Hurry, Wait, Hurry, Wait

It’s Monday, and I just realized I forgot to charge my goddamn iPod. As irksome as this is, it won’t drag me away from the topic I wanted to blog about today.  Why?  Because I care, that’s fucking why (the word “fucking” brought to you by irksome iPod situation).

I’ve been publishing prose for six years now.  A lot of that early stuff is pretty rough, but that’s the nature of the game.  We can’t all start out awesome like Laird Barron or Sarah Langan, probably because those two are fucking amazing.  All that is neither here not there, though.  I state it simply to give you some idea of how long I’ve been taking this seriously (hint: six years plus a couple extra) and to clue you in to how little I’ve learned about patience.

See, it’s no secret that a lot of the publishing game is based on a hurry up and wait dynamic.  You crank out a story, invest all kinds of time madly rewriting and polishing, making it shine, and then you send it off and wait a few months to hear anything back.  It’s not a perfect scenario, but it’s the one we have, and I don’t mind it.  No, all the problems I have are on my end.

I’ve said before that I’m a hungry writer.  Every day I’m alive, every word I write, I’m constantly trying to improve both my writing and its visibility.  Now, the key to improving is patience.  If I just burn through my word count every day, I’m more a typist than a writer.  The key is to slow down and really think about the writing, really get into it and work to improve.  That’s why I’m currently re-writing a novel from page one for the third time.

But then there’s the antsy side of my personality, and it’s a huge side.  Its the side that smacks me around every few weeks and tells me I’m not working hard enough.  It keeps me awake at night, running to my writing room to scribble notes for the next day.  It  wakes me up at two in the morning, hungry to get started on the day’s writing, and it drives me crazy by telling me I’m not trying hard enough and that I’ll never amount to anything because of that.  It tells me I’m not doing the right things, and I’m not doing them fast enough.  It wants that book deal NOW.  It does things like writing a novelization of A Trip to Rundberg in under two weeks because a respected press is actively looking for zombie books.

Let’s face facts… that side of my brain is pretty goddamn crazy.

So I find myself constantly walking a tightrope between hurrying and waiting, trying like hell not to fall to one side or the other.  It’s hard.  Sometimes it’s damn near impossible.  It’s the right thing to do, though.  Giving in to the hurry will only make me a hack, and giving in to the wait will only make me lazy.

So it’s forward.  Straight line.  Don’t fall.

Hurry. Wait.

One week later

Well, I can walk without pain, and my foot’s more or less back to its original color.  I’ve received repair estimates from both the garage and my insurance adjuster, and I trust them to figure out the $300 difference between the two.

In the meantime, I’ve been cranking out words.  While I wait for edits to come back on a novella called This Little Light of Mine, I’ve been trying to knock out the third draft of a novel.  My hope is to have it in pitchable shape by the fall.

Sorry I don’t have much today.  I promise to try and come up with something interesting for later in the week.

Hit by a car…

Sadly, that’s not just a clever title.  Friday morning, I really was struck by a car.

Allow me to set the scene…

This past weekend was the Republic of Texas (ROT) Biker Rally.  I was excited to go, as it was my first rally.  On Thursday, I spent most of the day at the rally grounds shopping, listening to bands, and watching the Wall of Death show.  Friday, my plan was to head out on the bike while Shawna took the car so she could return home and look after pets.  Good plan, I thought.

So Shawna takes off and I follow.  I’m taking my time, and she has to stop at a bank, so we lose sight of each other quickly as I head east.

And then it happened.  I was crossing an intersection in the right hand lane when a woman pulled in from a side street without looking, swinging past the merge lane, and heading right at me.  I swerved left, but the left hand lane was full.  The woman was still coming, and there just wasn’t room to get out of her way.  We collided, my foot getting mashed between her car and my bike, my right foot control cracking, and her front fender tearing loose.

After fighting to keep my bike upright, I pulled over and started inspecting damage.  The frame appeared to be okay, but I had some worries about the transmission, as it seemed to want to stay in neutral.  The woman got out of her car, asked if I was all right, and gave me her info.  She agreed she was at fault, but I took her insurance down just in case.

Then I called Shawna to see if she could pick me up.  No answer.  Okay, no prob.  She’s probably driving.  I left a voicemail saying I was all right and that I was going to limp the bike to the nearest shop.

With my rear brakes out (cracked foot control, y’know!), getting to the Harley dealership was no easy feat.  The transmission ended up being fine, however.  At least it felt fine to my relatively untrained self.  I managed the trip slowly but surely, and once I sent the bike off to Harley’s service department, I called Shawna again.

No answer.

After leaving a slightly more irritated message, I called my insurance company (also my battering ram’s company), and got things rolling.  I grabbed a cup of coffee and went to sit outside.  After an hour had passed since my accident, I called Shawna again.

No answer.

And, as I left my third voicemail, I lost it.

“Hi, Shawna. I just got fucking hit by a fucking car, and it would be really fucking nice if you would ANSWER YOUR MOTHERFUCKING PHONE!!!”

Five minutes later, Shawna called.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hey,” she answered.  “What are you up to?”

“You didn’t hear me calling?”

“Nope.  Left my phone in the car.  Why?”

“Did you listen to my voicemails?”

“No.  Why?”

So that conversation went well.  After I convinced Shawna I was fine and that I just needed a ride back to the fairgrounds, she came and picked me up.  I ended up limping through the day, as the steel toe of my boot had badly bruised my foot, which had swollen up to something the size of a small football.  Shawna helped as much as possible, making me sit down and rest while she ran to get ice, food, or whatever.  The next morning, my foot felt much better.

At least I still have my health!  And now I’m one of the few people out there who can say they were hit by a car!

“You hear about that shit up in Abilene?”

So this past weekend, my friend Kevin had a birthday party up in Abilene.  It was a little more than 200 miles away, and I’d been itching to take a longer ride on The Late Late Show, so I packed a bag with clothes, sunblock, and tools and headed north, Miss Tessmacher, north.

The trip was a great one, with The Late Late Show running perfectly and me dealing with a sore ass and road grit that left most of my body a dark gray.  Within four hours, I was in Abilene and feasting on barbeque.

And then the kickball started.

Now, my friends are largely hippies or recovering hippies.  I’ve never met a more easy going group of people in my life.  Slap a few bases on the ground though, and everything goes straight to hell.  I had no idea kickball could turn hippies into raging assholes, but soon everybody was screaming at each other.

“He left the baseline!”

“That’s not the right way to steal!”

“The runner wins on a tie!”

“Like hell he does!”

“I will brick-fuck your entire skull!”

I might have made up that last one.

After three innings in 100+ degree heat, it was decided to call the game, which was fine with me, as (by my count) my team was ahead 8-7.  Of course, everybody had a different score, ranging from 12-4 to 9-6 1/2 (I have no idea how the fuck they reached that one).  A blast was had by all, though, and not a single brick or knife was drawn.

The rest of the night went down pretty easy with a fish fry, some water volleyball, and plenty of friends.  I crashed on a deck chair right beside the chair Shawna crashed on, and (aside from the drunk who fell on top of me in the middle of the night) slept like a baby.  The next morning, I woke up and hit the road for the 200+ mile trip back.

All in all, a damn good weekend.  It’s good to leave the house now and then.