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Friday, August 27, 2010

End of the story . . .

I can't believe I've left the blog idle for two weeks. My excuse? The house repair/remodel is just about overwhelming.

I also can't believe we're less than a month away from autumn, not that the weather here in Mobile is any indicator. It's been raining and in the high 90s for two weeks now, and everything is green . . . including the first three bricks high on my house. Sigh.

Now, the conclusion (thus far) of my writing life:

After I moved to Mobile, AL, my desire to write bubbled to the surface. Retirement, it seemed, was not simply the start of a new chapter in my life, rather it is where a yet unwritten book began. A class in creative writing at the University of South Alabama sent me on my way.

I write because I like the rhythm, the music of the words. I write because I like my characters--they are not complete fabrications. I know them personally--or at least some part of them. I see them in my mind's eye. I watch them walk. I see their gestures as they speak, hear the tone and timbre of their voices, understand their meaning. All of this visualization is a result of the screenwriting course. Though I have to admit there are scenes that tell my own story . . . I'm the one who has been there, done that, said that.

Sometimes the words flow across the page like the broad strokes of a house painter's brush. Sometimes each page comes to life slowly, as if it were a rendering of a copse of Alabama's long needle pine trees being completed by single strokes of a pen and ink artist.

When I write, I turn on the television to the Weather Channel. I need a voice other than the one in my head to keep me tethered to the real world that I abandon to create my own version of some protagonist's reality.

And when dark and stormy nights keep me awake, it is only the strobe of a lightning bolt followed by thundering applause that keeps me in bed, lest I plug in my computer and risk again its electrical annihilation as I wend my way through the night hours on a flight of fiction. On those clich├ęd nights, the pen and notepad on my bedside table are generic substitutes for electronic keys because I cannot wait to write--the morning is too far away.
That's it for now, but I'll keep on keeping and hope you do the same.


The Jeff Johnston photo is called "End of the Road." 'Nuff said.

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