Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Knowing what you want.

Mostly, if I set out to achieve something I do it. Usually this involves dogged one-eyedness, hard work, lots of stress, commitment to craft. I think the only problem then is knowing what you want to achieve. So many times I have sat down to write something with a list of what I want to do mapped out in my head. I get to the end and yes, I have done what I have set out to do. I had a goal and I stuck to it. It is only when it is done that I realise that there might have been other, better goals to try to achieve.

I think of my grandmother, all those hours slaving to create the things she has created. I will make a life sized triceratops out of paper mace she says and then after months of sleepless nights that is exactly what she has achieved. I will make a miniature Alpaca as small as the palm of my hand, and, weeks later that is what she has made. All these years completing projects that she wanted to do and yet at the end of it all it just adds up to a scattergun menagerie.

Be careful what you wish for.

I wish for a serious long and sustained career writing fiction, and yet I am distracted by journalism, non-fiction, an exegesis. The years are precious. I feel something awful happening to my body, the beginning of an inevitable decay. I sink back into the depression I was free of for all those years. I need to know that my plan is solid and achievable. I need to have my long term goals. I have set myself on the path of writing about sex and therefore I need to value this. Yes I want to write serious novels, but the whole miraculous world of human sexuality allows for much seriousness as well as much frivolity.

I need to be careful about the next projects, make sure that they count, they move me forward, they teach me new skills and help me develop as a writer. I am certain that one day I will end up like a second rate Philip Roth, writing the same novel every year which is published each Christmas, the novella about how I lost my youth and yet am still sexually obsessed with youth. The book of the aging writer. All I can hope is that I find new angles into the universal story of sex. All I hope is that I am open to new ideas, write the book and then move on to something else that develops my work further.

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