I'm continually surprised by the overt correlation between mental motivation / inspiration and physical activity / health.
This morning's workout:
Decided to let YouTube take care of the playlist for once. (The workout "room" is adjacent to the movie "room" so, fortunately, this is possible.) Was going great. Audio AND visual motivation. Really getting into a grove ... until ...
"Sexy and I Know It" comes on in 105" of bright, gleaming glory.
Belly laughter greatly inhibits all forms of workout. Especially tread-milling.
The stuffy confines of the El Dorado smelled strongly of Camel filter-less cigarettes and Taco Bell extra-spicy tacos. He should probably crack a window, but Harry found the warm pungency familiar. Soothing even. And the quiet comfort was the only thing keeping the grey matter in Harry’s skull from oozing out his ears. That, and the old Peter Green tune playing quietly on Bessy’s radio.
The song was one of the musician’s lesser-known early numbers that predated his Fleetwood Mac days, and the fingers of Harry’s right hand instinctively plucked air in perfect time with the warbling guitar notes that stretched and retracted like warm taffy.
There were only two medications that had the least affect on the constant throbbing in his frontal lobe. And because the whiskey bottle had run dry two hours before, the music was currently the only treatment option at his disposal.
Harry let the blues seep into his pores and managed to relax his neck muscles enough to allow his eyelids to slide shut when a sharp rap sounded on the passenger window. Harry’s index finger went from picking out an imaginary ‘e’ sharp to caressing the smooth, cool metal of the .38s trigger without any conscious decision on his part.
Eric and I were abducted by aliens.
Not your typical aliens, however. These aliens spoke perfect English, enjoyed fine brandy and cigars after dinner and exhibited surprisingly polite behavior. Except for the experiments. Those were slightly less than courteous.
Long story short – we have been returned. Intact. Mostly.
Although, Eric does now go by the name, Zimmerman Pike, typically sports robin’s-egg-blue tuxedo jackets with oddly-shaped fur hats and habitually repeats the phrase “that’s what she said” on an endless loop (which, honestly, is fairly distracting while trying to carry on mundane conversation). I’m not sure if he writes much anymore. Probably more so than I.
I seem to have survived the ordeal with minimal damage. The red hair is redder, the white skin whiter and I see someone else’s face when I look in the mirror. (I'm confident that last is only temporary.) The strangest outcome seems to be the fact that I’m unable to put two cohesive words together without a snifter close at hand and the haze of Cohiba Behike smoke in the air.
Considering a cigar of that caliber fetches $450 a pop, I don’t write much.
Today is a sad day.
Death, in and of itself, is a sobering thing to witness. It automatically brings to mind mortality issues such as meaning, amount and quality of life. When death hits close to home, these questions become personally connected and emotionally touching. The theoretical solidifies and is suddenly applied in a tangible way. But suicide is something different entirely.
We learned this morning that a friend and neighbor had taken his own life. The news was especially shocking considering he seemed, by all accounts, to be content and secure in life. But, basically, I’m deeply saddened to realize that he had reached a depth of despair from which he saw no salvation.
Our friend touched many lives, and he did so by simply being himself and portraying it honestly (for the most part) to others – a trait I envy.
I’m continually frustrated with the lack of true relationship between humans. We seem to daily, hourly, momentarily choose falsehood of some form or fashion over truth in its barest form. (Really, anything less than purest truth is a lie, yes?) As a result of this bitter frustration, I form a defense by choosing emotional isolation over false relationship. This works in the short term. I’m well guarded against false interaction offered under the guise of friendship, relationship or family.
But the most obvious catch, the chink in this well-constructed armor, is the fact that I have essentially eliminated all possibility of true relationship in the process. Our friend’s suicide is glaring evidence of a relationship failure, even if the failure itself is obscure. In the end, did my friend fail to offer up his true self or did I fail to offer mine? Sadly, I’m left to wonder indefinitely.
When my main project stumps me, I resort to the easy stuff. Another short to break through the writer's block. P.I. HARRY LYMANEpisode 1, Part 2 Harry’s part-time assistant – slash – wannabe model – slash – jail sentence waiting to happen was pushing through his office door as he was leaving. Despite the bad bleach job, the fabulous boob job and the terribly misguided ideals, Jill was a good kid and a decent receptionist. “Going out?” she asked, dropping a gigantic gold purse on her desk as she passed. “New case,” Harry said, shrugging into his favorite Padres jacket. “Good. We need the money.” Harry growled something incoherent. “Not good?” Jill asked, snapping her gum as she flipped through the files in her inbox. “No. Not good. The opposite of good.” She shot him a questioning look with two perfectly drawn eyebrows. “Jo roped me into helping with a political case,” Harry explained and patted his jacket pockets until he was satisfied they contained at least two cigarette lighters. READ MORE of Part 2 CLICK HERE for Part 1
“Hi, my name is Hilary and I have Point Of View Syndrome.” I understand the general idea:
Yet, the red scribble I receive most often includes the three dreaded letters: P.O.V. First person is easy, but I rarely use it. This blog, having only been around a few short months, has already gotten more 'I's, 'me's and 'my's out of me than the remainder of my writing years combined. Only two characters have spoken to me in first person. They are my recurring short story characters. Not much use in a novel. So, my condition persists. And I’m beginning to fear it’s terminal.
- first, second or third person
- pick one
- stick with it
- maintain consistent verb tense
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya
Every project requires three things: means, motivation and commitment. Without the first two I simply discount the notion of beginning the project in the first place. But, if I decide that means and motivation are in sufficient supply, I consider the level of commitment required to complete the task, usually decide it’s something I can easily handle, and plow full-steam ahead.
I’m always wrong.
I present my most recent project as evidence.
I could easily fill five pages lamenting the physical, mental, financial and spiritual strain our kitchen remodel project has placed on us. I could tell you how a six month project became a four year nightmare. I could elicit your sympathy by detailing the heartbreaking and terrifying result of enduring a situation that seems utterly untenable. I could even go so far as to say that year two of kitchen-less-ness brought with it a profound doubt in my ability to complete anything – let alone the expansive home remodel I’d decided to embark upon.
But I won’t. I’ll keep this short.
Just know that, although I was incredibly mistaken in my projection, I did complete the task I’d set out to. And it only took 800% more commitment than I’d anticipated.
Now, if only novel completion were that easy!
KITCHEN - BEFORE
KITCHEN - AFTER
More pics on my Facebook Page - Facebook.com/HilaryThomasAuthor
When I woke this morning, happy and chipper for the first time in weeks, my vision of the day ahead was instantly clear. I donned my most comfortable robe (if you’ve ever been on a Carnival Cruise – you know the one), cooked up a hearty breakfast (which I usually bypass for coffee alone), marched to my writing office doors and pulled them open with a flourish. I was back! I was ready to write!
The grimace-inducing odor of stale moth balls wafted out, stopping me in my tracks. The puzzling fact that I have never used a single moth ball in my house was overridden by a parallel truth more pertinent to the task at hand. I hadn’t sat down at a computer to write in over three weeks. My writing juices had turned sour.
This happens to me about twice a year – usually in spring and fall when no indoor task can hold luster against the prospect of frolicking outside with the plants and animals (i.e. my newest acquisitions: a perennial flower bed, two cows and a donkey – yes, I own an ass – jokes are allowed).
But, the break usually affords me a renewed perspective on writing and tends to be a benefit … despite the lack of words on paper … and the odd odor.
So, I'm just wrapping up my version of "Spring Break" which, for me, means taking a break from writing to accomplish all the domestic spring projects around the house. I've surpassed my usual 2 weeks by a bit due to self-inflicted injury (i.e. pruning shears incident and brush fire episode) but, we'll leave those stories for another day.
Getting back in the swing of things means resuming my face time on Twitter. In doing so I've met up with a few fellow authors that hold the prestigious (and precarious) title of co-author. I've created a support group. If you're a co-author, you understand the potential benefit there.
Because hump day is "Writer Wednesday" in Twitterverse, we're going to attempt our first live Twitter chat this Wednesday, March 28th at 8PM EST. Feel free to stop in and share trials, tribulations and testimonials regarding the insanity that is co-authoring a novel.
Contact us @split_fiction and include the #coauthoring hash tag. See you there!
Open the blinds
Adjust thermostat to 69 degrees
Coffee steaming beside the laptop
Take a sip – needs more cream – back to the kitchen – perfect
Swivel in the desk chair for a few minutes – sipping turns to chugging
Run through a list of my characters – Which one feels natural today? – talk to me, talk to me
Start up Pandora and stuff in ear buds
C+C Music Factory blares – How did it get on that channel?
Switch channels – no productive writing comes from ♫ things that make you go hmmmm ♫
Adele ♫ the scars of our love, remind me of us ♫
Switch channels again – no one’s breaking up today, thank goodness
Creed ♫ maybe six feet ain’t so far down ♫
Switch channels yet again – no one’s slitting their wrists today either
Getting frustrated – my main character’s soundtrack (♫ you see into my eyes like open doors ♫ by Evanescence) isn’t working for me today – already tried that
Staind ♫ all the times, I’m on the outside ♫
This could work – secondary character, male, early thirties, badass, not my favorite but essential
Shinedown ♫ it’s 4:03 and I can’t sleep ♫ - my character is on the run, comes up with some witty lines – barely registering the music now
It occurs to me that I’ve let the playlist slip – Alice in Chains ♫ like the coldest winter chill, heaven beside you ♫
Change the channel – too late – my character’s lost focus, killed someone he didn’t need to – getting messy
Time for a break – head to the kitchen – make some bacon
Change the channel again – do a little dance with the spatula – ♫ give me the music, yeah, everybody dance now ♫ …
… and realize how C+C Music Factory gets left on my Pandora playlist. But that’s the beauty of ear buds. No one will ever know.