May flowers bring June smellers. Or pilgrims.

I’m writing again!

That doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, since I’m a professional journalist and editor, so I’m always writing stuff. But what I mean is that I’ve started writing creatively again. I said here last month that I hadn’t written any new spoken-word material in about a year and a half. Well, now I’ve applied myself and written two new pieces. They probably suck, for all I know, but at least it’s progress. I won’t know if they’re any good until I try them out on an open mic. One is another “dialogue” piece, one of those two-voice pieces I do (like “The Jim Show” or “Gubmint Lie to You”) and sometimes wonder if they should really be scripts or comedy sketches instead of fake poetry. The other is a really short piece of fiction that’s guaranteed to offend somebody, in the “A Love Letter” or “Cocky” tradition, which is why I may avoid reading it in public and just put it away somewhere and forget it. At least it doesn’t have the word “hooker” in it, though. Come on, that would be unforgivable.

I have other ideas, too. Ideas for short stories, even for short novels. I’m thinking of taking notes and drafts I made for another one-person Fringe show, several years ago, and reworking them into a long piece of fiction, which I imagine would be too short to be a novella, but longer than the typical short story. Would it be any good? Probably not. And even if it were, I can’t imagine who would want to publish it.

Getting started is always the hardest part for me. Once I’m in a rhythm, I can keep going on for a while if I let myself. But it’s the getting started that’s a tough barrier. Also, getting into the habit – the discipline of setting aside part of every single day to write (not counting paid work, of course). I used to be good at the latter, when I was young and had more time on my hands – before I had to make a living.
Why do I want to write fiction again? Why am I drawn back to it every so often? Broken Pencil once said that I don’t even know what fiction is. York University’s creative-writing program hammered it into me again and again, with all the subtlety and tact of a tap-dancing bulldozer, that I didn’t have what it takes to be a fiction writer and never, ever, ever, ever, ever would. The trouble is that whenever I want to do something artistic and creative – be it fiction writing, spoken word, theatre, comedy – I always want to do it my way. And my way always seems to be the wrong way. I don’t know how to conform, or maybe I just have a knee-jerk aversion to it because doing the same thing everybody else does takes the fun out of it.

“But writing isn’t supposed to be fun, Jeff! What can you be thinking? Writing is hard, hard work! It’s revising and editing and killing your darlings and learning from better writers and purging your personal lexicon of clichés and redundant adverbs! What right do you have to find fun in it?”

Then why do it?

Anyway. Enough of that. It’s spring and time for road trips.
Did you get a Discovery Pass from Parks Canada this year? Then read my listsicle for about where you can use it in southern Ontario. It’s here.

Also, if Robert Lepage’s 887 comes to your city, see the damn thing. To find out why I would make such a bold proclamation, read my review of it for Digital Journal, upon its recent Toronto remount.

And that’s the way it was, sucker.

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