July 12, 2010

SSFD ~ Week 6

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s Week 6 already. Where is the summer going?! Wait! Aack! I did accomplish my Summer of Shitty First Drafts goal this last week, though I didn’t get a complete first draft written ~ just a little over three pages.

I went to my wonderful dentist this last week, which got me thinking. Years ago, I’d told him I was going to write a story about a dentist, one in which the dentist was not a bad guy. So my visit last week prompted me to start it.

It’s called “Dennis the Dentist” and it’s about a dentist who is suddenly struck by the beauty of the world and takes to sculpting, a natural progression from what dentists do every day. The idea was to follow his arc ~ from sculpting small toothlike objects to experimenting with different media to larger vaguely human-shaped sculptures and then, when he starts working on the teeth of a meth addict, to human decay. Its first sentence is “Dennis was working on an ugly woman.”

I am struck, as I go through this process of SSFD, that I need to rededicate myself to my craft. Sure, I get things accomplished. In fits and starts. But I need to reaffirm my commitment and to assert myself against the world. It’s so easy to do what other people want you to do, to give in, to be an enabler and to act in the service of others. That’s the line of least resistance. But as a writer I need to wrest time away from the world and to police myself, to get the job done EVERY DAY. Every morning, I need to ask myself, when am I going to write today. Even for just 15 minutes. And not just write ~ because I do write every day for my job and for this blog and other things ~ but do the heavy lifting of fiction.

I must be brave, I must work hard, I must prevail!

What I’m Reading Today: My friend Pembroke’s wonderful draft of a zombie novella, Finding Eden. It’s five interconnected short stories told from three peoples’ points of view (unless the last story is from a fourth) telling the story of their journey after the apocalypse to escape the undead and find this mythical place called Eden.

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