Since returning from Portugal, almost two weeks ago, I have been engaged in a ferocious internal debate: what should I focus my energies on next (other than preparing to move to Portugal next year)?
The choice is ternary:
a) Do nothing; hang out; chill; exercise; lose weight; ignore whatever happens with the coming election and the daily fulminations of the orange asshole and his friends and supporters; or,
b) develop a WP plug-in idea that I had a few months ago, one that I think has realistic commercial promise; or,
c) Write the novel I have been thinking (and talking about endlessly) about since 2005.
The first choice is the easiest. Gripe about Trump, while spinning around in a state of powerless fury and resentment, and spewing forth the occasional rant in this blog that few will bother reading.
The second, ambitious, but — at age 67 — unlikely to happen, except very slowly, if at all.
There was a time when I was quite good at designing and managing the implementation of large-scale financial database applications; alas, tech is nothing if not a young person’s game, and with my eyesight such as is it is nowadays, and my grasp of modern computer languages and paradigms poor to nonexistent, I take an, er, dim view of the likelihood of accomplishing anything notable in that regard anytime soon, even on a hobby basis. I was good at it, once, and was well paid for it; but that train left the station a long time ago.
The third choice is more promising (and quite frankly, engaging at an intellectual level) — providing I keep my expectations low, keep at it every day, and allow my imagination to run free of any constraint, to go where it wishes, without any self censorship, which has been a big problem in the past.
While writing a book in one’s dotage is perhaps the most clichéd of all endeavors — I find that I continue to have a great interest in literature; beyond that, the urge to write has never left me. I can’t stop doing it, literally.
For example today, as I was bicycling past one of the Sand Crane families that live around my house, I was able for the first time to picture the opening scene for that novel I have been thinking about since those أفيون-filled days, when I hung out in hippie Dahab a decade or so ago, before it fell to commercialization and lost its many charms.
So… the answer is clear. Read widely, write every day, and stay healthy. Who knows: maybe, at last, 2019 will the year that I complete a novel.
Should that miracle happen — the one that in fact no one is holding their breath for — I will make sure I send a signed copy to the good folks of Mizna — who rejected a story of mine this year, making it the third submission in a row that they tossed in the trash bin.
My memory is quite long about such things, and I will show them could be a great motivator, except that, at my age, such a sentiment would be unseemly.
Besides, there are a lot of things that need to be talked about through the medium of fiction… horrible things, for sure, undignified for sure, scandalous no doubt, at least to a person holding a stereotypical American or Arab/Egyptian frame of reference, yet insistent on being expressed nonetheless, instead of being swept under the magic carpet of neocon bombast and fascist suppression of whatever stripe.
Let’s see what happens.