Tuesday, July 19, 2005

High Five

I have five short stories in various stages of completion. A couple are a mess, two are looking OK, and only one is ready for prime time.

I thus find myself in a rare, wonderful, and distressing predicament -- what the hell comes next? There was a time when I would work on a single story (or novel), work on it until I sweat blood and could not stand it, until I had polished and polished and polished to a high sheen, then collapsed in disgust and anger and the crap that had resulted.

For many reasons, at present, there are five things on my plate. Five fingers on the hand. Five freaks a' trippin'. Five reasons not to procrastinate.

As my novel grows mold upon editors' desks, I have busied myself with the short form, something I have not mastered despite my best efforts. Now, here's what I don't understand: many writers do this all the time.

I know one freak who seems to publish a new short story a week (if reading this, you know who you are); he is renown among friends for his work ethic (among other things). I admire his work and his work ethic, though it escapes me how he does it.

Perhaps he's the bastard child of Joyce Carol Oates and Isaac Asimov, two scribblers known for their prodigious output. Perhaps he's cloned, or has an evil writing twin, or is so hyped on sugar that he can write while sleeping.

Five young men

If writing is rewriting, I'm doing some serious writing though with every rewrite I feel like I'm doing a moonwalk; i.e., going backwards. (This must have something with my present circumstances, I tell myself.) I am going to submit all five of these buggers. I promise.

I just don't know when.