Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Tuesday, 14 August 2001

I did some writing. The story is at 3370 words. That's 220 new words, one new scene.

It's been a month since Clarion ended.

You can't believe how weird that sounds to me.

I considered writing a bit of retrospective stuff--what I'd learned, what I'd say to someone thinking of attending Clarion. But it's too early to do that. I don't really have anything to say that I haven't said in my journal articles. I'll write something like that after a bit longer, maybe around the end of the year.

I have had some other thoughts, though. Mostly thoughts about how having a day job sucks.

Mind you, I haven't forgotten any of the things I said a month ago about realizing that writing full-time wouldn't be a practical life-style for me. I haven't changed my mind about the fact that I start to go crazy when I make writing the thing I do all day. But writing with a day job is hard. (I'm aware of the fact that that's not really going to be a surprise to anyone.)

Mind you, too, that I have a great day job. It pays well. It's usually challenging enough to be interesting, and only rarely so challenging as to be frustrating. I'm good at it. I enjoy many of the tasks I perform. I get to work with a lot of nice, interesting, bright, friendly people and play with some neat technology before anyone else gets to.

And yet. . . . And yet, I'm sometimes frustrated and unhappy. It takes so many hours of the day. And some days it takes a lot of energy that isn't available for other tasks. I really begrudge the time and energy that it takes from other parts of my life.

Besides my writing, one of those other areas of my life is my marriage. Jackie is wonderful. She appreciates both the work I do at my day job and the work I do writing. She works very hard to make sure that I end up with very little of the other work involved in running the household. I worry that I don't give her the attention she deserves. I trust her to let me know when she's not getting enough attention--and she does, sometimes--but I hate to impose on her the burden to be mindful of that. It's my job (yet another job) to pay enough attention that I know without being told.

Often it's enough just to be together, each of us working (me on my writing, Jackie spinning or weaving or quilting). Other times we want more than just being together. I never begrudge the time and energy that takes.

So, I'm left with no conclusion here. The way I live my life is the best compromise I've been able to find, and it's a damn good compromise. But, sometimes, it's hard to resist the thought that you shouldn't have to make any compromises in life.

My brother sent me a link to an article in Salon about people (mostly girls) with on-line journals who have wishlists with various on-line merchants so that journal readers can buy them gifts. I mention this merely as a segue to my offering you this assurance: I have no plans to solicit gifts from you.

I felt an irresistible urge for beer on Sunday. Beer had not been my plan. I had been writing for several hours and started feeling drowsy, so decided to take a walk. I invited Jackie for a walk around the block (which is what we call the walk around the apartment complex) mostly to wake up. But, about half way around, I saw an empty beer bottle that someone had left on a picnic table. Suddenly, I wanted a beer.

We didn't have any beer at home. But, fortunately, there's a liquor store just three blocks from our apartment. So, we extended our walk and checked out the beer at the liquor store. I was surprised to find that they carry Bell's from Kalamazoo. They had Oberon, a pale ale, an amber ale, and a couple of others.

I bought the pale ale, because I was in the mood for a pale ale. It turns out that Bell's pale ale is rather more bitter than I prefer. I think I'd had the amber ale before.

After our purchase we walked back in the hot sun, split a bottle, and then I sat down to write some more.

Had another today. I don't drink much beer. In fact, I drink it rarely enough that having a beer still reminds me of sitting on the balcony at Owen Hall.

I got in a run this evening, did the Kaufman Lake run. It went much better than I'd expected. Not great, but slightly better than pathetic. I'm pleased.


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