Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 14: Only His Ideas Were Good, Saints, Abandoned

Billy's fiancee had finished her Three Musketeers Candy Bar.  Now she was eating a Milky Way.

"Forget books," said Rosewater, throwing that particular book under his bed.  "The hell with 'em."

"That sounded like an interesting one," said Valencia.

"Jesus--if Kilgore Trout could only write!" Rosewater exclaimed.  He had a point:  Kilgore Trout's unpopularity was deserved.  His prose was frightful.  Only his ideas were good.

Only his ideas were good.  I can sympathize with Kilgore Trout.  I have great ideas all the time for things to write.  The problem is in the execution.  If my writing journals ever see the light of day, I will be incredibly embarrassed.  They are full of crap.  Starts and stops.  Fits and detours.  Ninety-five percent of what I scribble is absolute vomit.

The problem, it seems, for Kilgore Trout is that he publishes the vomit.  My problem is that I work on projects for so long--essays, poems, short stories--that it becomes difficult for me to decipher the good from the bad.  Everything looks like crap.

For example, I have been working on a project about Catholic saints off-and-on for many years.  It's an idea that simply won't leave me, so I will see it through to completion.  However, everything that I've written reads like Kilgore Trout--good idea, bad execution.  That frustrates me.  That's why I take long breaks from the project.

That is the life of a writer.  Laboring away in isolation on a piece of writing that might turn out to be absolute garbage.  Or it might turn out to be a Slaughterhouse Five.  Eventually, for me, it's a matter of simply letting go.  I think to myself, "I can't do this anymore," and I call it done.  Leonardo da Vinci once wrote, "Art is never finished, only abandoned."  I really believe that.

I am home with my wife for one more day.  I plan to clean the house and work on my saint book some more.  I'm not quite ready to abandon it yet.

Saint Marty is thankful for saints and writing today.

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