I’m an addict. Of all people, I should know the symptoms intimately, as I have been described as someone having an addictive personality; which is a polite and clinical term that actually means I have zero to minimal self-control. Most of the addictions I’ve experienced over the years have been of the self-destructive variety. It took me recognizing and admitting that my addiction was actually a weakness, before God and I finally overcame it. With my newest addiction however, things are different. I’m actually comfortable living with this one. What is this new addiction? After much introspection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m addicted to writing. Once I describe some of the symptoms, you too will see that for me, writing has indeed become my new drug of choice.
Writing occupies my mind; constantly. I think about it at work, while driving my car, lying in bed at night, waking up in the morning, walking the dog; I can’t get it out of my mind. It has become a distraction in my marriage; at least for my better half. My wife can’t understand why, when she’s trying to engage in a conversation with me, my mind is in a far off place and her words don’t get through. She is taken by surprise when out of nowhere I start talking to her about a character in a book I’m writing; as if they are a real person and she should know who they are. Or why, when she’s trying to fall asleep, I’m discussing my idea for another book I want to write. She plays along with me, but I can see behind the look in her eyes that she’s growing more worried about me every day. She even suggested—out of frustration—I might need professional help.
In order to maintain a semblance of wedded bliss, it became an unwritten rule early on that as long as I’m home, I have to keep my computer closed. It seems that my wife likes my attention. She’s made it clear that I have plenty of time during the week while traveling to write to my heart’s content. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough for me; I need more. So now when I’m home, I often sneak around behind her back and take advantage of every open window of opportunity. On days like today—when she’s gone to a baby shower for a few hours—I milk every extra moment and write. It doesn’t have to be a few hours however; I can get my fix in a much shorter time frame. When she goes upstairs to take a bath; out comes the computer. If she goes to bed early, I stay downstairs; assuring her that I will be up shortly. If she has to run to the store for supplies, I volunteer to stay behind and babysit the dog; and I write.
I have two blogs; one for faith and inspiration titled, Pondering God, and the other for general observations about writing and life titled, Mischievous Musings. I’ve finished my third book, The Boat, and I’m sending out queries to literary agents, hoping it will be picked up and sold to a traditional publisher. I’m currently writing a book titled, Lost Highway, a project very close to my heart; inspired by my father, nephew, and oldest son. It’s about a grandfather who realizes he’s dying, but sees in his troubled grandson himself at the same time in his life. In an effort to bond and assure his grandson he has a better future in front of him, the grandfather arranges for the two of them to go on a hunting trip and when they get rained out, they spend the entire day in an abandoned farmhouse; where the grandfather shares with his grandson not only stories from his youth, but the life changing event of hitchhiking out to California at age seventeen and all the troubles he encounters along the way. A very poignant, heartwarming story that allows me to reminisce with each word I write.
I have a number of other books in mind; I’m not sure I’ll ever run out of ideas. One book is titled, The Tower, and is the story of a couple of empty nesters who spend many of their Saturdays’s walking their dog on a paved trail that runs through their local town. They notice on many occasions a suspicious character hanging around the downtown area and they speculate that he’s a drug dealer. It turns out that he is indeed a dealer and when he realizes the wife has figured it out, he kidnaps her and puts her in the old grain tower that rises one hundred and twenty feet above the town. The husband becomes a suspect in her disappearance and the book follows them both; him trying to find out who within the local police force is behind his wife’s kidnapping, and her trying to figure her way out of captivity at the top of the tower.
Another is titled, The Float, and is the tale of a family of men and their sons on a two-day canoe trip. They inadvertently run into a group of meth manufacturers, deep in the Ozark Mountains. Some of the men in the family are kidnapped when they stumble into the meth dealer’s compound and the teenage cousins are left to rescue them and bring them back to safety. And then there’s Find Robbie, the conclusion and sequel to The Boat and another tentatively titled The Reunion.
Just the other day I thought of another book idea. A world where men are no longer necessary and are hunted down and killed by the rulers of the planet; women. It’s 2050 and women have gained total power and have all but eliminated men from planet Earth. The book’s narrator will be a man on the run who lived through the transformation of society and will tell how things got to the current state of affairs (title ix, radical feminists, woman president, cloning, etc.). Once the reader gets the background, then the story goes to one of survival and how the few remaining men fight to avoid extinction. The book begins with this Gloria Steinem quote, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” Most people didn’t take the quote literally, but the new society is the end result of what a literal interpretation would look like. But as long as there are men and women in close proximity, there is always hope that things can return back to normal; the way they were fifty years ago.
Huey Lewis sang about his quest for a new drug;
I want a new drug – one that won’t make me sick,
One that won’t make me crash my car, or make me feel three feet thick.
I want a new drug – one that won’t hurt my head,
One that won’t make my mouth too dry, or make my eyes too red.
One that won’t make me nervous, wonderin’ what to do.
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you, when I’m alone with you
Like Huey, I’ve found my new drug; and I’m addicted. With all the ideas rolling around in my head, I guess I better get busy writing.