On Thursday night, I finished the first draft of a short story, and just as 20 years ago when I started writing fiction, I feel a thrill. I printed out a copy, wrote the date on it, and slipped it in my “Short Fiction” file folder that is 3-inches thick with drafts and revisions, pieces in varied stages of development.
As someone who loves running, I for many years had a bitter disposition towards walking. Walking (instead of running) was a kind of cheating, not “real” exercise, at least not compared to running several miles.
My friends know me well enough not to ask if I’ve seen a recent movie, or really any movie. My lack of movie-watching, however, is not a part of some anti-movie mindset. If people ask why I don’t watch movies, my answer is not quite what they expect: I get bored and restless. I suspect they assume (correctly) that I prefer books, and that my preference is the primary reason why I watch so few movies.
I tell my creative writing students that the writing life is as much about “trade-offs” as it is about anything else. You have to give up other pursuits to write seriously. You will have to sacrifice other interests. I suspect that this message is offensive and too radical, even to my students who dream of writing “full time.”
When I was younger, I could pursue all of my interests, or so it seemed. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that some tough choices are necessary. I can’t pursue everything I’m interested in. For one, I have a full-time job, I have a wife, I have two elementary-aged kids. Add in a number of other roles I play.
Three Saturdays prior, autumn arrived, my favorite time of the year. I awoke to rain, and the temperature hovering around 70. The higher temperature and humidity had finally broken, at least for a weekend.