What We Hold Onto…


The author lumbers into the sea on a twelve mile hike around Provincetown.

What We Hold Onto is the title of my new novella; I have a good feeling about this one and hope to see it published in a year or so. It’s going through one more round of workshop edits.

I’ve received payment for my Asimov’s Novella Of All Possible Worlds from Allan Kastners Years Best Short SF Novels. and hope to hear that audiobook version in the next weeks or months. Yay!

Thanks to everyone who has read my work, commented on it, given me feedback, over the years. I’m 52, and closer now than I have ever been to actually doing what I want to do with my life. I’m a lucky man.

That said, the writing life is, ah, a challenge. Rejection, isolation, depression… I struggle with all these things. The good days are good. The good moments are fantastic. But there’s a lot of not knowing, too.

Should you be doing this?

I shudder, twitch, sometimes convinced that I have revealed myself as being a rotten person. If you have ever done workshops, for long periods of time, you know what I mean. In On Becoming a Novelist or The Art of Fiction John Gardner talks about one of the insoluble writing problems people sometimes encounter, of being so seriously flawed that they can’t create prose that connects with others. Their characters are all unbelievable, detestable, or both.

Your subconscious coughs up terrible things, and you are caught between second guessing your creative impulse, writing stuff more consciously, or including story elements that are, ah, unwelcome.

Eventually you start getting pissed at your subconscious.

Finally, there are things you can’t help but write, so you write them, and sometimes, they don’t work. You can’t sell them. And you’re left wondering; should I publish this myself, or should this remain unseen forever?

You might only sell a few copies; self-publishing short fiction in general isn’t about making money, it’s about the occasional fan getting to read the occasional story. But will you hurt yourself? Will you damage your brand? Is the story actually so bad that after reading it, someone won’t want to read you anymore?

This is where I am now, with a bunch of stuff that hasn’t worked lately, after my 10 pro story sale streak.

Really, it’s novel time. But I still am trying to figure myself out, as a writer, what i’m doing and why. What I’m good for.

I know I don’t have forever. I’m 52. If I’m lucky, I could write ten good books still, before my brain rots and I die of whatever horrible thing waits in store for me. Ten is enough for me. But I need to write my ten. Now. Starting now.

Dear God. Now.


Posted in Making a Writing Life

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