Monday, June 23, 2003

I’ve been a bit depressed lately, and I thought it was because I was in a time of transition, which I was when the school year ended… two and a half weeks ago. But the funk I’m in persists. My father is in the hospital recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. I’m mowing lawns, making less money. I like the work, but I have to deal with the low status of the employment. Thinking back a year ago to when I was a newspaper reporter, not making much more money, but in a prestigious position. I wasn’t happy with the job then, pining for simplicity, clarity and the outdoors. Right now I’m where I want to be. Damn status. You know what you’re about outside of all that.

It is a sunny Monday morning and I admit I haven’t written much outside of e-mails in a little over a month. And maybe that’s why I’ve been in a funk. I’ve denied myself the magic and creativity of my true craft. I was burned out a bit after finishing Thru, my collection of six short stories about the Appalachian Trail, and editing the Ice Age Trail guidebook. But writing is a continuous exercise, and if you stop doing it you lose the practice. Thank God for e-mails or I’d be even rustier.

My writing goals for the summer include non-fiction nature writing about my hometown and Winnebago County. I’ve thought about pitching this whole outdoor columnist thing to the Register Star, but don’t want to do that until I can master what I really want to do with the thing. Once I get off my lazy butt and back in the saddle I’ll put together some sample columns, photographs and dazzle ‘em with presentation, storm the walls of Gannett. Tell ‘em about my plans for the Pacific Crest Trail in 2004…

I am also writing fiction this summer, a short story a week or 10 pages of a novel. That has always been a worthy goal, but I’ve never quite lived up to those production standards. Might be time too. I’ve just got to set time aside in my day, every day, to accomplish this. Make sure it gets done before the evening. I’m always busy at night. I’m too social. Too cramped in to this apartment. Too antsy.

It is a Monday morning, sunny and warm, going to be in the high 80s. I’ve got at least one lawn to mow, possibly two. Then I got to pick up Esther at 1:15 p.m. and go visit Dad at Swedish American Hospital, then back home for more writing or lawns. Dinner @ 6, Drum Corps Show starts at 7. Keep busy. Keep happy. Keep writing. Yeah, baby.

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