The Pen Is Mightier Than Me

I’m that Tired Guy the one who gets a little slower, a trifle grayer and a bit bulkier with each passing day. I’m that Tired Guy languishing somewhere in the middle…well more like reclining in an awkward position wondering how I got that way in the first place.

I guess I just haven’t been hungry for sandwiches lately.

Or perhaps I’ve simply been too busy.

Work.

Children.

More work.

Did I mention children?

Tonight’s offering is going to ramble a lot I think. There might be song lyrics. There might be movie quotes. There might even be humor.

(Try to contain yourselves, my loyal followers. The excitement is nearly killing me too.)

Actually, probably none of the above.

It’s a Friday night, quarter into the hour, and Mrs. Tired Guy and I were headed downstairs to watch our shows. As part of my evening’s ritual I hit up Facebook to read the latest bulletin board ramblings. On a side panel there was a note from me one year ago today stating I had completed another Tired Guy installment.

And so I fired up iTunes, hopped onto the blog site and let my fingers wander where they may.

Recently a friend asked how my writing was going. As some of you may know I’ve pretended to be a high-fantasy (e.g. The Lord of the Rings kind of stuff) novelist for many years. I have about 3-4 solid chapters written…and by solid I mean each chapter contains more than 2 pages and none of them start with “It was a dark and stormy night”.

Are they any good? I honestly don’t know. Mrs. Tired Guy thinks so, but I bought her opinion with a few carats about four years ago. I submitted one to a writing contest (actually, I submitted it twice to the same contest – once each year) about five years ago.

I didn’t win. Either time.

Interestingly enough both times two out of the three judges provided glowing praise for my work.

The third?

Hated it. Each time.

So I guess two out of three like my writing. You’d think I’d use that as motivation, get off my sorry ass and put more words to the virtual paper, try to figure out how to get that third person to like my writing.

But I haven’t.

Am I lazy?

Probably.

Am I intimidated? Frightened? Filled with a lack of confidence the size of Texas?

More likely.

Oh I have no delusions of grandeur. I’m not looking to be the next Tolkien, Bradbury, Martin or Rowling. Their stuff is legendary. It’s epic. Sweeping landscapes, imaginary genius and compelling characters the likes of which only Peter Jackson or HBO can truly capture.

Ok, minus Jackson. I hated those movies. Maybe not as much as Episodes I – III but THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a blog post for another day.

The power of the written word has always fascinated me. While many of my closest friends and family jab me with descriptors like “long-winded” and “you use twenty words when three would suffice” and “just get to the point you old fool” and…ok, you get it.

Funny thing is for me, writing is like listening to a melody. The words, sentences, syntax, grammar – all of it needs to flow, steady and sure. I actually enjoy reading what I write. So wouldn’t you think if I enjoyed it, then I could write something others would enjoy as well, and say “Hey, that’s not half bad!” I’d build off of the positive feedback, armor myself against the negative criticism and soak up like a sponge the worthwhile critique…make my writing stronger, flow better, create a finer song.

And yet I haven’t. The years roll on and my creativity comes and goes sporadically, erratically, cryptically, slowly, agonizingly and painfully intermittently. Hell it’s why I haven’t written anything here since my birthday post!

Stress is a symptom, naturally. My job takes a lot out of me on a daily basis. And since I’m the only bread-winner in our family of four plus three dogs and a cat the weight of that daily grind takes a huge toll on my inner resources. Fortunately I have been blessed with a woman whose inner strength is only surpassed by her compassion for her family. So I can get through the grueling work weeks knowing Mrs. Tired Guy’s got my back.

Still, the mental exhaustion leaves little opportunity for creative thought. I agreed to that sacrifice when we decided to have children. I knew right from the start how all-consuming it is to be a parent. And I have two boys, so many of you are just nodding right now in complete understanding.

So why can’t I take the time and jot down notes, a bit here, a dribble there, a smattering of text against a white electronic sheet that may or may not mean something?

I mentioned laziness earlier. I come home, help with dinner, baths, playing with the boys, bedtime…and all of a sudden it’s 8 o’clock, my shoulders are slumped, and my energy is gone. It’s a lot easier to flop on the bed and turn on ESPN than it is to sit in front of the screen and think about characters in a story, their lives, their motivations, the actions, scenes, background, everything required for a good story to come together.

Ok, maybe that’s not laziness but really it’s a conscious decision on my part not to force myself into the computer chair.

I do think I have an On/Off button though. Once in awhile that “jazz” hits me and I actually write something. Tonight, for example.

What I need is discipline. Get into a habit of writing, and stick to it. Take some time out of each day and write a minimum of three sentences. How hard is that?

You’d be surprised.

But I should do this.

I think tonight’s sandwich is really just me stream-of-conscious working it all out. I need to motivate myself, get this damn story written. Published? That’s an entirely different issue and one that has no realism if there isn’t a story to publish.

No, I need to get cracking on this. Even write this blog a bit more consistently. After all, I think I have one or two fans left out there in the great aether. And even if no one ever reads this…well I surely will. Because I like the sound of my own writing, even when it rambles like tonight’s does.

Now I think I’ll go pull out an unfinished chapter and concentrate on three sentences, see where that takes me.

I’m glad we had this talk.

G’night folks!

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