Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gentleman Writer

Yes, retirement is the bomb. I worked for 40 years making other people rich and that bugged me, so I stopped doing that. I started writing after I retired in 2005 and fell in love with the feeling of being inside a story looking out. I've always had a rich imagination, so finding a topic wasn't an issue. If you are an English teacher, you would have been horrified by my first draft. My next door neighbor is a retire professor emeritus from Rutgers University and took an interest in my first story. He read and edited it. Every page, every paragraph bled like a major farm machinery accident. Red marks splattered everywhere. He made the statement, "It's an interesting story, but it's unreadable." It took two weeks to type in all the edits, but he did launch my "career" by pointing out I needed to reread everything pertaining to grammar and vocabulary.

I spent many years writing specifications for government projects, which amounts to destroying the English language. So it was hard to gain enough skills back to do novel writing justice. Still my writing depresses me to tears trying to iron out those pesky editorial errors.

One of the problems with being over-the-hill, sliding down the slippery slope of age into the abyss, compounded by lack of income is having the financial strength for luxuries like editors at my beckoned call. I have begged, borrowed, and feigned urgent need with close friends to read with the intent to earmark boo-boos. I self-published just to maintain control over the editing process, which in my case, amounts to new editions with crisp corrections a couple of times to get the gremlins to scurry back into the crevice between pages and hide in the binding . Only the earlier buyers would know the pain of the ill-gotten verb or misused noun landmine.

Writing is my solace, so in music. Trying to remain active in musical circles and running in circles trying to construct a novel keeps me saturated with duties. Someday when the writing skills improve and the playing skills turn into arthritis pain, I will settle into a steady stream of metaphoric rhetoric. The challenge is staying ahead of the Alzheimer demons.

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