Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Blog of November

My dear friends and followers,

I anticipate that this will be my last blog for a short while. As the season progresses my time diminishes, and I fear I have too little for blogging, at least for the foreseeable future. So I want to impart some words of wisdom as my Holiday Gift to each and every one of you, for what they're worth.

First, I got quite a nice response to my most recent blogs regarding spending and celebration. My dear friend Joanne put it most succinctly: "If we spend our time loving the life we have, not obsessing about what we don't have, we don't need Black Fridays or day-after-Christmas sales. We just need one another. After all, all we take with us when we leave for the last time is the love we have inside. Me? I want all I can get so I can share it with Jim when I see him again." Jim is Joanne's loving husband who passed away suddenly eight years ago. The point is clear: we have to love one another and hold on tight.

So that is my Christmas Wish: love one another. I didn't say it first. But in a world consumed by material things -- and that's another subject for discussion down the road -- Joanne is so right: those things remain of this world even when we move on. They're nice. I like my stuff. But they all could go away tomorrow, and if I still have the love of my wife Diane and all of you, I will be fine,

Now, as to the ghosts in my head, they have been stirring things up even as I have neglected them on paper. I love that -- the writing is going on at full tilt inside my head, mapping out the course it wants to take me; the characters are writing their own stories THROUGH me now -- and that is as it should be. The great William Goldman, author of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride, once quipped (I'm paraphrasing): "If the writing is going badly it won't matter if you are in the most idyllic, quiet, peaceful setting in the world, and if it;s going well you can write in an elevator."

When it's the latter, life is exhilarating.

The ghosts have added a few things, They've been talking. They say, "It's well and good that you want to write about us, remember us. But what about your own ghosts?"

I was stunned. Of course! All of a sudden the book has unfurled like a family banner and I realize that all these people are connected --= to me. The story has layers that belong together, while I have been trying to figure out ways to keep them apart. It is a revelation. And when I think, in realistic tones, that this may be my last chance at a really good novel, I start to believe that Ghost Music may be the book I was meant to write all my life, whether anyone else reads it or not.

My favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, once said regarding his best known work, Slaughterhouse Five (and again I am paraphrasing): "Sometimes a writer writes about one thing so he can write about something else altogether." He meant, in his case, writing a SyFy novel based on the idea of a single person unstuck in time so that he could relate his own experiences during the firebombing of Dresden, where he was being held as a POW. Now I think the same thing may be happening to me, and I am excited as hell!

The ghosts are talking. Listen . . .

Finally, it occurs to me that one of the themes of this book needs to be stated somewhere, so here goes. How much guilt does a person lay at his or her own feet for things they could not stop?

Thank you for listening, for caring, for being there. And if I don't see you, hear from you, or blog to you again -- or even if I do -- have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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