Sometime today I’m hoping to hear from a surgeon about the best way to treat a spine condition that has more or less crippled me for the last three months. The nerve painkiller I’m taking is causing a tic in my hand. Guitar playing is difficult.
Tomorrow I’m booked in for a colonoscopy, (just a routine check), which means the rest of today and tonight will be undignified to say the least. And, as most of you know, every second day I spend six hours strapped to a machine for my dialysis procedure. What fun!
This morning I limped gamely around our property enjoying the beauty but lamenting the fact that I simply can’t attend to the things that need my attention as result of the drought.
The point of this seemingly self-pitying opening is to say that not being able to do the things I want or need to do is my greatest frustration at present. Not least because I find doing nothing can become habit forming.
Those of you who follow my blogs will know that I made some significant plans and promises upon turning 70. While my promised short story book is well down the road to completion, fact is that was largely just a case of collating and editing. Only two stories have been written in the last 18 months. This is not so much lack of inspiration as it is a lack of motivation.
Most of you think of me as a songwriter (if you think of me at all) so you may wonder why I’m rambling on about my planned book release. Bear with me there’s a connection.
Over the years I have submitted my stories to a number of publishers even one through an agent. And like all writers I received the usual polite rejection letters, each taking pains to assure me I was a good writer but the material was not what they were looking for. I understood. My stories are yarns designed to engage, entertain and surprise in much the same way O Henry did in the past. In that sense they are contrived and not literary works of art. That said, having read some recent collections of ‘selected short stories’ I’ve found most literary works of art to be much like abstract painting, beautiful to some but pointless to most. I prefer to aim at a larger audience.
I raise the self-publishing issue because it’s also known as ‘vanity press’. And I’m conscious and more than a little sensitive about this. Am I publishing because I think my stories deserve exposure or is it just an exercise in ego? Does it even matter?
This allows me to segue somewhat clumsily to my music. I have the same conflict when it comes to recording. I have a bagful of new songs and I think many of them are excellent but … what is the point of recording them?
Is it an expensive hobby? An ego-driven exercise that will surely fall upon deaf ears? Or just a case of a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do?
I plan to start recording very soon. By the end of the year we may have an answer.