You want to get ahead; you want to keep pushing forward. But this week–let me tell you, it seems like every time I turn around, there’s something in real life that’s keeping me from writing my next great novel. Assuming that it’s going to be great . . . Recollections
Still, you write. I get on the computer and start putting words into the machine. I left my couple in bed, making small talk, mostly about my main female character getting tired of where she lived and taking a job in Las Vegas. Where do I go from there?
Well, I had a few hundred words to make my main male character feel a bit of envy.
See, my male character is a Las Vegas native. Born there, schooled there, worked there. His dream is to make it “big” as a writer and move the hell out, but neither has happened yet. He’s starting to feel like a bit of a failure because he’s stuck in the City of Big Dreams and Drained Bank Accounts, and here he’s hooked up with a woman who one day said, “Screw it, I’m outta here,” packed her crap inside her car, and hit the road because someone offered her a job. Good job, bad job: it didn’t matter. It was a job, and it wasn’t in New Mexico, so she said, “Yes”.
In a way I feel like my main male character. I’ve lived in Red State Indiana my whole life, up in the northwest part near Chicago. There was a time, years ago, when I wanted to move out, when I wanted to head west and keep going until I hit the ocean. One time it was California, one time it was Seattle; these days I’d love to live in Portland, where I almost did have a job in 2006.
From time to time I do have a dream of getting the hell out of the state and heading towards the mountains, towards the desert, towards the forests, and not stopping until I see a lot of water standing in my way. I feel as if I outgrew Indiana a long time ago, but one thing or another has kept me from moving on–
Maybe I’ve been waiting to hit it big.
Were it not for certain obligations, I think I would have blown this pop stand a long time ago. Jean Shepard–he of A Christmas Story fame–grew up in Hammond, IN, so he’s mostly known as an Indiana Writer, and a number of his stories take place in northwest Lake Country. A writing instructor once told me that they went to a reading Shepard gave on one of his infrequent visits to Indiana, and during the question and answer section at the end, someone asked him what his favorite part about returning to Indiana was. The instructor told him his answer was, “Getting on the plane and leaving.” Needless to say, he didn’t endear himself to anyone at the reading.
I’ve had moments where I’ve thought about getting “known” through my writing, then leaving the state, settling somewhere else, and having to field the requests to return to my old stomping grounds to talk about what it’s like to “be a writer.” Oh, the things I could do, the things I could say, the trouble I could get into.
So I need to do a few things first for that to happen . . .