"Writing is the hardest work in the world not involving heavy lifting."
~ PETER HAMILL
The thing that people don't realize is that I am no stranger to chaos. As a government inspector for the last 24 years of my career, I was expected to fall out of the sky, surprising the subjects of my inspections, at any time of the day or night. As such, I worked a "schedule" assigned by a computer using a random number generator. I firmly believe that no two of the 296 months I spent on this job were the same, so I have a pretty good handle on seizing the moment. The difference is that now I never again have to say, "I return to work on Sunday afternoon, and I have to get these things done before then." Now, it's "I never have to return to work, so I can do whatever I want now, and catch up with the drudgery tomorrow or next week; it will still be there."
What I'm learning is that writing comes pretty far down the list, and I find myself needing to convey to people that I'm not what I seem. On sites about writing, I naturally slant my subject matter to fit, whether I'm writing on my own site, or as a guest on someone else's, and anyone who knows me solely by reading those posts thinks they're dealing with some dedicated wordsmith who lives to create the prose. What I've learned in retirement is that that is far from who I am.
So I write, and I write passionately, but it's one of many, many things I do. I'll spin that to my advantage by saying that writing is one facet of a full, well rounded life, and I pity those people who say they spend fourteen hours a day engaged in the process of writing. There's a whole world out here, and I'm part of it.
And so is my writing. I expected this take months to sort itself, and after some frustration, it happened overnight, largely with the wonderful help of my writing friends. I know where this fits in now, and I cannot thank the Denizens enough for getting me to look at this from all the different angles that led me here. If you're a writer of vacillating mood, and let's face it, many of us creative types are pretty volatile, find a level-headed support group who can give you that smack in the face when you need it. They've taught me that it's okay if I don't want to write 14 hours a day. I'm still a writer. It's true, I look at this as my glorified hobby; "glorified" because it brings a little money in. One month, it even paid for my internet service. See? Hobbyist. I'm doing it for fun, so it should be fun. I can't promise that I won't fall into these moods now and again, but what I will do instead of coming here to practice dramatics is turn on the Xbox and wait for it to pass. I'll bet that will be a refreshing change for long-time readers!
It didn't win, nor give the winner any worries, and even if everyone I know had voted for it, it wouldn't have changed a thing, but it would have been nice if I had known about it from the beginning. I don't know why FaceBook didn't see fit to pass these items along. Maybe it's because I have a personal page and a business (author) page, but the problem's solved now.
Daughter and I play cooperative video games, and something we've noticed is that after a human-wave attack by a horde of zombies or a regiment of terrorists, or whatever, after the dust has settled, there's always one more guy who comes in alone and gets riddled with lead for his trouble. Our running joke is "There's always one guy in the bathroom when the excitement starts!" I guess in this case, that one guy was me. I wish it had been on something a little less important, but this nomination was a big eye-opener in terms of realizing how other people see my work. The one bit of good news is that I contacted the gracious hostess of their site, and she informed me that I can still get my nominee badge, and I will be receiving a hi-res version within the next few days. It will appear here on the site within minutes of its receipt, and will probably be attached to the cover of all future copies of Beyond the Rails... if that's possible. Time will tell, but yeah, jazzed to the max!
Maybe this is the new look for the blog, a one-subject post when the mood strikes, keyed not to any single day of the week, but the presence of a good discussion. Maybe someone will even join in if the crickets aren't too loud!
That's 30 for today, folks. Until we meet again, play nice, look out for one another, and above all else, get out there and live life like you mean it!