Thursday, September 20, 2007

Silent Pens

This is hardly breaking news, but I'm still feeling a touch melancholy about it.

James Oliver Rigney, Jr., more commonly known as Robert Jordan, died on Sunday. He was only 58 years old. He seemed really happy before his diagnosis with cardiac amyloidosis. And he wasn't done with his life's work; he had so much left that he was planning to do. Very very sad. Lots of people die every day, and there's a war going on. So why does this matter so much?

Perhaps because, as a writer, he touched a lot of people. Sure there are valid critiques of his work. Still, I have read many hundreds of pages of his writing, and so someone I know - however distantly - has died. Too soon, too soon.

Madeleine L'Engle (LENG-el, Mom, I was right) also died this month. She was 88 and died of "natural causes." She had a robust body of work, comprising writing for adults and children, poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction. Her work touched me too, probably more so than Jordan's. L'Engle's husband and son were already dead, and she had moved into a nursing home. Over the course of her slow decline, she had osteoporosis and a cerebral hemorrhage. She accomplished a lot in her life, and did some really interesting things. It's not such a terrible way to end.

I had other thoughts, about the disparagement of fantasy literature and its importance in our society, but it turns out that I don't want this to be part of a larger point. Two writers died. I find myself celebrating the life of one, and mourning the loss of the other. That's your time. Pens down.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How's the writing going?

Well, since you asked . . .

I've been to bed earlier than 2:00 am exactly twice in the last couple of weeks. I can't remember the last time I was asleep before 1:00. This is largely a symptom of my own disorganization and poor prioritization/time management, but, nonetheless, it's exhausting.

Currently, I'm feeling enormous pressure to write (all of it self-inflicted). Simultaneously, I'm so tired that I feel numb and uninspired. As is the way of such things, it's hard to keep perspective and realize that one day I will be rested again, and I will have the energy to write. Because all of this is compounded by crippling self-doubt, where I'm so very afraid of failure that I can't even begin.

I know the correct steps to take to make things better: get more sleep, exercise more, make modest and achievable writing goals.

But if I had an easy time doing those things, I wouldn't be the person who's always running late, showing up with wet hair and bags under my eyes.