No, you did not read that wrong. This is not another boring entry about my vacation. It is a boring entry about indecision and writing.
I have written three more novels and roughed out a fourth. One is in its first draft and needs a lot of work (only has a working title of Island). Another is sorta finished, has been toyed with more than once, and still needs a lot of work. Just as humans evolved from single cell creatures, this one has evolved from my initial step into writing (tentative title: fLYING Is Easy). The third is the first novel I completed from beginning to end many years ago. I keep returning to it; it has been re-written and fiddled with more times than I care to admit. (Title: Hell Is Other People) It is finished...but I might never be satisfied...
I can’t decide which one to polish, get ready for publication, and add to my collection of Best-kept Secrets of American Literature. As with children, I like each one for how it is, and each has good and less-good aspects. Occasionally, I get sick of them and don’t want anything to do with them.
Writing is not like baking, where one mixes ingredients, shoves a pan in the oven, and hopes to get a decent, tasty finished product. Stories must be played with, changed, erased, fixed, fretted over, and polished. Each word must be pondered—usually more than once—to determine if a better one might come to mind. The next round might even see a return to the previously discarded word. No book is finished until ink has been put to paper and the pages bound. Even then, I see words or phrases that could be improved...which is merely change for change sakes. (That explains why my first novel, mentioned above, is still not available.) Ancient hieroglyphic writers had it tougher: they had one shot to make an impression on moist clay. Did any ponder a hardened tablet and wish that they had chosen a different symbol?
With summer rushing to its inexorable end, I need to focus on a project; finishing a book for publication is a good waste of my time. After reading an article about Joseph Heller, I’m leaning towards the one that takes place during the Vietnam War. It is not about me, although I do draw upon memories of what I saw and learned. My experience in Vietnam was too boring for a novel, and fiction is all about lying.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.