball hat”, who tells them of a fish who lives in the lake named Ironjaws. This fish has hundreds of rusty hooks in its mouth and stomach because it’s “too big and mean to be caught.” I couldn’t wait to start working on it. I knew that I really should be doing more practical things on social media, Amazon etc. but it was too late at that point. I had started mentally began to write Ironjaws.
“The follies of our youth…“
One thing I remembered after reading Ironjaws for the first time in 5 years was that I didn’t like the very first line. I needed a different line to open the story. A line that would capture the excitement of being at a fishing trip with your friends just before you start the school year again. Where would I look for such a thing? In my own mind of course. I thought of a line attributed to Chesterton. I found it via a Monty Python skit, so don’t think I am that well read. It is, ‘The follies of our youth stand in glorious contrast to those of our old age.” That will be in Ironjaws somewhere certainly. If in spirit only because this group of 8th graders would not be working Chesterton into any of their conversations during this fishing trip, unless that is, he wrote jokes for Playboy.
But thankfully that one thought I thought of become another. It was a memory of ditty sung by my friends and me a lot during those years caught in Ironjaws. And so Ironjaws will open with Jimmy, or Boxhead as he is nicknamed, looking over the lake, where Ironjaws may indeed live, and chanting “Got a skeeter on my peter, knock it off, knock it off. Got a skeeter on my peter, knock it off, knock it off.”
My own mind did bring me a better opening to Ironjaws with one thought I thought. And I am grateful. Yet, It brings me a new issue with it. Because now I can’t get that damn ditty out of my head.