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May 10, 2006
Posted at 12:19 am

Tripping over the bar

If you're not an author, this may seem strange, but take my word for it ... this writing business is a nerve wracking kind of existence.

You get an idea, and you think about it, and get excited about it, and then you write it down. Then you go over it and make little changes here and there, and a couple of big changes as you realize something didn't make any sense at all. Then you spell check it. If you have an editor, he or she goes over it and tells you what an idiot you are for not knowing a comma from a period, or for using words that don't exist (I thought that was called "coining a word"), or my personal favorite, using "it's" when you clearly should have used "its".

Meanwhile this story is fully developed, fully written, and is burning a hole in your literary pocket, so to speak. You want to post it, but it's just not ready yet.

Then you finally post it and hold your breath. As I have said in other blog entries, your baby has been born and you wait to see how many people say "What a pretty baby!" and how many suggest a burlap bag as headgear for the poor deformed dear.

Now that's all just the normal stuff that goes with every story you post.

Then ... out of the blue ... along comes a story that people just love. EVERYBODY thinks it's a beautiful baby. They rant and rave about how talented this baby is. They tell you this is the most beautiful baby in the whole town.

Sounds wonderful ... right?

Except that you're a writer. And writers ... write. And that means you have to make another baby, and that baby is going to be compared to the last one, and since the last one was the most beautiful baby in town ... how the hell can you follow that?

So, here's what I did. This is a secret. It's my secret weapon, and you can't tell anyone.

I took a couple of weeks off.

The public is fickle, right? In two weeks they'll forget anything, right? And, while the public is forgetting all about the most beautiful baby in the whole town, I wrote another story.

I like it. And, the way I figure it, all babies are unique anyway, right? What fun would it be to be dazzled each and every time you opened one of my stories? Wouldn't you get bored of being dazzled?

The bottom line is, thanks for all the wonderful comments you sent about "The Orphanage Blues". But I'm not really that good. So don't expect everything I do from now on to clear that bar, which I fully admit I set too high myself, probably when I took too many vitamins or something while I was writing it.

Just remember, I'm fat and old. I could trip over the bar if it was lying on the ground.

Tell you what. If you won't expect everything to be as good as "Orpahange Blues" was ... I'll order up a bunch more vitamins. Who knows? Maybe lightning really can strike twice in the same place.