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Monday, January 7, 2013
Finish What You Start
Today, I feel like giving up. I don’t mean in some cataclysmic or permanent way. There just are days when all I want to do is stop for a while. Knowing me, you would laugh at the idea. I never sit still for more than ten minutes at a time, let alone do nothing for a day. My mind can’t rest for five seconds. I write stories in my sleep. As this day progressed I found myself shoveling three inches of fresh, heavy, wet snow off the porches and driveway. Then I had to deal with the frustration of getting AAA to follow through on its obligation to Diane and myself. Now it is evening and growing dark and the vague thought I entertained to work on the novel has done a runner, as they say, while kicking around up here in my gray matter, my encumbered garret, is an old story begging new attention. I could add the worries of living day to day to the mix. But sometimes all that energy seems useless, pointless. I look around myself and realize that this may be all I ever have. Is that bad? No. Is it enough? No.
A dear friend put it this way, speaking for himself: I am not unhappy, I’m just not satisfied. I know how he feels. When I was growing up my parents gave me the middle initials “NS” for Never Satisfied.
My goals in life were never large or elaborate. I did not expect to win the rubber game of the World Series with a walk-off home run, or a Superbowl with The Catch. I did dream of writing bestsellers but the goal was more concrete – to write. I wanted a family and have a beautiful one. I wanted to travel and got the chance, and took it whenever I could. I still hold onto those goals: to write, to travel, to bask in the warmth of my family and friends. I have added a goal in connection with the writing: to finish. I am not good at finishing. I get to a point in the story – usually during the dreaded re-write – and that active mind finds a new idea to play with – with which to play, I should say, in deference to my grammatically correct editor-in-chief. It took me three years to finish AMBER WAVES, but I did it, and I published it. Not many people know it’s out there, but it’s out there waiting for them. Now I’m trying to finish the next book, while others are begging me to play.
Maybe that is the key. All I want to do is play. Play on the playgrounds, inside the museums, at the concert halls, in our national parks, in foreign locales, with you all. Play inside the canyons of my mind. It’s just that some days I need a nap.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..