Well, this probably comes as a surprise to no one, but I'm taking a few days off from the swimming. I'm just plain tired. I'll probably be back in the pool tomorrow, though, because I'm starting to miss it. I think I have a minimum level of chlorine in my blood, and if it drops below that I start questioning the reason for my existence. Kind of like a fish out of water. No, more like a fish who's been kidnapped by (human) aliens, taken out of the water, tagged, photographed, measured, and then dropped back into the water as part of some big scientific project it knows nothing about. It will tell the other fish this story at the campfire later on (do fish make campfires?) and the other fish will say, "Tell us another one, Ralph" and "Did they give you the old anal probe?" before breaking up into crude fishy laughter and passing around another six-pack of Glorp Light. No one ever believes Ralph when these things happen.
Anyway: I'm having, shall we say, a colorful week. I've been covering cases for a colleague who was out on medical leave, and I just found out she's not coming back. Yikes, what am I going to do with these cases? I started a class, went to see an ortho. doc who pronounced my knee Not In Need Of Surgery, navigated the Chick-Fil-A boycott/celebration/onslaught and snuck out for frozen yogurt at least twice. And I stared into the abyss that is what I'm writing lately and determined that it is, indeed, an abyss. Or maybe a sinkhole. Anyway, there's a void, and nothing to fill it.
I need a project. I need a project like I need chlorine. Without a project, I'll be the next Ralph, drinking Glorp Light and wondering what in hell an anal probe is, anyway. Oh, I can write; watch this column come into existence every single week, whether I feel like it or not. I need something to write about, is the thing. The increasingly-inaccurately-named Mindbender trilogy (which has four volumes, and part of a fifth) is not going anywhere fast and I've yet to come up with anything to take its place in my head. Joan thinks I should be writing comedy, and I do have this thing going about statuary and public art all over Dallas suddenly coming to life and proving problematical for law enforcement. And it's okay--it's kind of fun, actually--but it's not, you know, Art.
Not that I have a clue what Art is (except this guy I knew in high school who always seemed kinda sleazy; years later I ran into him again, heard his side of the story and realized I had judged him too harshly, as nearly all of us do to other people when we are between the ages of thirteen and seventeen). I want to write suspense/thrillers. I wanna do sagas of intense complexity, with big secrets and car chases and gruesome murders and blood all over the place. I wanna do more rapid page-turns than Big Steve and more plot twists than Kameron Hurley. (And if you haven't read God's War and Infidel yet, get moving; Rapture comes out in November.) I want explosions and betrayals and fast-moving conversations that you have to follow or your life will be in danger. I just need, you know, some kind of, like, idea.
What do I have instead? Living statues. And some Norse gods. Pretty sure there were a few Norse gods in there somewhere.
In the literary world, we call that failure to launch.
So I'm taking a class. The class is based on The Artist's Way, a book by Julia Cameron. It's designed for writer's block, which I don't think I have, exactly; writer's anxiety comes a lot closer. Or maybe we could say writer's void. The thing is, it just looks like an abyss; in fact it's an underground mine fire, like in Centralia, Pennsylvania, and when a hole opens up to the surface it belches toxic gas, fumes and blasts of lethal heat. The book is supposed to help with this. Overcome writer's block, turn out prizewinning novels, stories, plays. So far it's been creepily about feelings, which, as a former Lutheran, I have none of. Just kidding. Well, kidding a little.
Anyway, I hope it helps. We just started Chapter Two, and since the mighty Law Dogs are sidelined tonight by extremely high temps and missing personnel, I might just go home and, uh, do my homework. You know. Like in high school.