Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Today will be the longest day of the year. Since it's well past midnight, and I've yet to sleep, I can believe it.

Tonight, I'm up late for business reasons. My wife, Michelle, has just descended the stairs from our bedroom, bleary-eyed, clutching Dixie away from her body. Our poor little Jack Russell just had a minor accident in her crate. Perhaps Dixie cried, but not loudly enough to wake Michelle from a well-deserved slumber. Then again, it's possible, Dixie simply nursed too much on her water bottle. Whatever transpired, she’s now curled on the sofa, recovering.

As for myself, I'm in my office, listening to pop music and contemplating how to emerge from a recent rut in my writing. My top-secret novel has momentarily stalled because I can't decide whether or not to put a key character to a series of seemingly awful travails. A story I started with the sole purpose of entering a Glimmer Train contest sputtered when I couldn't decide on the precise nature of a secret the protagonist will soon uncover. Worse, I have been unable to write a poem.

Of course, as always, there are extenuating circumstances. Archie was ill, and his suffering served to obliterate my sleep schedule with the efficacy of a pound espresso on an empty stomach. Then, I've had a surprising (for me) amount of business with which to contend, and I'm beginning to suspect I'm losing those fights. Plus, this past weekend was sacrificed for a Father's Day trek to the other side of Ohio.

In short, I'm currently trying to recoup a semblance of what I call normalcy after last week.

Naturally, all of this existential bellyaching is little more than a litany of excuses. Life interferes, sometimes, with writing. Such is life (feel free to insert your favorite cliche for such a sentiment here).

I do think, however, that those excuses amply illustrate one of the reasons why so many people aspire to be writers and so few actually succeed. Indeed, for me, such quotidian interruptions combined with intermittent ambitions for success in the corporate world help explain why ten years after I'd assumed I would have first found some measure of success with my poetry, I'm still working to make certain that a handful of people who have never met me know my name and admire my work.

I, in all honesty, do not know what the future holds. I worry, sometimes, that I'll wind up with a series of unfinished projects—all victim to my apparently lofty critical faculties and the simple intrusions of everyday life. Most of the time, though, I let myself dream. I let myself muse about the tingle of angry adrenaline rushing down my spine as I read the first review of my first slim volume of verse. I allow myself to contemplate the specter of me growing gray in a tweed jacket as I sit before students at a university somewhere, who look up at me expectantly as I draw Freitag's triangle on the blackboard.

Alas, we have only so much time in our lives. Since today is the longest day of the year, I think I'll just break out of my rut.


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