It’s 2014! CRIPES!

Has your writing ever come to a screeching halt and froze at a point just before impact? Days follow that turn into weeks and soon, not only has a month gone by, but you are into the next year already. Cripes! A new year already? What to do? You have already circled your desk 60 times and opened your laptop 12. Your masterpiece lays in darkness, waiting to come back out and see the light. Your mind has been occupied by an evil entity forcing you away from your desk to do any, and all, of those wonderful things that lurk around the house. The dishes are piled in the sink, the mounds of laundry are rolling out the door, the vacuum is collecting dust which is curling into dust bunnies, and the teetering piles of paper must be put away immediately. Oh, and let’s not forget the dreaded bathroom! Hey, any excuse to keep the writing at bay.

Does any of this sound familiar? Call it writer’s block, call it procrastination, or call it “I don’t want to write today so I’m going to do all the dreaded things I have been avoiding since my last writing binge.” Charles Bukowski said it well:

“writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems

I recently recovered from this dreaded phenomenon that afflicts most writers (and to those who have never suffered from it….I hate you!). I’m here to tell you that there is no cure but time and a few nudges (ok, they were full on slug fests) from good friends and fellow writers. I was running full steam toward the end of 2013 and pounded out some amazing scenes in two novels that I had been working on. Then the holidays hit right along with some pretty awesome excuses to put off writing. After all, how could I sit down to focus on writing when the dogs needed special ribbons to reflect the joy of the season?

Depression quickly set in as I stared at the computer. NOTHING! I cursed the curser (yep, I just wrote that….get over it). I sat at my computer at the beginning of January and started this tirade and now it is the end of the month and I think I can actually finish it and move on. I quit compulsively cleaning and decided it was high time to just spit some words out.

As I slop out this last paragraph I am feeling refreshed. The words are slowly coming back and the gloom of winters deep freeze seems to be thawing a bit. I like the feeling of my butt in the chair and the sound of the keyboard. The block from the holidays has finally released its grip and I am ready to go. I can only hope that at the end of 2014 I don’t find myself in this same situation and having to say, “CRIPES! It’s 2015 already!?”

Wool, Shift, Dust

Hugh Howey’s series of books, starting with “Wool” followed by “Silo”,  and ending with “Dust”, have captivated audiences around the world.  “This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge.  The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden.  But there are always those who hope, who dream.  These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism.  Their punishment is simple.  They are given the very thing they profess to want: they are allowed outside.”

The story moves with grace and vigor mixing the sweet elements of love with the sour taste of life.  Tragedy mixed with triumph intermingled with challenges that keep the reader on edge.  Howey’s well developed writing style will pull you into the world of the silos.  The reader can taste the grease in the air and smell the heat of the bodies as they race up and down the spiral staircase connecting the deepest places of the silo to the highest reaches.

Howey does not rehash information from previous books with each new volume.  It is refreshing to not be bogged down with re-stated details from the past allowing the reader to jump in with both feet and in the blink of an eye and find themselves still reading into the wee hours of the night.

At the end of the Omnibus Edition of “Wool” Hugh Howey was asked “Why are these books so cheap?” His reply, “Because I’m a big fat nobody, that’s why!”  It seems safe to say that Hugh Howey is no longer a “fat nobody”.  He has made his mark on the science fiction genre that will remain for a very long time.