Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Writing the great American dream

Ask almost any writer, "How is the novel coming along?" Chances are the conversation will be off and running. Most writers "have a novel. Extremely rare, though, is the author who has actually had one published. Slightly less rare are those who have really finished such manuscripts. And then there are we plodders – some with practically finished stories and others who have yet to touch pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) but with a head full of ideas and a heart filled with good intentions.

Yes, every writer knows that one day he or she will find the time. When the kids are all in school. Or when the kids are all out of school, married and moved away. Or after retirement. Just wait and see. Most of us have a lot of great ideas - and have been taking notes. And have started working on an outline. Maybe next year we will enroll in a typing class - or a computer class.

My own magnum opus is about 80 percent complete, lying in a box, where it has remained, untouched, for almost 10 years. Who knows? Maybe when I've tamed and mastered this wild and headstrong computer...

Until then, we are all still "dreaming the dream" – which is pretty much what life seems to be all about.


The evening sun tires
Of its work in the heavens,
Beds down for the night
Beyond the western sea.

Blackness closes tight
'Round the sleeping wharf, quiet –
Waves murmur – telling
Strange old stories to me.

Tales from ageless days
Of time immemorial –
Until now, untold,
Mysteries yet unsolved.

Lost creatures of old
Now extinct and forgotten...
Dim, dark days before
Humankind had evolved.

Some yarns are about
Sailing ships and grave dangers,
How brave seamen once
Plied the deep with full sails.

Whalers and jailers,
Roving fierce cutthroat pirates –
Adventurers who
Bravely blazed strange new trails.

Soon clear, vivid scenes
Fill my imagination,
Breathe color and life
Into a growing tale –

Material destined
To be the next best-seller
A great masterpiece –
At last – my Holy Grail!

Small waves murmur on,
The half-moon surfs the cloud curls.
New chapters are born,
Quite enough to fill reams.

Then, too soon, my eyes
Close; my quick pen falls idle.
The novel takes form...
But only in my dreams.

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