Of all my hobbies writing provides the biggest kick. I love photography, I am passionate about gardening and I follow the Giants, even when they have MLB’s worst win/loss record, but it is still the act of writing that rocks my world the most.
Most of the pieces that I have posted on my blog, were prewritten in my head before I ever sat down at Suzy Puente, to formalize the process. Exceptions to the rule are the 100 or so pieces of short fiction, posted during the winter/spring of 2012, which were written extemporaneously.
I would pick a subject, invent characters, and then proceed to write off-the-cuff short stories, that literally unfolded as I typed, surprising me more than anyone. The process was one that overtook me that year; I posted 66 pieces of writing in March alone, followed up with another 45 in April.
What I almost forgot about, because it was such an isolated piece of writing, and predated my blog by five years, was a novel-length piece of fiction called Chicago, or Chicken in the Car-The Car She Go. The book featured me and HeadSodBuster making a cross-country road trip to Chicago, in the dead of winter, to deliver serious weight to a prospective buyer.
While writing, I got out the old-fashioned road atlas, and traced our route across the top of the country, selecting random cities along the way to spend each night. I invented scenarios that fit into our cover story of a dad escorting his son off to college, and even had a whopper which explained his starting college in January, and not September.
The book is set amidst the flurry of excitement in Chicago, because of the NFL’s Bears opposing New Orleans’ Saints, a game won by the Bears, much to the delight of the locals. We were holed up in a brand-name hotel, about twenty miles to the west of Chicago, and the weather was frigid.
|Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith|
A subplot of the NFL playoffs that year, was the possibility of seeing the first black head coach in a super bowl. The two candidates were Lovie Smith of the Bears and Tony Dungy of the Colts. Gloriously, they squared off in Super Bowl XLI, with Dungy’s Colts defeating the Bears.
The winter of 2006-2007 was only a year or so removed from my retirement from teaching, so my book was a combination of the action of the cross-country caper, mixed with reflections on my career as a middle school language arts teacher.
The juxtapositioning of my school-teaching career, with my new occupation as drug runner, was too delicious for me to pass up. That being said, as contemporary, successful ‘Merican novels go, it was a total bust: There was no sex and no violence, and so nothing to attract a modern audience.
What can I say? I’m not that exciting of a guy.
Anyway, I have gone on record-incessantly-as claiming to have written the great American novel in my head, but that I have no time to put it on paper. It is the three-generational story of my family, and our eventual migration to Mendocino County, and it is ongoing, even as we speak.
Nonetheless, sitting on my shelf in my newly reorganized “office,” is this 150-page piece of fiction, that featured me as an anxiety-ridden, meek school teacher, hauling a trunkful of cannabis to Chicago.
Chicken in the Car-The Car She Go, but only on paper and not very fast.