Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Bound

The Colonel has a book in him. Most of it is stored in the few remaining active cells laying fallow in the amorphous grey goo puddled in the recesses of his brain-housing group. The majority of the plot is there in abstract, as are many of the characters. The story's first several chapters are actually already in draft--a hundred or so pages in Word--each starting like gang-busters and then petering off into inconclusiveness.

The challenge before the Colonel is two-fold: Master his ADHD and overcome his fear of irrelevance.

Writing, the Colonel has come to realize, is a lonely endeavor, filled with opportunity for discovery and fraught with the danger of dead-ends and dearths of idea-connecting files. Writing can be a lot like reading--sometimes the words flow from the future and bring with them new thoughts and expressions; sometimes the book gets put down, interrupted by life, and not ever finished.

To write, one must love language. The Colonel loves words, but language is more than vocabulary and there are so many requirements for a healthy, loving relationship with sentence structure, syntax, tense, and paragraph composition. The Colonel could just write and leave the rules to the textbooks, but that seems such an undisciplined attitude for this old disciplinarian.

And, yet, the best stuff seems to fly off the fingertips when the Colonel lets the reins loose and ignores the fences.

It is a quandary faced, the Colonel is quite certain, by millions before him who have attempted effective communication via the written word. And, there are millions of books completed.

And, then, there is the fear of rejection and irrelevance that haunts the Colonel's consciousness like a taunting schoolyard bully, "you ain't nuthin'. What makes you think you can write?" Coming from an extended education in the school of fearlessness that was the infantry, you would think the Colonel could easily master this seemingly safe, sedentary task without trepidation. There were always those whose stature and strength towered over him and yet he surprised and surpassed. This should be no different.

The Colonel is no David, but the book in him is no Goliath either.

It's just a story.

"Okay, then, Marine. Get on with it."
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