Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Me as an angry middle-aged zombie by my good pal Mark Masztal! I frequently feel like the angry walking dead!

My mom informed me today that Mary and I are now at the same age she and my dad were when Mary and I were married 32 years ago.

Our anniversary was Dec. 30.

And my dad was already retired at age 56.

That was the random factoid that got me thinking on the first day of the New Year.

You see 2010 was a rough year. Now “rough” is a relative term. We still have jobs. We can still pay our bills – although a little more dough a month would make things easier. We haven’t lost out home.

There are too many folks who are struggling with just life these days.

We had some events this year that weren’t pleasant as well as some financial surprises that complicated matters.

But what my mom said to me underscored the need to me to get some stuff done.

The problem being a reporter at a newspaper – for me at least – is that you’re not considered a “writer” by many. One of my journalism professors at UMass compared being a reporter to being a potter. We know what goes into a story and we repeat it over and over. Now, if you’re a good reporter, you make those recurring elements better than those who are just going through the motions.

But you’re still throwing the essentially same pot – or a variation of it – over and over. At best you’re an artisan not an artist.

Ah, that was encouraging and that was at the beginning of my career! The beauty of my job is that every day offers something new and different. If I’m a potter, I might be making a plate or a serving bowl or something other than a freaking pot.

As I get older I get tired of having to deal with people who view what I do as some sort of short order cooking. I follow a recipe and the results are perhaps tasty, but ephemeral.

I spend anywhere from 50 to 60 hours a week at my job. It gives me little time to pursue other writing. Yes, I’ve done two books, but they were jobs that I could handle in the time I had.

The book projects sitting on my mind’s shelf require more time. I need to make time for these projects.

I worked on two book proposals this year and made great progress on one of them – the “secret project” I hinted about on Facebook. This project I think could sell but is of a topic that might embarrass my boss or cause someone at work to feel harassed even though I am writing it on my own time. I’ll probably use a pseudonym.

I despise, loathe and hate the hypocritical nature of “political correctness” these days.

I also wrote three comic book stories in 2010 for a proposed project that has just now gone down the tubes. Because they involve characters owned by my friend Steve, I can’t do a thing with them.

So, what’s the agenda for 2011? Write, write, write. Try to sell a book. Try to sell two books.

I’ve reached a critical mass on Tom Tyler material and I want to assemble a book on the guy who was the B-Western star who wanted to act, but I really, really doubt I could find a publisher on that topic. I might put something together for a self-publishing outfit such as Lulu.

I’ll keep you informed. The clock is running.

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