Sunday, May 16, 2010

Splat

I'm writing this as the Tigers and Red Sox go into the 13th inning and as you read this tomorrow Spenser and I will be watching the finale of that series live. This whole week I've been trying to put the thoughts in my head together to write something about why baseball seems to be a more literary sport than any of the others. There's been some great novels, and short stories, and anthologies (and lots of films) about baseball, and much of the best sports non-fiction has the old bats and balls as it's subject. But the thoughts never gelled and its a subject I thought deserved more than my last minute ramblings. Which got me thinking about walking the tightrope as a writer.

You can call it procrastination, and I'll freely admit its' one of my great weaknesses in writing and in life, but man, I've pulled some great stuff out at the last minute and, as tonight, when I try and put something together over time it more often than night dies on the vice. So you're all kind of like the audience at a trapeze show. Sometimes you get death defying antics and last minute flashes of greatness, but once in while you witness a guy choking and hitting the ground.

So let me open it up for comments. What's your tight rope? Is there an area in your writing or in your life where you always seem to be running on the edge of failure but can also pull out some good stuff?

P.S. (Go Brennan Bosch)

1 comment:

Scott Parker said...

As my column from last week indicated, I've been languishing for awhile, much to the chagrin of my fellow collaborator. In my writing life, my tightrope is, basically, my lack of trust in myself, the truth faith that I can write and, when push comes to shove, right well. I'll use an example not to toot my own horn but merely to illustrate my point. Last year, I attended a SF conference here in Houston. I joined the writing group but, come the day before the deadline for submission, I was hamstrung as to what to write. It had to be SF so I couldn't submit a mystery. I had a vague idea as to a plot and, with only the last evening to write, I banged out a first chapter and submitted it. The chapter was self-contained but I figured it needed loads more work and, frankly, how good could a spell-checked-only thing be. The leader of the group, a published author herself, thought it was the best of the bunch and, with tweaks, worthy of publication. It unmoored me rather than motivated me. How friggin stupid is that?

These past weeks, I've also felt unmoored, listless. Part of my problem is that I want to write too many different things. Thus, I have been putting myself through "counciling" via my writing journals. And I've been doing it longhand. I've tried to analyze what the hell happened to me after a brilliant start to the writing year. I'm still not 100% but I've given myself some "doctor's orders" that have roots in my experience from last year. Write One Thing. Now. To that end, I've put my foot on the tightrope. There is no net. I need to find the faith that I'll make it across.