Wednesday, December 04, 2019

IWSG December: Living the Dream

November's National Novel Writing Month is now over, as is Thanksgiving as we tunnel through winter to the end of the year.

Outside my apartment window, rain, instead of snow, pelts an amazing pile of abandoned furniture next to the community garage, a stranger's untold story.

Today, this Wednesday, as part of IWSG's monthly challenge, we're asked to describe our future writer's self -- what it looks and feels like -- IF we are living the dream. Or, we could talk about what our life as a writer is like IF we are already there. And what would we change or improve?

I'm never sure about these questions or where they'll take me. As an older than average writer, I am, like many, poised between becoming a better writer and being, that is, practicing the craft of writing every day.  Simply put, that's my dream, and I'm living it.

Last month's NaNoWriMo pushed me to face stories I've never told as I took a mini-break from my current novel to begin a memoir. Some 35K words later, I'm pleased by my start, to look critically at those events I've wrestled with in my fiction, but never easily talked about.

Yes, I read pretty voraciously. Do you? This week, I forced myself to finish a book that will remain nameless, for it disgusted me. The novel, this month's selection for a book club, read as if it were a memoir, but without grace or insight. The main character divulged an atrocious childhood and then transformed into a money-grubbing, amoral, self-obsessed individual. The book ended with no transformation of the character's many flaws, no hint of change or redemption, but promised this was Book 1 of more to come.

Aargh! I may not know where my writing will take me, but please, I hope to write stories that encourage us to face evil with courage, despite many obstacles within and without.

For many writers, the dream is recognition and perhaps more than a livable wage. I'm retired with few wants. Do you remember Hemingway's very famous short story, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?  Hemingway shows us, with bare prose, the value of simple acts. How we choose to live with empathy and courage. For we know, don't we, that some -- even us, at times -- despair, and this leads us right back to bedrock: that regardless of circumstance, we have the freedom to choose how we live and what we do. 

That's my dream: To live and write with a sense of harmony and grace, regardless of circumstance. I think I'm living the dream. That could be an illusion, but it's one that sustains me.

That's me with my cousin,
Bainbridge Island,
about 1953
One last note: It's too close to Thanksgiving not to truly be thankful for much -- my family and friends, my life companion, and, not least, those readers, primarily from the States, Scotland, Australia, and Canada, who read my stuff.

And a special thank you to the  co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!

May you all live your dream in the year ahead.