head down, hard at work

Once again, kind of silent around this humble blog lately. I just don’t have any great developments to report or flaming opinions to inflict on you. (You already know my attitude toward grammar and NaNoWriMo.) I’ve just kept at the stories.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I had started on a sort of vignette piece without a traditional narrative to it. I’m calling it “Men at Work and Play,” and that’s pretty much all that it involves. No great epiphanies. No earth-changing revelations or character developments. It’s more like a snapshot of a day with my three main characters. Because of this, I was flailing around a bit trying to figure out what to put in and what to leave out. I have a long skinny dipping scene that I’m probably going to take out or at least condense considerably. A cigar-smoking scene that I’ll probably just incorporate by reference. A work scene that I can fit in through flashback. I guess the story is mostly culmination rather than development. I don’t suppose that makes much sense out of context, but as I said, I’ve been flailing. I did manage to re-order some of the things I have written for it, and that seems to have made a difference. The same has been the case with a couple of other stories in this cycle. I wrote scenes for them but wasn’t sure how to stitch them together. Then, once I juggled things a bit, the right sequence presented itself. Perhaps that will happen here.

I haven’t received any rejections lately, but I did manage to whip up enough initiative to send my story “Travel Light” to another likely publication. Why not, right?

I was also racing to “finish” one of the Fathers and Sons stories for a submission deadline. It’s called “Comfortable in his skin,” and it’s about the memories of a childhood visit to the family cabin. The magazine had a call out for stories about childhood, and the deadline is fast approaching. I’m not sure if the story is altogether finished, but I’ve given it a lot of attention in these last few days. Each visit seems to result in a change, I hope a change for the better. Anyway, the story went off yesterday. There is no information about response time, but the issue in question will come out in February. I’ll just gnaw on my fingernails until then.

And I’ve actually had an idea for a story completely outside of the Fathers and Sons universe. This seems significant because although I am happy to continue to develop those stories, it is a bit unnerving to thing that nothing else will ever come to me. Now I see that this won’t be the case. This new story, which I don’t have a title for and not much of a plot for, deals with the theme of unselfing. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m a great Iris Murdoch reader. Unselfing is a key concept in her novels. Of course many religious doctrines have their own definition of unselfing, but for Murdoch it comes down to “overcoming of the self-centeredness that prevents us from loving others as separate existences.” It is  really hard work, according to Murdoch, to fully recognize that other people have existences outside of our perception of them, that we are merely footnotes in the books of their lives. So I’m thinking of grappling with that weighty concept in a short story. We’ll see if I’m up to the task.

Finally, yes, I’m still running around like a fool. I like the solitude. And my knee seems to be holding up despite earlier indications to the contrary.

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One Comment on “head down, hard at work”

  1. Annam Says:

    A difficult task as set forth by Murdoch when so much of writing can be driven by ego.


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