What’s Up Doc?

I promised to write a series of posts about The Hunger Games Trilogy, having declared this to be among the most powerful anti-war narratives of our time. I have been trying to carry through, assuming that I must provide some sort of synopsis for those who have not read the series, but trying not to get bogged down in the synopsis, or to provide too much detail and ruin it for those who haven’t yet read the books.

It isn’t working. No matter how I slice it, it comes out dull.

If you can suggest another approach that might work better, I’m all ears. If you have read the books, or just one of them, and would like to discuss them in a side-conversation, either email me (through the “Contact Me” tab, above) or comment on this post, below.

So, here we are, deep into summer, and, let’s see, what’s on my mind these days? I mean aside from the beach, hiking trails, small boats, motor scooters, and things like that. Just a slightly peculiar confluence of the things that are usually on my mind; spirituality, writing, and the bruises that the material world so often inflicts.

But in a very real sense, the simple question — what’s on my mind? — has demanded some attention. Many of the spiritual teachers who I read, people like Thomas Merton, The Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh, talk and write a lot about mindfulness, the practice of living firmly in the present, without being distracted by the past or future, without being sidetracked by extraneous thoughts. It’s the foundation of meditation, contemplation, prayer, and other spiritual practices, it’s the foundation of Quaker simplicity, indeed, it’s the foundation of happiness.

It is surprising that I have been able to come as far as I actually have in my spiritual growth without paying more attention to this fundamental practice, without really trying to master my mind, and get it under control. I think that now is the time to begin.

Fiction is on my mind, as well. I have been concentrating my writing efforts on story-telling, using real events as the basis of my stories. However, the sheer power and pleasure of fiction has, once again, overwhelmed me, courtesy of Suzanne Collins, and her Hunger Games Trilogy. It is clearly time for me to write another novel. It is also time for me to renew my efforts to get my first novel published. (It has been submitted to more than 100 agents without yet getting a serious reading.) I am prepared to consider self-publishing.

A new novel could easily take me two years to write. The first time around, it took me a long time — probably a year — to get the story and characters straight in my mind. I started writing a very different novel than what I ended up with, and, after writing about fifty pages, completely reworked the setting, characters, and plot, and started over. Once I started writing again, it took months to write, then more months editing. Even now, going through it yet one more time, I am finding things that need to be changed; mostly small things, but I started by doing an extensive rewrite on the first scene.

By the way, writing a novel is unbelievable fun, even a serious one. (Stephen King wrote that he doesn’t understand how a person can write just one novel, and then stop. Of course, Stephen King wouldn’t exactly be regarded as a paragon of the Middle Way on that subject.)

So, it seems that I have quite an ambitious program ahead of me. Of course, I will continue blogging, too, as I go forward, although many of my posts may be shorter than I have tended toward previously. Like this one.

One response to “What’s Up Doc?

  1. My mental book will probably go with me …

    It’s great that you’re full of vim and vigor and creativity, Paul.

    Gentle as you go,
    Marny
    procrastination gets me to the same place whether I write or not . . . or paint or do poetry and Haiku.

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