I'm outside because it is morning and warm and all fall/winter/spring long I tell myself that come summer I will be out doors for every breakfast that isn't wet. So far, mostly so good. The one thing which being outdoors in the morning with your laptop does, however, is let you know just exactly how disgusting your keyboard has become.
I mean, this thing is just gross. After this blog is up I'm going in to sanitize it and pretend I never let it get so bad. Ewwwwww.
I'd like to say I've been working so hard that I haven't kept up with this blog, or the website, or anything outside of writing, writing, writing, but I seem to have slipped into my yearly ritual of just slowing right down and enjoying my days with the boys. We have done a lot of skateboarding. Two weeks ago we journeyed to a wedding in Cambridge and Alex and I hit a number of skateparks across the province. I have discovered that 'skate' parks is an odd term to use now as all of them, truly, are 'scooter' parks. I wish I could fully understand the love of these things. There seems to be three tricks you can do on them, all with the ease of launching yourself on a particularly stable pogo stick. There's the 'tail whip' where the scooter bottom goes spinning around between one and four times and then the scooterer lands nowhere near the actual deck but nonetheless claims victory. The 'flail the scooter over your head after launching out of a bowl' which I've yet to see anyone land. And then the 'hop up on something and make a grinding kind of sound then hop back off again' which they then refer to as a board slide, 50-50 or feeble. All skateboarding terms. And all but one requires 4 wheels, not two, while the final board slide requires a 'board'.
I know it sounds like I'm hating on scooter kids and I guess I kind of am. Not because I dislike them as people. My youngest goes back and forth between skating and scootering depending on mood. But because skateboarders have been relegated to skateparks. We go anywhere else and are very quickly kicked out. And if there is anything more embarrassing than being a 40 something year old man being asked to leave a parking lot by a 20 something year old rent a cop, I'm uncertain what it is.
Scooters and bikes can ride pretty much anywhere they like unmolested. Whereas skateboarders remain, strangely, the pariah of the streets. Anyway, I'm glad I got that off my chest. In the end I like seeing these kids out doing things and enjoying the thrill of rolling around in the fresh air. I just wish there were fewer of them at once.
On the writing front; I've finished Set You Free and At Ease! Two books, one year! I'm on a second edit of High Note and, once I manage to get this done, have no less than 5 'finished' novels (4 YA and an adult) ready for a second, third, fourth, fifth &c. edit/re-write or death by select all/delete. These are all lingering manuscripts from that lost year I had when I decided I could be Eric Walters and put out half a dozen books at once. Two years later I'm still opening these documents and wondering what, exactly, I was doing. Don't get me wrong, I like the books, but they feel, not unexpectedly, like rushed, too short, half-formed beasts.
At the moment I have a few ideas for new books. But instead of diving into them (honestly, I think I've learned my lesson) I am jotting these ideas down and letting them percolate until one boils over and I have nothing else to finish and no desire beyond working tirelessly on whatever it is.
In spectacular daily news, TC Boyle is now on twitter. It's not a big thing, but TC is one of those writers who truly made me want to write more and more. He does everything from straight out realism to fantastic trippy to sci-fi. And every time his work resonates with something uniquely his. When on tour I often get asked who my influences are. I normally name YA writers, as that is mostly what I now write. Salinger always comes up. Libba Bray Jesse Andrews (Go see Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, but bring tissues). Then my adult guys, Haruki Murakami, Denis Johnson, Martin Amis, Jennifer Egan, David Mitchell. People who I will always read. Then there's the whole crime genre with Don Winslow, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Steve Hamilton (to only begin the list) who I will follow anywhere. Ken Bruen is another. I just finished Green Hell which is less a mystery and more of a smash in the face. But I almost always forget TC Boyle without whom I wouldn't have spent an extra day in London (he was in town at the same moment my flight was set to leave, I made a very expensive decision to skip a flight and wait around to meet him and it still feels worth it) and Nick Hornby. The two seem, to me, to come as a pair. Both ridiculous in many ways, but very well grounded in reality and the little bits of every day that pull at us.
Anyway, see what happens when I don't write enough? It all comes out at once. What is in the future? Who knows, they say, or, as my character Sean Christensen in High Note loves to point out 'the past and the future bring us nothing but suffering. Only in the present can we be happy.' And sure, he stole that from Buddha, but what can you do? No one's coming up with anything better to say.
Enjoy your day if you're somewhere warm. I'll likely be at a skateboard park (sigh, scooter) today throwing my aging body around on concrete as though it could possibly matter. But, hey, it's better than golf.