Affirmations & Story

I know. No one wants to read a post about this but … well … I’d like to spend a few minutes to write about writing.

Over the weekend I published a couple more excepts from a serialized story I’ve been working on called The Wander Guy which may, as these things tend to, become yet another temporary experiment in starting a project that I never finish. As always, I find myself with an abundance of creative energy but caught in the endless trap of being locked out of the necessary patterns of lifestyle that would allow me to put in the time to accomplish something so grand as writing a novel.

The words I’m kicking out into the internet here are unpolished. I’m tapping out ideas in the raw and paying heed to little more than their substance while ignoring style and format and consistency.

It is practice. Practice with consequence in the form of publication.

If I could muster the focus, I would build myself into a daily habit of writing something. A daily affirmation of fiction on the page, words in the file.

The effort is less flustered by the time than it is the ability to concoct a new element to a complex story on a daily basis. Inspiration is a fickle friend. She stops by for a visit on her own schedule and ignores the wants and desires of the author.

Daily writing is my holy grail of projects, you see. It is that thing which I can tackle for a few weeks, maybe even a month, but the effort is draining mentally and soon I find myself writing garbage to meet a quota in the hour before bedtime rather than adding positively to an inspiring story.

The Wander Guy is yet another attempt at that daily writing effort… but with a twist. Writing a few hundred words each week with the aim to post another serialized blurb onto a much more grand story by Friday. My weekly affirmations will be to snowball the narrative little by little until it compounds into something worth throwing about.

Until then… just words.

In-fictious

I have this baed habit of writing an explanation post for something that I’m dabbling in, giving a long-winded overview of my plans to pursue some grand project, and then… nothing. It falls out of mind and out of sight and a few years later I stumble across my public avowal to conduct some grand creative effort and wince at the memory, and the reminder that I never even tried a second time, let alone acheived project nirvana.

So as I write here that I had been struck by some creative lightning this morning and sat down to write out the results as a bit of narrative fiction, you dear reader, should understand that my efforts may vrery easily be a one-off even though I feel compelled to explain myself now.

I was struck by some creative lighting this morning and sat down to write out the results as a bit of narrative fiction.

(See what I did there?)

I may write more of that particular thread. I may not. What is more interesting is that I created a new content type on this website to fulfill the creative hankerings resulting from the oft-felt inspiration to just write something. As a result of today’s efforts, a burst of words that I labelled Cracking Wood for no other reason than the software requires that everything have a name and I prefer words to numbers, symbols and clever taxonomic filing systems for these things.

But the fiction? A mere few hundred words, but words nonetheless.

These words I wrote stemmed out of a couple of juxtaposing streams of thought in my mind.

First and a couple days ago, I wrote that post called The Wandering Guy wherein I lamented my lurking desire to live a more interesting life. Take that as you will, but essentially it’s that slow burn of a mid-life crisis that reminds us of our own mortality and having our lack of thrill-seeking adventure and amazingness throwing into our faces via social media, mocking us, as we’re locked down in our neighbourhoods during a pandemic … it has a way of squeezing out through the cracks.

Second, a few of us met for a short social run last night and as we dodged through the trails we came across a hefty tree fallen across the path. Ten meters tall. I couldn’t have hugged my arms around the trunk. This is not a strange occurance in nature, but we were in a groomed trail in the heart of the city, and the tree was splintered and busted up, branches splayed out all over the place, bits of stressed wood shattered by the crack and impact and whatever forces cause these things. It hung high enough across the way for us to crouch underneith it. “Glad I wasn’t around when that guy fell down.” I had remarked to my group as we squeezed past.

So as far as seeds of inspiration go, that was it: one question to set a character down a metaphorical path. What if some guy who was out there kinda living a life, but not as broadly or amazingly as he felt he should, someone who was already feeling in a bit of a rut — what if he had a tree dropped on him. That’s it. So I started writing. And I posted it here. Unedited. Just… raw.

Enjoy. And maybe — just maybe — there will be more some day.

The Wandering Guy

It was a dark and stormy, uh… Wednesday morning.

Adventure beckoned, but the weather was hardly cooperating. I’m no stranger to getting soaked to the bones in a torrential downpour, but I prefer to step out the door with a headstart on the rain. A small cohort of fellow runners and I had paced out a friendly and casual seven kilometer neighbourhood run the previous night, and it had ended with cold rain water sticking our technical athletic shirts with clammy grip to our shivering skin, but we had started before the rain at least. Stepping out the door this morning into the torrent seemed like it would be welcoming a nearly immediate defeat. It was bound to clear eventually. Right?

If not, it was certainly a waste of a perfectly good day off. Well, maybe not perfectly good.

Listening to the rain through the screen door of my kitchen is a reminder that so much of my recent adventuring has been through a screen of another kind. Locked down through a pandemic has a million and one limitations, and not the worst of them (but certainly not the least, either) is the restriction of exploration. International travel is all but forfeit. Zooming off to the mountains for a weekend has been replaced by Zooming(TM) off to the office. Even just trekking into the local trails with friends is a collective effort in practiced physical diligence that is met with judgmental societal scrutity, and not undeservedly during this summer. My adventures have been reduced to a handful of carefully planned exclusive local runs, and watching others explore the world via films and pre-pandemic YouTube videos.

This is bound to clear eventually. Right?

I started this website to write about projects. Projects are vague things to define. Cooking sourdough or making ice cream, are simple crafts, but strung together as a patient effort of trial and error to improve and refine and methodically document successes and failures on that chain is a project. Sketching in a notebook is merely a distraction, but sharing and honing and researching a community of practice in an effort to become better at artistry is a project. Tending a garden is a hobby, but tracking the ecology of a plot of soil in ones own backyard for over a decade and measuring the outcomes of trying to manage and control that ecology is a project. So when I write that going for a walk in the local trails is probably just an activity it is also fair to follow my chain of logic to note that exploring those and other trails, mapping, photographing, and documenting the world that one accesses on foot across decades of ones life is also a kind of project.

I’ve been watching other adventurers turn their lives into projects. Blogs. YouTube. Instagrams. Enviously, yes. Inspired, very much so. Longing to participate in a meaningful exploration that sends a particular sort of existential justification to the world relating to what stepping out the front door between rainstorms really means to me and my temporary, fleeting impression of this world. Also, cautiously. I’m not seeking to become a shallow influencer or a branded individual. I’m not seeking to build an audience or monetize a trend. I’m not seeking fame or fortune.

I’m just…

And that’s the missing piece. Is there room in the modern world for someone who just wants to narrate the thread of their own life for that simple purpose. Is there still space to just make a project out of one’s existence?

I think so.

Out the window, past the good kind of screen, as I’m staring at these words in another, the rain is still pouring down. It is a dark and stormy Wednesday morning, a holiday, and a terrible day to be a rural explorer — at least one who prefers to start dry. Yet the adventurer in me is itching to step outside, past both screens and into the pouring rain.

Life isn’t about the single event, after all. It’s the thread of the story that strings all the crafts, hobbies, efforts, and activities into an adventure. Wet or dry. Rain or shine.