There for a short while I knew a couple of people who thought as long as they knew I was home, it was okay to knock on the door and just come on inside. That isn’t cool. Now that was back before I sported large dogs and honestly, having large dogs will cut a lot of that out. Bert didn’t give a damn if he knew you, you knew me, we knew one another, no, none of that mattered at all to Bert. If you came through the door Bert was going to stand you down. You were going to stop. You were going to show the canine equivalent of an olfactory ID and you were not going to just walk on in. Bert meant it.
I miss that.
Out here in Hickory Head a person has to mean it to come here. I don’t get interrupted very often. When I do it is usually important or at least worth my while, or, at a minimum, worth someone’s while who has come here. That does mean something to me, that someone would drive all the way out here to see me. It means they really want to see me or they need me in some way that is urgent. I’m down with that. I will help my friends.
There’s been about three people on this earth I could tell, “I’m writing” and that those people would just stop and back away. Most people I don’t bother to tell I’m writing because that would lead to me having to explain what I am writing, or why I am writing. I don’t need that. I need to write.
At work, I have sixty minutes of my own time to do with as I please, but I get that full hour to write about once a month. People want to talk, they want to socialize, they want to talk work things, and because I have a position that demands a lot of interaction with human beings I put up with all of this. I can save and close a document in the time it takes someone to pull up, get out of their car, and walk up the steps. I’ve done it a few hundred times.
Back when I was working nightshift for a while I got to write during lunch, and there were a lot of breaks. Some of my best ideas came out of that era of my life, even if I did have to rewrite a lot of it. I like to have at least a couple of hours without distraction to write and it’s easy to see where having a full time job and four dogs and a house and a yard might not yield that on a daily basis. Saturday mornings are the best, with coffee, because if I get up at five then I’ve slept in a little, and I have a couple of hours before the sun is high enough for yardwork and the dogs are still sleepy. If the weather is right, cold and blustery, I can stretch this out for half a day or even longer.
I’ve dated women who didn’t understand my need to write. It’s something that some people miss entirely. Those without a creative outlet can’t see it as what it is. Usually, they put up with it like they would a guy watching football every once in a while, but in the end, noncreative types begin to have a problem with the idea that this writing thing is going to be around for a lot longer than they could realize. Invariably, I get accused of cheating. It seems a little unlikely that a man would, or could, spend that much time doing something that doesn’t involve sports or sex. Yes, I admit it, the whole concept is very strange. But I’m a writer. I write. I do not do very much at all except that.
Writing is hard work. Yes, there are times the words flow and I just zip along, but there’s a lot to keep up with in a story. What are other characters doing while the main characters are doing what they are doing? What’s everyone’s agenda? What time is it? What’s the date? Day or night? When does sexual tension become something physical? There’s a difference between letting a reader know something is going to happen between two people and overplaying it. Sometimes, it’s little things, a touch of a hand, two people agreeing on something, perhaps both of these things, then suddenly, alone in a cabin in the woods where a bear has killed three people, they realize life is short and they are drunk.
Meanwhile, real life is still happening. The phone rings, dogs bark, neighbors have cows that moo and chickens that for unexplainable reasons, crow all night, delivery people arrive with boxes, and clothes do not wash themselves and dogs need love. And girlfriends; don’t call a woman and tell her you’re in the middle of a great sentence, you’ll be an hour or so late.
It’s hard to tell a woman, “Trust me, it was hard enough to talk you into taking your jeans off for me, there’s nearly no chance in hell that I can get two women to do it within the same year, much less at the same time” even if that is closer to the truth than I like. And very few women want to hear something like that and even less, “I write, it is what I do, and when we are not together that is what I am doing.”
The sad truth here is we live in a world that has very little respect for creativity. People play video games, they watch television and binge watch Netflix, but that’s okay. They go to sports events, they sit around and talk about one show or another, but the idea that a person might sit down and create, and take the time to create, and ask they be given the time for this, is downright alien.