I have this freakish thing going on: Although I can be miserably incompetent at many things (like housework and math), I’m wicked good at decoding my native language–I can read really hard stuff (and really bad stuff), think about it, and then spit it back out in writing. I also write at least tolerably well myself, and I write a lot. (No, not here; I’m sorry, followers! I just don’t want to have a whineblog, so I try to post only when I have something to say.) But I’ve written a doctoral dissertation and ten novels, seven of which are finished. (My first book, which needed to be split into a trilogy, is currently up on a mechanic’s lift being taken apart. In my copious spare time.)
I can also write non-fiction, and I’m an excellent editor. If I didn’t enjoy my day job, I could probably manage as a free-lancer. (I’m on disability, thank God and my fellow taxpayers, which limits my income. So I’m not fantasizing about limitless wealth here.)
Putting it a different way, my brain is one of those amazing little Welsh border collies who can herd sheep into marching-band patterns: Neither of us is close to the unified field theory, but man, are we good at what we do! It took skilled training and the sort of hyperfocused attention that only dogs and ADHDers have. (All dogs have ADH–squirrel!)
I’ve spent twenty hours this month working on a huge grant which is vitally important to a bunch of people I love dearly. They have a spectrum of writing skills, and the first draft was sorting out their various snapshots of the same subject, so we wouldn’t make the nice folks at DHCD tear their hair out. It was sort of like the Hebrew Bible, where important stories in different versions are all just plopped in next to each other, leading bored children to try to figure out just how many animals Noah took with him anyway. Only I don’t just have the J and P authors, I have three social workers, an accountant, a grantwriter, an IT guy, and the entrepreneur heading the organization. Kind of crazy–and I love it!
Taking paragraphs apart, fixing sentences, and moving things around is fun for me. I am more than happy spending my prime creative time (3 a.m. to 8 a.m.) doing this. I would probably do this for free, but I crave an iPhone. (Hey, only a 6, and I found a good deal. I’m not that crazy.)
My border collie gets bored a lot. NaNoWriMo is sort of me buying a flock of sheep to keep it occupied. But that’s only once a year. Major grants like this one only happen once every decade or so. What to do?
So the answer occurred to me this morning at about 5 a.m.: Maybe I should try writing poetry. Truth impels me to say that I can change things up most by attempting to write good poetry. It will be interesting to see if the mutt can make the sheep tap dance. (I promise not to overwhelm you with the results of this cockamamie idea.)
Confession: I loathe most modern poetry (the sort you wrote in high school with lots of emotion on each line) so will probably pick some random classic format for structure. An extra lap or two around the flock, and a nice huddle of well-behaved words as a result. Sounds like–squirrel!