Off the wagon

Since late last year I’ve been meeting once a week with a good friend in a bar or café to do some writing. We encourage each other. It’s a bit like having an “exercise buddy.” If either of us don’t feel like doing it, we can use the fact that the other guy is depending on us to spur us on.

He’s got a bunch of creative projects going right now; some really fine stuff. I’ve been working on a fairly straightforward project; a memoir of my childhood in New York centered roughly on the years 1974–1976. Current working title: “Run, Joey, Run.” I’ll not say much about it because at the rate I’m going it won’t see the light of day in any form for over a year at least.

For now it’s a writing practice, an effort to plumb my own memories, an attempt to tell a straightforward story without fireworks or flash, an experiment in linear storytelling, a old-fashioned throwback first draft written out entirely in longhand without a lot of revamping or reshuffling till I get this draft done.

This week has been exhausting for various reasons and this afternoon I was feeling woozy, possibly from lack of sleep. I had to call up Dan and bail on our scheduled meeting. I felt really bad! Once a week is barely enough to keep the momentum going as it is. Plus, of course, I felt like I was letting him down as well, though he was very gracious about it.

I may try to do some work on the project during the upcoming week. I’ve had it in mind to start to slip in a few more sessions each week, just because one to two hours every Sunday night makes for pretty slow going, but I’ve also been concerned about pushing myself too hard, overdoing it, crashing and burning, like a reformed exerciser running too many miles in his first week out, pulling a muscle, and dropping the program.

So we’ll see. It might be another week before I revisit RJR. The hope is that the story kindles it’s own sense of integrity and urgency and starts pulling me in, daring me to steal time away from my myriad other projects and priorities. I’ve had that experience before. Spend enough time on any one story and it starts making its own gravy. So far I’m not there yet, but if I get back on the wagon I can always hope.