You might have noticed last week’s unexpected absence. I certainly did. At the risk of being overly graphic, some kind of gut bug hit me hard enough to make me cry in pain while spraying poop for the first time in my life. So any thoughts of blogging were entirely subsumed by the worry that I was actually dying. Naturally, that was an overdramatic fear, as 48 hours later I was well enough to get back to the office.
I also avoided the dental hell I’d been dreading, mainly because of the incompetence of the guy who had been my primary dentist, so I’m waiting for the actual appointment to get the tooth removed. And looking for a new primary care dentist. The tooth (which harbors an infection at its root) is my prime suspect for the unexpected, quick-moving flu experience. So an extraction is still in my immediate future and will likely still raise its own existential fears.
But once again, a random Facebook quote drew my attention this week. It spoke to me, and is a message worth sharing. Especially since dreams are, in my case, the source of inspiration for a great number of my stories. In fact, that was the essence of a guest post I did for Pauline Baird Jones’ blog on the topic of “Why I Wrote The Builders.”
For the first time in months, too, I managed to beat my weekly word count goal. This week, I manage 2,868 words across four days. I rediscovered my old buddies at the #wordmongering thread on Twitter, and for some reason, getting back in the groove of time-bounded writing sprints has gotten me out of the writer’s doldrums. If I keep this up, I will make my deadline.
But this week I also discovered that Peter S. Beagle, the author of The Last Unicorn (one of my long-time favorite stories), is facing writer’s doldrums of an entirely different sort. Evidently he’s had to bring suit against his former business manager for elder abuse and rights management shenanigans, so I’m doing what I can to spread the word about supporting a fellow artist. Anyone who can so clearly state the hero’s journey has obviously earned that assistance:
“The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch’s door when she is already away on vacation. The wicked uncle cannot be found out and foiled before he does something wicked. Things must happen when it is time for them to happen. Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever. The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”
-Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
Which brings me to two articles about happy endings. These are the genre requirements for every romance, per the Romance Writers of America professional association, as well as the inciting author of the Hotel Paranormal series I contributed to. Her entirely relevant argument is that genre labels are there to help manage readers’ expectations. If you market a book to a reader under the “romance” genre, you will have an upset or even angry reader if you don’t play by the rules you’ve claimed as part of your marketing. The second article talks about the cultural relevance of a genre that outearns the next-closest to it by an almost two-to-one factor and accounts for 34% of the US fiction market. As that author states, going far beyond the trashy label that yet clings to the genre is also part of what pushes me forward in my writing. I like to imagine that my concept of what it means to be a woman might have some resonance outside my personal, everyday experience, and may also contribute to the mental models other people build of other women.
As for my other goals, we’re definitely picking up steam on the walking front. My phone says my daily average this week was 2,981, up 200 from my last check-in. The date-night with hubs, thing, though… well. We got a couple of unexpected days together, even if those were more about getting over a bug than truly enjoying each other’s company. And we had a friend and her boys down for a day of doing something completely different.
It was enough juice to keep me pushing forward with my goals, and I encourage you to visit the other ROW80ers to see how they’re doing. See you next week.