Back to the salt mine

Oh yeah! It’s that time again. My spring classes are complete. No more preparation required. All the associated note-writing, web surfing, and lesson shaping have been wrapped up and tucked away for the next term. Now it’s time to jump back into the old work-in-progress.

But–

[Caution: whine mode enabled]

Do not annoy the writerdamn! I didn’t think it’d be so hard. To be completely honest, I’ve grown comfortable with various avoidance schemes. In addition to those which never fail — letting the dogs out, feeding them, playing all those mindless/goddam/time-sucking on-line games, watching TV, reading the morning paper, eating, sleeping, etc. — I’ve come up with an array of others. I’ve unleashed my creative energy on utterly unproductive tasks.

Now, what I must retrain myself to do is buckle down and write witty dialog and clever plots involving fascinating characters and unusual settings. If possible, I need to tie in bits of extraordinary but virtually unknown historical fact. Heh, no problem. What could possibly slow me down? The formula is exquisitely simple: write, publish, bask in the glory.

Success routesSure. Is it possible I’ve let myself forget how messy the business of fiction writing can be? One has to ignore the dog, the dirty dishes, the lawn, the internet, and the endless variety of excuses which spring to life, fully adult and demanding my full and immediate attention.

Geez. (Gotta keep reminding myself that an excuse is just a lie that’s been gift-wrapped.)

Truth to tell, it’s way easier to talk about writing than it is to actually sit down and do it. That’s probably why I enjoy teaching so much — I get to pretend to be a writer while not actually nailing down a single syllable of marketable fiction.

And now that I’m *not* teaching, my safest, easiest, and most reliable excuse is gone.

Poof!

Just. Like. That.

[Whine mode off.]

So, I’m going back to work now. I’ve got a story — make that another story — to work on. It’s about a two-foot tall Indian who thinks all of us “normal” people are giants. We don’t think about him because we don’t know he exists. Well, most of us don’t, anyway. big black dogSo, there he is, walking his huge mongrel dog in the Cloud Peak Wilderness area inside the Bighorn National Forest when the unlikely pair encounter a man with a pick, a shovel, and a gun.

The big, black dog barks.

The guy with the gun doesn’t like big, black, barking dogs.

And so it begins….

–Josh

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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5 Responses to Back to the salt mine

  1. polinto says:

    Good for you! What happens next?

  2. Alice Carnahan says:

    Love the photo! Is that Shadow? Alice p.s. It’s all in the perspective – I want/need to finish quite a bit of consulting work in order to be able to get back to writing more chapters for my next book. I think nonfiction must be much easier than fiction!

    • joshlangston says:

      Is that Shadow? Could be. Right color, anyway. Not sure about size or the alleged cross-breeding with a bison. But, hey, there’s only so much a guy can do (for free).

  3. compozer322 says:

    I love the message on your coffee cup!!!

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