Monday, August 18, 2008

Another strange day...

...in which nothing good or bad happened. Nothing happened.

That's pretty frustrating. What I want most at the moment -- aside from a couple of things that are flat-out impossible and therefore not worth thinking about, much less discussing -- is to be working.

For me, that means writing. What's more, it means writing stories I can involve myself in, as well as get a fair return for.

There have been times when that was actually possible. In fact, for a few years I took that for granted. I was batting out some reasonably high-quality stuff, and on a regular basis.

It hurts to go back and read the stories now.

It wasn't perfect. I didn't much like the editor I was working for; I found him untrustworthy and far more interested in promoting himself than behaving ethically. But we shared a desire to fill the magazine's pages with good writing, and his bosses set the pay scale, which was adequate for the time.

And he knew that while I was unlikely to hoist a beer after hours with him, I could and would crank out fine product.

It was a hell of a good deal. I was sent off to Oregon on a day's notice --and with a one-week deadline -- to come up with some undefined "story" for the magazine's first issue. If I say so myself, I came back with a winner. I know it had what I consider one of my two or three best ledes in 22 years of published work.

I went to Alaska for that magazine, too, and to Europe and Japan. I always returned home with good stories. But the inevitable day came when I was no longer flavor of the month, and we parted ways.

This is particularly galling because a sizable percentage of my recent work has been, to put it succinctly, swill. Well-written swill, but not what I would want to be remembered for.

Comparing the story currently under construction to some past efforts almost makes me think I've lost the skills I once had. I know that's not true, but can't prove it to myself right now.

That's the biggest reason for wanting to get back into the game for people who care about the end result. Forget money (never mind, that's a lie)...I'm mainly interested in turning out some of those knockout articles again. I need to surpass the Oregon story, which was written back in 1994 or thereabouts, and a few others in which I take considerable pride.

Being too busy to read my old stuff and wonder who the guy was who wrote those stories would be nice, too.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't comment on your writings of '94, but I love reading your work today. Most of what I read by others who write on similar subjects is notably inferior to your writing. And yes, I'll admit I'm prejudiced. :)

S

ben said...

I'll have to agree with S, I've read several of your pieces in magazines and it looks pretty good to me. It comes naturally to you.

Kelly (dkmcb01) said...

JS down....any idea what's up? How are you doing?