Friday, May 18, 2012

The Wrestler, re: John Irving, 12 May 2012 Time

I read with a great interest the article in the May 12, 2012 issue of Time magazine entitled "The Wrestler" concerning the writer John Irving. No doubt a successful and highly acclaimed author, Irving is now 70 years old, five years older than me. He is dealing with his declining powers as a writer as he gets older. Apparently, he feels that being in top physical condition will help him to retain his powers as a writer and perhaps increase his longevity. He has a pretty rigorous workout schedule. I for one hope it does help him to live and write for many more years.

I'm facing the same issue of declining mental stamina. I'm in the opposite situation in that I have not achieved success as a writer. I'm still attempting to get my work out there. I have no illusions of being a famous or highly successful author at this point. I'm not even sure it matters any longer. I just want to finish what I've started and maybe a little extra.

In an earlier post on this blog I believe I mentioned that I want to write shorter works now. I don't want to spend years and years working on one book any longer. I'd like my novels to be no longer than around 85,000 words, and less would be okay. In the article, Irving said, "I am writing shorter and shorter novels...My grasp of fictional detail and chronological story is worsening, so I must work with what I have to make sure I'm fully cognizant of what I'm creating." That goes for me as well.

It shows, though, to what degree we value and love our creativity. Perhaps we fear losing it and will do whatever is necessary to keep it. When art is what you're about, you want to do it until the day you die.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I wish I were an optimist.

I'm so impressed by some of my blogging friends that I wonder if I'm not some kind of dullard. I suppose I am. One of the things that separates them from me is their optimism and their positive attitude. They seem to have no worries in the world. And I wonder why I'm not like that.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm a miserable wretch. I just see life as full dangers and impossible to understand events. The dangers don't bother me personally. I've lived a long time now and I've about seen it all, experienced a lot of things I don't care to discuss. I've had a lot of happiness as well as sadness. I've know success and failure. But I have a hard time understanding why bad people seem to win most of the time. Am I wrong in that view of things? I don't know. It's just the way I see it. Yes, bad people often come to an unhappy end in the end. But, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they just seem to win and win and win. Maybe they're not really bad people. Maybe they're good people who make the most of a bad world. I just don't know. Like I said, I don't understand.

Why is it that most of the great artists--writers, painters, mucisians--lived pretty destitute lives while the mediocre thrived? Am I right in that, or am I misinformed? I don't want to ramble on. I just want to know what other people think. I love to read the blogs of the optimists. It actually makes me feel better to read them. But why am I not able to become an optimist? It just isn't me. I've tried. I've read The Power of Positive Thinking. I've read many books on self-improvement, from Depak Chopra to Wayne Dyer. I've studied Hinduism, which seems to be the source of positive thinking, and some of its off-shoots, some of the positive-thinking religions. Nothing works. I am what I am. I keep seeing the negative side.

Isn't that sort of what yin-and-yang is about. We're a mixture of all opposites. To be heavily one or the other is to be out of balance isn't it. Maybe it's a slightly stronger leaning to yin or to yang that makes the difference. Maybe it's just a matter of degree. 51% yin and 49% yang is all it takes to be dramatically different from 51% yang and 49% yin. It's all such a mystery.

Please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Sholes Key by Clarissa Draper

Sophia Evans is a cryptanalyst who is recruited into doing undercover work, work that turns her life upside down.

The Sholes Key by Clarissa Draper is a modern-day mystery that will keep you reading well into the night. Sophia Evans is presented with bizarre cryptograms that test her skills to the utmost. Vaguely familiar to her (she feels she's seen the series of numbers before, but can't remember where), deciphering these cryptograms is the key to stopping a serial killer, who has left them at the crime scene, perhaps daring the police to catch him. Knowing that the killer will strike again, believing that she is perhaps his next target, Sophia must work fast to save someone's life, perhaps her own. Aided by DI Theophilus Blackwell (a well-drawn character), Sophia begins solving the case. Little does she know, the key to doing so is very close at hand.

You can visit Clarissa Draper at her website Clarissa Draper.
You may purchase The Sholes Key at

Friday, May 4, 2012

How engrossed do you get in a book?

One day, when I was maybe 20 years old, I took my mother downtown. While she went shopping, I sat in the car, which was parked along a busy street in Jacksonville, Florida. While waiting for my mother to return, I read a novel. I guess I was pretty engrossed in it, because all of a sudden I heard sirens. I looked up and there were fire trucks parked between me and a house that was on fire. I couldn't believe my eyes. Had I woken up from a dream. Nope. It was real.

How about you? How engrossed have you gotten into a book?