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Critical Hits

These Idle Hands

by Dave Smith
Jul 14,2004


These Idle Hands

As usual, I have very little say about Critical Hits. While they could be construed as excuses by those who underestimate the sincerity of my laziness, a lot of other things have been happening that may explain my lack of writing. Well, not a lot of things, because my life is uneventful, but they seem numerous, which is good enough. I don't even know why I'm bothering to explain myself, aside from the need of an introductory paragraph.

Outside the realm of writing, the biggest thing that's happened is the procurement of a new job. Now, this isn't a cause for much celebration, since it's a job, not a contract for Critical Hits or a free bottle of Glenlivet, but it is a marked improvement over my last one, especially in terms of pay. Once the checks start rolling in every two weeks, I'll be able to start setting cash aside for my inevitable move-out, since I'll be leaving my current domicile in a couple-three months, and maybe even buy a turntable and stereo worthy of my nigh-complete collection of Blue Oyster Cult vinyl.

I've also become a hermit, more or less. I don't go out very often, which you would think would lend itself to focused writing and efforts at selling Critical Hits. It doesn't, of course; instead, I spend a lot of time reading, drinking beer, and reading some more. It's been a pleasant stretch of solitude- my roommate is rarely around, so the house is usually mine- that I've filled by hoovering up information on all kinds of topics, ranging from German intelligence operations in the US and England during WWII, the German/English naval buildup to WWI, wind-up birds, the horrors of unchecked drug abuse, and more. I've also been listening to veritable shitloads of new music; the combination should be grist for the writing mill, or so I hope.

Ah, writing. How little I've done, and how little I care. True, sometimes it gets to me, but that's mainly because I'm getting tired of not having anything to write a new novel about. That Critical Hits is going nowhere for the time being isn't a big deal, because I know it needs more editing, and I have yet to think of the clever phrasing that will catch an agent's eye. It's a daunting task writing letters upon which hang one's chances of getting an agent, who in turn is no guarantee of getting published. I have faced this challenge by stepping back, lighting a cigarette, and watching nothing happen, knowing full well that the day will come when I'll do what I've gotta do. Inevitably, that will happen once I'm working on a new novel, just as it did with Axis Mundi Sum's, ahem, success, during the writing of Critical Hits.

The next novel is the crux of everything going on in my life these days. I haven't written anything in the past six months that I've been able to convince myself is worthy of a novel, but recently I've been toying with an idea that may work out. If I'm not writing something new, then any interest in my past work dissipates enough to make me lose any desire to do anything with it. This is quite possibly a serious problem if I intend on making a career of writing, but that too is something I've been thinking about lately.

Am I cut out to be a professional novelist? Maybe, but it's entirely contigent on balancing the act of writing with my idleness. At this point in time, I refuse to sacrifice either one. Idleness takes the edge off of not writing, and gives me time to think of new things to write about. Writing, of course, distills everything outside of itself, and in turn affects my idleness. It's quite the pleasant symbiosis, even if it doesn't make for exciting reportage to masses of role-players. I don't feel very bad about it, however, having made it painfully clear on numerous occasions that I'm not qualified to talk about writing at all, and you've all got access to comments made by better writers with "superior" work ethics if you're looking for pep talks and legitimate advice. That said, there are plenty of excellent writers who are, or were, as lazy as I am, but don't let that excite you; they were/are usually far more capable than myself.

I've got two hours before I crawl into work, and I've dispensed all the gibberish I can dredge up, so I'm going to drink a beer, listen to some records, and do the dishes. When I get home at four in the morning, I think I'll write. Adios, folks, and until next time, be sure to check out Axis Mundi Sum, get plenty of rest, and remember that idle hands are not always the devil's workshop.

Dave Smith dave at axismundisum dot com

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