Monday, March 17, 2014

7 Chapters in 5 Days

Those pixel-stained technopeasant wretches. Wait, what?
After Thursday, the plan was to write eleven chapters in seven days.

After Friday, the plan was to write nine chapters in six days.

After Saturday, the plan was to write seven chapters in five days.

Thursday was a very difficult day physically, but I managed to make pace that took me through the weekend, and at the urging of friends, took Sunday off as a breather. That’s reasonable because I’m at pace and over the tricky denouement. The remaining seven chapters are mostly shorter and all the composition has gotten me into the groove where I’m terrifically excited to write them. Some of the best bits of the book are about to spill out of my fingertips.

On Saturday night I went out to celebrate by watching The Wind Rises. It’s a wonderful film and a very interesting piece of art if it’s truly Hayao Miyazaki’s last. It’s about the life of a boy who dreams of building airplanes, living myopically towards his goal which lands him a job in pre-World War II Japan. I couldn’t help wondering if I was projecting things onto it, knowing it might be the end of his career, with its ominous treatment of earthquakes, the frequent shots of exhausted engineers smoking to relieve stress, and the finality of so many elements, even the love story that is stricken by tuberculosis we seldom pretend we can beat. It’s certainly the only anime I’ve seen that’s referenced Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain.

Then, midway through the film, the engineer’s hero mentions that he’s retiring because an artist only ever has ten years in which he’s creative. That sort of line doesn’t make it into this sort of film by accident. Too funny after a career that touched five decades.

I was the only one in the cinema with a scrap of paper. As immersed as I was in The Wind Rises’s humanoid sound designs of planes and curious depiction of a country at war, I kept drifting back to my novel. Am I passed that ten year period already? I don’t know, but I kept having ideas for what I’d just written and what I’ll be writing next. I tainted my own mind by writing so close to seeing the movie, though it’s a testament to how much The Wind Rises gives that it still caught my attention every time I pocketed my scrap of paper.

Now it’s back to work for me. How’s everyone doing?


  1. I am in complete awe at your writing progress. And suspect that after a sustained effort like that (at anything) I would be velcroed to the carpet under the bed, refusing and unable to emerge.
    Here? I finished my classic. And breathed a sigh of relief.

  2. You've been a real workaholic haven't you - but I'm glad you took a break to go to the cinema ^_^

    Me, I'm writing the finishing chapter to Wizard my serial that a few are following.

  3. I think that's the fear in all of us...will the ideas stop? It's too horrible to imagine.

  4. Only ten years? That is a scary thought.
    Hope you knock out those remaining chapters!

  5. Glad to hear you at least had a productive week and a nice break at the end. And it's good that you didn't let yourself overdo things. Revising goals is a perfectly valid thing to do when the original ones aren't feasible.

    But I strongly disagree with that "creative for only ten years" line. Like you said, "too funny after a career that touched five decades." It can easily take ten years to develop as an artist, so your career would be over just as it begins. I could see, after ten years of success, the temptation to rest on one's laurels and stretch a franchise series too far, but that's getting off-topic.

  6. Wow, 7 chapters in 5 days? I don't know how you do it. And yeah, similar to what Larry said, I think that it takes at least 10 years of work just to get decent at this writing gig, nevermind even thinking about quitting. Art's a lifetime calling.

  7. Ten years isn't long enough.

    Also, you progress has been terrific.

  8. I love the excitement of writing. It's been lacking in my life lately and I'm envious of your progress. But I wish you to keep it up and keep going. Ten years, pssh, blow past that without a second though. ;)

  9. Sounds like you are rocking the writing. I hope the words are flowing onto the page in just the way you hoped they would. I don't believe that about 10 years of creativity. Maybe for some, but there are lots of exceptions to that in the arts.

    P.S. I accepted the job. I'll blog about it later once I deliver my letter o'resignation, but thanks for asking.

  10. Lol. I find the higher you set your goals, the more you can achieve.


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