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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

the best excuse

Yesterday when I came down in the afternoon, when I usually might write a blog-post, I found myself opening up my notes document for the next chapter (27) and working on that. In so doing, I was fulfilling an age-old plan to work in this way: write prose in the morning, and push on with notes in the afternoon. This is how a productive person would work, so why not me too?

I am productive. I'm not producing as much of what I would like, but I am producing a fair amount of material, mostly notes. Mainly what happens is that I get fed up with the project. I get bored with thinking about it any more, and want to push it away, with a feeling not unlike that which accompanies taking one bite too many of a wiener: a sense of surfeit and the first involuntary movements of the gag reflex. At that point it's my body rather than my mind saying, "No more wiener!"

The idea of working that way was that the afternoon note-making would clear the brush ahead so I could continue in the mornings building the road of narrative. It's a good idea and I stand by it. The problem is in implementation: the reality that in many ways, I'm lucky to get anything done, in any way, on this massive project, on any given day.

While I was washing the dishes just now I recalled a quote from the ancient slave-philosopher Epictetus: "We ask the gods for what they have not given, when they have already given us so much."

I should be grateful for the leisure I have still got to work on this project, and for whatever I manage actually to achieve toward completing it.

Anyway: that by way of excuse for not writing a blog-post yesterday. I came down today thinking perhaps to write just a short post of explanation before doing some more note-making, but I struggled to log on to my Google account: it is much more difficult now that I have opted to use their "improved" Blogger. The blame probably also lies with my security software: Trend Micro's PC-cillin, which seems to have massive amounts of code that hog most of my computer's resources, and interferes with my ability to load Web pages. The latest version of my old security provider, Kaspersky, would not install on my PC, despite being compatible with Windows 98 SE.

Yes, I need a new PC. And therefore...money. And therefore...a different career.

No--I'm not going to ask the gods. They have already given so much.


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