All I Need Is Another 105 Years.
My earliest recollection of writing anything outside of school assignments was at about the age of nine or ten. Since then I have written a lot of fiction, a ton of nonfiction, a textbook and website training materials, theater performance pieces for myself and other actors, jokes for comedians, and I even wrote business letters for a coffeehouse owner whose command of English was spotty at best. The one thing that keeps me at it is that, over time, I’ve gotten better at it.
I’ve never even tried to write a screenplay. Film is such a strong director’s medium that any screenplay, no matter the quality, is little more than a suggestion to the director. Directors can do whatever they please to a script. That would tear me apart and probably result in me being arrested for murder. It’s not worth it to me. An editor can be hard enough, but a director? No. I’ve done enough theater and a few horrible films to turn a script over to a director.
So, now I am sticking with nonfiction for discipline and fiction for pleasure.
Lately, I have been writing in a “Noir” genre. I know that there are several different flavors of that and I’m not exactly sure where my scribbles fall. It is sort of the old style “Film Noir” flavor with a “Neo Noir” thrown in, along with what I am calling “Noir Humor” spread on top. I can’t resist throwing in a good joke when I have one.
A few years back I wrote a series of short performance pieces featuring, “Dick Henway,” a detective I described as “Poached” rather than “Hard Boiled.” Unfortunately, I seem to have lost them somewhere in the course of several moves, crashed computers, and misplaced notebooks. I’m still holding out hope that someday they will pop to the surface somewhere like a dead body after trying to do Niagara in a barrel.
As a rule I never throw away anything I’ve written. If it doesn’t work here it might work nicely over there. Even if it really stinks, there was something about it that made it worth my time and trouble at some point. It might be a good idea that I screwed up in the writing. I’ve done that a lot.
I have been writing for about 60 years. I used to be “God-Awful,” but over time I’ve improved. On most days I now think that I’m just “Awful,” keeping God blame free. But there are those moments when the word I’ve been searching for walks through the door and jumps from my pen to the page.
I used to think that how I was feeling physically had something to do with it. I’ve canned that idea. There have been days when I’ve felt pretty good and nothing happens. And then there are other days when I thought that the Last Rites were in order and I crank out 2500 words that say what I want them to say. It’s all a mystery to me.
I think the only sensible thing for me to do is to keep at it.
After 60 years I have arrived at the point where I have my moments. At this rate I figure that I’ll become a darn good writer by the time I’m blowing out all 175 candles on my cake.