February 4: Not quite as big as I hoped

The week I mean…

I should have known better than to look forward to a week that felt big, let alone was big. There aren’t many of those and this certainly wasn’t one. I didn’t get Cottonwood to the formatter. Instead I spent too much time noodling on the question of whether it needed a preface or some kind of introduction. I imagined something that linked Cottonwood gracefully back to John J. McDermott & the 1971 U.S. Open but in the end I just didn’t want to. I suppose I can rationalize the decision by my thought that even though both books are connected, they are intended to be capable of standing on their own, and I hope they do.

The whole deal found me learning about a mistake I made in JJM. I wrote the foreword. By convention a foreword should be written by someone other than the author.

That error, unsurprisingly, got me thinking about other introductory elements of a book’s front matter.

Beyond foreword there could be a preface, a prologue and an introduction. I suppose a writer could aspire to have all of them in one book but somehow for Cottonwood it feels to me like none of them fit, or are needed, so I have elected to leave them all out. Plus, it will keep me from writing another foreword that should really have been a preface or an introduction.

I should have known better than to expect a lot from a week because I felt like I needed a lot. That’s never worked, at least not in my experience. I had a zoom with one of my clients in Japan tonight. He seemed a little bit at odds as if he too was looking for something to happen, because he needed it to happen. I saw his situation totally differently than he did. I saw only his energy and dedication while all he could sense was a need for progress he couldn’t quite define.

I wanted a big week and he wanted a big whatever and neither of us got our wish.

Big week or not, I should have accomplished more this week than I did. I know that’s true but I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is follow my advice to my young client in Japan; just keep at it and don’t let up. You cannot control events, you can only control your efforts and choose where and how to apply them.

Maybe someday I’ll learn the lessons I try so hard to convey to my clients.

I know I’ve neglected my writing soundtrack the last couple days. The truth is that I’ve not been listening to much music the last couple days, other than the LPs I’ve managed to upload. Tonight’s different and so I have a different kind of writer’s soundtrack that anyone can enjoy. It’s The Shins Live at Hurricane from way back in 2012. You can easily find it at YouTube and it’s worth the search.

They were really a band in full back in 2012 to borrow a phrase from Tom Wolfe. Deep Sea Diver’s Jessica Dobson was still serving as James Mercer’s guitar hero back then (there’s yet another longish blog post I need to write) and the band effortlessly flowed and ripped and glided their way through a rainy outdoor set in Germany. I’m not sure who owns the rights to that video but I hope it stays on YouTube forever because I really need it from time to time…like tonight.

Thanks for reading.

February 4: Not quite as big as I hoped

January 8: A profound optimism.

I know I’ve mentioned this before but I want to get into it again, at least briefly. The purpose of this journal is to keep my writing brain sharp while this eventful year makes it way toward the next. Behind this is a belief, really a profound optimism. It is the optimism that says that I have more books to write, better books at that. I suppose there’s no reason to believe it. After all, most writers are winding down by the time they’re 60. There are exceptions of course, but as is always the case the exceptions involve the work of exceptional writers and that ain’t me.

Still, the optimism persists. I can’t identify its source but I can feel it.

So this journal, even though it costs me a few hundred words a day worth of time and effort, is intended to help be stimulate my tiny writer’s brain toward finding what’s next for me. For the most part, the journal is for me. It’s about what I’m thinking or imagining or worrying about. Today was a typical Saturday. A weekend day of awakening late and listening to the oral arguments in the Supreme Courts cases involving the federal vaccine mandates, especially Biden v. Missouri. Eventually, I did drag myself out of bed and started my day but it was quite late. I looked ahead to a Zoom meeting I had with one of my clients in Japan, the maker of a high end putter. The meeting was scheduled for 4pm my time so I kind of set my whole day up so I could deal with the meeting and the fifteen minutes that I estimated it would take.

Wrong. It took nearly an hour and left me contemplating an explanatory email to make all of my verbal meanderings more comprehensible to my client. Sure, his English is about a million times better than my Japanese but my ongoing estimate of the instances wherein what I say is wholly understood by him seldom exceeds 30%, and I am not being unduly pessimistic.

See? My optimism extends beyond my creative writing and into my day job. What can you say about someone who thinks as I do?

Tomorrow I will meet the morning with breakfast followed by the crafting of my email to my client, who is meeting with his investor on Tuesday morning, which of course means Monday to me also meaning I cannot put it on ice over the weekend. But, even though winter get’s me sleeping more I feel good about my overall energy level. Things seem possible, if challenging, and everything seems designed to push me forward to destinations unknown and I certainly like that.

By the way, I know I have already blown my promise to myself from yesterday. Rather than finishing today’s post before the sun went down I started this right before 11pm…again. Well, there’s always tomorrow. But I will tell you this; there’s nothing like the last night flow when it comes to writing, at least mine.

Speaking of flow, today’s writing soundtrack flows from last night’s. It’s Bill Evans Interplay Sessions from 1962. Come on; it’s Bill Evans at his peak. Plus, it includes some of the only playing from Freddie Hubbard I actually enjoy. If you like jazz but have never heard it, buy in now. If you’ve never really listened to jazz but want to try it to see if you like it, this is some of the best you’ll ever hear and it’s as accessible as it gets. It’s just beautiful stuff from the first track until the end. Is it better than Evan’s 1976 Quintessence? We can argue about that another time.

In the meantime thanks for reading…again.

January 8: A profound optimism.