Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Very minor progress

Poor neglected blog. It's been awhile, I know.

I took that long trip referred to in the last post, had a couple weeks concentrating on paid work, and then took another long trip. So, lots of excuses for not working on the book. But the main excuse is that I don't know what I'm doing with it, so when I do have time, I'm intimidated and end up wasting the time. (I'm at GMT +7 right now, with very few cable channels and getting quite homesick, so when I see a baseball game is being broadcast live during my morning coffee, it's pretty easy to give in to that for a couple hours.) And it's so freaking hot here. It's just plain difficult to work.

But there has been some tiny bit of progress, though it is difficult to characterize. Basically, I've been stewing about the book now and then and taking a few notes. I've got an idea of a theme that I want to explore.

Which may be the kiss of death. Thinking too much about theme is probably fatal to the art. It's easy to drift over into graduate student thesis territory, and I'm better wired for that mistake than most. The way to avoid trouble, I think, is to keep thinking of it as an exploration. Exploring a theme should be OK. Presenting a theme is trouble.

In a sense, I've been feeling like the book isn't ambitious enough, even though I don't have a basic story yet and no prospect of ever finishing. I need it to be more worthwhile -- more worth the effort. The stewing I've been doing and the field of exploration I've come up with have been feeling a lot more reassured on that point.

In all honesty, I don't anticipate that I actually pounding out the pages for a couple months at least. I have a month more on this trip and some recovery time, and I'm thinking about returning to my first book for revisions during the summer. That's a big decision that I'm still thinking about. My plan is to get home and do a reboot and situational analysis.