Thursday

Evening, friends. I hope this basement missive finds you and yours doing well.

Got back a little while ago from taking the dogs for a stroll around the older parts of the neighborhood. I can’t say for certain, but I think this pocket of homes must have been put up first, and then the subdivisions followed. Lot sizes are larger, parcels of land are more spread out. There’s a nice loop, with the far side of the circle passing by a pond, where Canadian geese and their fuzzy goslings travel at night. This route makes for a slightly longer walk, and because there are fewer homes and lots, there are also fewer dogs.

Please don’t take that the wrong way.

I have nothing against other dogs, just when other dogs are off leash in the front yard. They tend to bolt toward my dogs and me, and then we have stop and wait for the owner of the off-leash dogs to come and retrieve their wayward canines. There’s usually some kind of awkward exchange which consists of apologies, assurances not to worry because said dog is super friendly, and/or shoulder shrugs, a what-are-you-gonna-do type of gesture. Not a super big deal, but quickly becomes irksome, hence the predilection for the old neighborhoods.

In addition to getting exercise, one of the things I like most about taking evening walks is the time to think. True, I usually have a podcast going in my ears (tonight I listened to Marc Maron’s interview with Paul McCartney...had no idea The Beatles were pals with The Rolling Stones), and filling in my head with noise isn’t the most conducive for deep thinking, but I manage to get the machinery working enough to land on some helpful ideas.

I like to think about writing while I walk, and it’s while thinking about writing that I try to get my writing done. In fact, it’s where most of my writing’s getting done these days. This will sound like I’m making excuses and I suppose that I am, but with the wrapping up of the school year and with the birth of George, I sort of fell out of the habit of consistently putting words on the page. And as with any kind of habit, it’s difficult to create good habits, and incredibly easy to break them. I got used to not writing on a regular basis, and any time I tried to get on my own case about the lack of writing, I’d explain it away with the magic of tomorrow. “I didn’t get my pages done today, oh that’s okay, I’ll just write more tomorrow.” Except I wouldn’t, and the unwritten words and pages stacked up. I had lots of ideas, and I would jot them down in my notebooks or into Evernote, but they remained as ideas, as scraps. I didn’t transform them into story. I’d also gotten to a point where I’d given myself writer’s block, and not writer’s block int he sens that I didn’t know what to write next, but the true writer’s block of worry about whether or not what I put down on the page was going to be any good. Self-imposed paralysis stemming from a fear of mediocrity.

But now that it’s summer, and George is beginning to settle into routines of his own, and family life returns to a new normal around him, I’m hoping to reestablish some good habits. I’m working on a story that I initially thought was going to be a piece of short fiction, but now might be a little longer. It began as a pantser piece, but I’m realizing I need to go back and do some plotting. It’s also currently in a close third POV, but I think I’m going to change it to first (which is real similar to close third) or go with an omniscient third. I think this is a necessary change, because right now the story’s voice is sounding a helluva lot like the novel I worked on for my thesis. That being said, I think I need to push to the end as is, then do some massive overhauls on the next draft.

That’s about all I have right now. I’m going to watch a little bit of Legion (picked up season one from the library…thanks GRIVER) then read some more from A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by CA Fletcher before turning in. Tomorrow’s a new day, rife with opportunities for creating some good habits.

Goodnight, Huzzah, and be well!

-Ryan

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