Writing Sabbatical Part 1- problems with sabbaticals

12 10 2010

So I’ve taken three weeks at my father’s house outside of Philadelphia to do carpentry, think and- Squid help me, get some writing done. I’ve been here nearly a week and I have written, well, nothing. Until today. It hit me. A good idea. A simple idea. Understated with the perfect last line. Much of it comes from actual experience, tangential and approached from odd angles. I have the (mis)fortune of having killed a lot of large mammals in my child hood, skinning them, removing their entrails etc. and that sort of thing gives a person of my temperament a certain psychological-histamine reaction in later life. For example, I spent several years as a vegan. Nothing will make you doubt the love you have for your self like having a young deer’s intestines hanging underneath it like a garden hose rehung by a mentally deficient and painfully nearsighted child, then having your grandfather make a disgusted face and say, “I’m going inside, looks too damn much like a man.” My grandfather’s long combat service makes such episodes chilling on many levels. For my part, the part of a very sensitive and caring child, there were only a few options to growing up in a family of hillbilly extraction- move to the city at 18 to become a writer, or stay home to become a meth addled hoodlum that stole the occasional car/tv, or ATV and tried to hide the body of the stripper that I killed in a drunken crash on the way home from The Alley Cat. Or I could become a serial killer- I don’t really know how that alchemy works. Either way I chose the former and now I am in Philadelphia digging for fire to quote the teenager of the year (get that reference and I’ll join your fan club). So today I was watching the first leaves fall and I was thinking about the time, eighteen years ago when the old man marched me out into the woods in the dark clutching a 30.06 to my chest, knowing that the things I was afraid of would look at such a weapon as the merest of annoyances. I went up into the tree and sat and hoped that nothing would be so unlucky as to walk beneath me.

So I have a story to write. I reveal a kernel here because it is just that- a kernel. I’m a science fiction writer, and I will cobble that into a science fiction story. No, the 30.06 will not become an HK 10mm pulse caseless pulse rifle. I will encounter nothing horrific in the woods, but the deer was not the only think to die that day and I can take endings as far as I want.

The Science of Fiction. Coming to you from the shores of the Brandywine where Washington fought some Hessians and where that wonderful and loyal aide-de-camp to Washington, Joseph Reed, fled back to his family before the redcoats marched on The City of Brotherly Love.  Fidelis, Philia.

It's prettier in person.

 

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