I told you last blog I'd just finished my tenth novel. That's what I thought. I don't know how this happened, but I checked, doubled checked and re-checked and it looks like I just finished my ninth novel! What's the big deal, you may ask? I thought I hit double figures! Now, I have to write a sequel or something to get the big one zero.
Finishing a project (because that's what everyone calls them - books, screenplays, poems, leaky toilets) is always really satisfying. Looking back on the blank pages now full of electronic ink is a big exhale right down to the bones. I like to take a day or so to soak it in before I start scrubbing the waste out of it. Well, the soaking on this one was over a while ago and I just finished the last scrub. Ain't that another big ol' exhale?
I may have mentioned a friend of mine who writes novels and can't wait to type "The End" everytime. I suppose there's value in driving toward the finishing line. But, like everything in life, myopic focus on the finish often overlooks the joy of the journey. I like seeing my progress at the end of the day, even if it's frustrating, infuriating or exasperating.
As I was re-re-reading I started to feel closer to the story, the characters. Almost as if they were alive somehow. I guess for me, they are. I hope their real-ness is meaningful. I also hope the reader feels the same way, though I have no control over that.
When I look at the printed pages overstuffed into a binder I think of Colm Doherty and the new thing he left the world when he wrote his song. Regardless the number of novels out there, published and unpublished, a new thing entered my little corner of the world. And that feels pretty good. My favorite readers will read it and let me know what they think. On that day I may or may not feel pretty good. But it must be done. An unread book is a phantom floating around like an apparition. A read book is something else. Something worthwhile. Real.
I like real things.
On to recent events. I served on a jury over the last week or so. Pretty fascinating stuff I hope never to have to do again.
We heard the case over the course of five days (separated by a weekend) and it was just like on t.v., except the stakes were waaaay lower. No bolting attorney's, no indignant judges, no caught out witnesses. Just insurance fraud and bureaucratic maneuvering. All very interesting. The really interesting part happened in the jury room where all fourteen of us (yes, fourteen. Two alternates) went back and forth about the exhibits, testimony, competency, believe-ability and all the intangibles of communication. We found the guy not guilty, mostly for lack of evidence. Interesting we could make that finding while still harboring doubt about the guy's own testimony. But, hey, life in America, right?
September 15, 2023 and the strikes continue. WGA is still at the table, I think. SAGAFTRA is still righteously indignant, I'm sure. And actors and writers are still walking the picket lines. I hope I have more positive news next blog.