Thursday, June 30, 2016
My latest manuscript is in the hands of my editor. It will more than likely be after the Independence Day holiday before I hear the verdict. I expect a great deal of rewriting is in my future.
In the meantime, I, Donis, am working on a couple of short stories, doing some book reviewing. Trying to accomplish something. Anything. But it is summer in southern Arizona and trying to get anything done is problematic to say the least. A friend of mine pointed out that Arizona summers are the price we pay for our gorgeous winters. The winters are fantastic and it is nice to rub it in when it's seventy degrees and sunny here and ten below with fifteen feet of snow and ice everywhere else. However, summer is a steep price to pay.
The past week or so hasn't been too bad. Daily highs of 108ºF to 111ºF. One can tell a long-time Arizonan by the fact that she thinks as long as it's below 110ºF, that's "not too bad". Early in June we had several days between 115º and 118º. They were predicting 120º, so we dodged the bullet there.
There are Arizonans who brag about surviving or even loving the heat, just as native North Dakotans brag about the cold. But I'm not one of them. Three months of super heat is exhausting. I get cabin fever. I try to get any errands done in the morning, but banks and stores often don't open before nine or ten a.m., and it's already hot enough for sunstroke by then.
My writing life is not helped by my heat-induced ennui. I have to gear myself up for the task of writing. A few years ago I read an interview with Walter Mosely in which he said it was no problem for him to sit down day after endless day and write, since to him writing was like having to have sex every morning. It may be his job, but he still enjoys it very much.
I wish I were the same. I don’t love it, as a rule, especially when I’m just beginning a new work. I love the ideas, I love working out the details of the story. I love the imagining. But for me writing the first draft is like writing a term paper. What I really love - the endorphin rush for me - comes when I am finished, or nearly so. Then I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and amazement that I created something that I like so much. Because I always write what I like to read.