Tuesday, September 09, 2008

You load sixteen tons and what do you get...?

...another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don't call me 'cause I can't go
I sold my soul to the company store...

I think I've mentioned in the past, probably more than once, how much I hate the day watch. You're not allowed to sit down, nor to read, no matter how boring it might be - the summer heat in Virginia hasn't yet bled away to winter chill, so this tiny gangway hallway is one of the more uncomfortable places on the ship, and there's apparently no 'dimmer' switch to the flow of people streaming through the door, so things are either 'shoot me in the head' dead slow, or 'ohmigod I'm gonna die' fast.

This is one of the slow periods, hence my ability to update my blog. I love my Sidekick... even though it sucks as a phone, it's internet capability has saved my sanity more times than I can count.

Usually, the way things work, there's three people on watch - two on the gangway and one roaming. Two people on the gangway means that, no matter how busy it gets, there's enough people to deal with it. One person roaming gives you a chance to recharge your batteries, get some head space back after the mindless tedium of standing at a podium, sweating your brains out. Today... there's just me. I've been shackled to this frigging podium going on six hours now, save a half hour meal break and a ten minute water break. It's getting to me.

On the other hand, I've gotten a couple of pages written for my new 'series', West End Blues, so at least there's an occasional silver lining. Knock on wood, this month has shown some promise for my writing - Twilight Exile proceeds apace, WEB has already netted some positive remarks from my peers on RDI, and I'm keeping up decent word counts on each (which will hopefully keep the hungry wielders [not members] of my 'fan club' at bay). All in all, I don't have much in the way of complaining to do.

My brother asked me last night how I was doing. I had to think about it; my usual answer is that I'm "holding a turn". I'm not really going anywhere, or doing anything, I'm just in a kind of pleasant limbo... making good money, home most nights (at least until the ship deploys), I've got a good bunch of friends, a very caring, loving family... I can't really complain. I'm tired all the time, maybe because of the fluctuating work hours, maybe because of the medication I'm on to control my blood pressure, and I wish I had more time to do stuff, but over all, I'm doing well.

He also brought up the possibility of me going through the hoops necessary to publish, and actually try to make a living as an author. It's a conversation he and I have every so often, mainly because he wants to make sure I don't grow too satisfied, or despairing, and give up on my dreams, and it's a conversation I appreciate. It's one I've had with other friends, too, and it's one for which my answer is always the same.

"I'm not ready."

It could be considered a cop-out answer... after all, if you leave it up to the engineers, the project's never ready. Eventually, you have to take it away from them and send it to market. But I still feel that my writing is rough and unready for a mass audience (despite Aly's support that she's read published authors much worse than I), and I haven't completed what I would consider the most basic hurdle - I haven't actually finished something that could be satisfactorily published. I have one (1) completed short story to my name, and a handful of teeny fic... a pair of half finished novels, and some works in progress. Nothing that would make a publisher, or even an agent, sit up and take notice.

But I'm workin' on it. I'm inching for daylight.

What being an author means to me, most of all, is freedom. Not from work; as any writer, even an amateur, would be quick to tell you, an author puts in just as many grueling hours a day as anyone in an office. Not from want, because unless you're Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or John Grisham, chances are you won't make it big in the business. But freedom none the less - freedom to tell the stories I choose to, rather than listening to someone else's. Freedom to travel, because with today's communications, you can send your work in from damn near anywhere.

Freedom to be myself.

Which raises the question... who am I now?

Holding a turn...

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