Saturday, April 30, 2016

Weary of Wacky

Well, I have completed writing the story of Wacky in WhoVille. It is not in final form for publication, of course. I am going to set it aside for a while now to percolate before I do the final revision and editing of the final chapters. I enjoy much of the book, but I have to admit that writing the last bit became a dull slog. Not the story itself, with which I am fairly pleased. And I like the ending of the book better than the ending of the story, to be honest. But somewhere about the middle of April, the creative steam ran out. I plugged along to the end, but I am putting it aside to come back in a month or so. I hope by then I can do that final revision/editing with a fresh head.

That does not mean that I won't be writing at all. After several friendly pokes from a friend, I am pondering another Texas book. He suggested more about some of the characters in Blakesfield, the town in Except for His Wings. I am giving that thought, but I am drawing a blank so far. I suspect that I have told all there is in me to tell on that score. I am going to Texas to visit some of my family next month. Maybe that trip will strike a spark.

But I am thinking. Tom comes in and says, "What'cha doin'?" 

It must be hard to live with a writer when he/she is not actually sitting at the keyboard writing. When we are sitting and staring into space, it looks like we are doing nothing or are depressed or perhaps developing one of the many forms of dementia that you will find by going on the internet, which I highly recommend you don't do. Especially if you are supposed to be coming up with an idea for a book. Unless you want to do a book about dementia, which I don't.

When I meet new people, I sometimes make the mistake of telling them I am a writer or that I write. This leads to awkward questions, and not just the inevitable, "Where do you get your ideas?"
 "Have I seen anything you wrote?"
Not likely, unless you were looking for it
"What kind of things do you write?"
Oh, I have written mystery novels and novels about a college for misfits and books about meditation and spirituality and theological articles for magazines and reference works.
"What are you writing now?"
Nothing. Well, three or four things. I'm just thinking.
"Huh. Do you do something else?"
At least no one has asked me if you can make a living writing. The answer to which, by the way, is not unless you are one of a dozen thriller/romance/supernatural-genre-of-the-moment-author-syndicates. 

Which I ain't.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

About that quote at the top of this post. I would say it is about 80%.


Anonymous said...


If you have run out of inspiration for fictional writing, why not turn to reality? And write your memoirs? Although you will probably not agree, yours has been a fascinating and unusual life, one which deserves recording. I am not suggesting revelations (no, not the Bible sort), but rather a contemplation of the twists and turns of existence and the motivation for them. Your blog has over the years included lots of excellent posts on various aspects of your life. You could use these to construct your narrative. Just a suggestion.

W. F.

Michael Dodd said...

My first instinct was to respond, "Didn't I just say I was tired of Wacky?"

Actually the first time I did the National Novel Writing Month thing, I used the process to write memoirs. They were frank and even embarrassingly candid. Three trusted friends read them and thought I should publish. I could not figure out how to do so without radical editing in order "to protect the innocent" and the guilty, as they say.

So I tried to revise them and turn them into a novel. Two trusted friends read them and said, "No, publish the memoirs." (Interestingly their criticisms of the novel were almost opposites, which means either it was okay and in the middle or that it was totally useless.)

So I put that all aside. If I can figure out a way to tell the story without harming others and at the same time, tell enough of the story to get the important parts out there, maybe, maybe. I would be tempted to do the Mark Twain thing and leave a manuscript to be published a hundred years after my death, but I don't know who would care at that point.

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,

Your response reminded me of the opening of an old-time radio program: "What evil lurks in the hearts of men? Michael Dodd knows." How can that innocent face (now removed - alas! - from the blog) recount anything that would "harm others"? The revolution in recent years in attitudes toward sex, above all sexual orientation, has removed one barrier and I doubt if anything you write about the Catholic Church would come as a surprise or a shock to anyone. My own experience (as author of two well received biographies) shows that, when writing, one can be both candid and discreet at the same time. A hundred and fifty years? What is the utility of that? Remember: Magna est veritas et prevaelebit (no need to translate for you.) WE NEED YOUR MEMOIRS. W. F.

Anonymous said...

You wrote "a hundred years after my death" but since that event is still well into the future, my "hundred and fifty years" is not far off. Even a delay of one hundred years as from today would be pointless.

For me, romans a` clef have a certain thrill factor ("who is the author getting at?") but they lack originality of invention and imagination.

W. F.

Ur-spo said...

I very much liked this entry; it captures the writer's dilemma.