1) I am severely lacking the amount of confidence necessary to finish CoA. I need a couple of small victories to help boost that confidence, hence the number of side-projects I’m working on.
b) My lit agent is a master at leaving passive-aggressive voicemail messages.
✔︎) I’ve had so much caffeine today that I can taste colors. Whoa.
iv) I suck at ordered lists, apparently.
五) I feel the need to record a reading of something, just for the voice exercise, but I have no idea what to use as source material. I was thinking one of my own stories from the Ministry of Apostrophes, but meh, I dunno.
I am terrible at living in the moment.
It’s urgent that I get better at that.
After sitting here for six straight hours feeling my fingers move instinctively over the chicklet keys and watching black pixels assemble themselves into letters on a display, I have little choice but to feel that I have become completely and utterly disconnected from my writing voice.
It’s not a sudden or knee-jerk conclusion; it’s been building for a short while. And it’s not to say that I’ve lost my voice entirely, only… forgotten it, in a manner of speaking.
I’ve read the words and sentences as they’ve spilled out and then re-read them and it’s all so unfamiliar. The syntax, the beats, the grammatical tics. All of it sounds natural but it’s not of my making. It’s a difficult sensation to describe, but I would say it’s akin to that odd and alarmingly detached feeling of depersonalization, if you’ve ever experienced it, which I’m sure you have.
My voice will come back. It always does. But in the meantime, I am writing someone else’s words, and I don’t like them.
I was the smallest guy on my college lacrosse team. Shocker, right?
Anyway, in my freshman season, my coach said to me, “You’re going to get flattened by the big guys ten times every game. But so what. You’re also going to beat them to the ball twenty times every game because you’re quicker. Agility trumps size.” (emphasis mine)
I normally hate sports metaphors, but I still think that holds up as a great piece of advice about life in general.
I’m taking a sabbatical of sorts; I’ve left my job at the museum to go back to writing full time.
Some interesting things are in the works for Children of Abraham, including a short film tie-in, but it’s just not going to get finished and get sold unless I take a few months to devote myself to it entirely (to the utter delight of my agent). I also have a young adult novella in progress and a couple of other paying gigs that I can’t talk about just yet.
It’s a much longer story than all of this, obviously, and it’s a bit scary to go back into the writing life that I put on hold a couple of years ago. But it’s where I belong, it’s what I do best, and it’s where I am happiest and most fulfilled. And in all honesty, happiness and fulfillment have not been a part of my life for a very long time.
So, dear followers, I hope you won’t mind that I will now start clogging your dashboard with story bits and CoA teasers and other writerly things. I’ve got lots of work to do, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
Last spring, several cans of aging nitrate motion picture film arrived at the film archive where I work, shipped from Italy, where they had been discovered in a warehouse in the port city of Pordenone.
The film was Too Much Johnson, an uncompleted work print of Orson Welles’ first “professional” film, unseen since it was shot in 1938 and long thought lost.
I had the privilege over the next several months of overseeing the restoration of this film, which had its North American premiere tonight. I gave commentary at a podium during the film along with my curator and preservation staff (in addition to having spent my entire day giving interviews to CBS, NBC, and two documentary crews). Hence the shameless selfies of me actually wearing grownup clothes.
Being responsible for the preservation of this work, while keeping it a complete secret all the while, has been equal parts exhilarating, terrifying, and exhausting. I could (and likely will) write a long-ish piece about all of the effort that went into this project, because people need to understand why film preservation is important, and not just for “lost” films of legendary directors.
All of this is to say that I realized tonight how amazingly, stupendously lucky I am to do what do. I believe in it. I evangelize it. Lots of people would murder puppies to have my job.
And yet, I stood there in that packed theatre earlier tonight, having shared this amazing work with an audience, and having been applauded and recognized for what I’d had a primary role in bringing to fruition.
It was at that moment, for some reason, I realized how much I miss my writing life.
Writing is what I do. It’s who I am. I miss it. And it’s calling me back.
I’m not quite sure what to do with that realization.