Writing from the Triggering Town Workshop

Suppose I was a dog, but not really a dog, and I was drowning in the ocean after I dove into the waves after a ball. Now suppose my best friend or partner was standing on the shore watching me drown, again not as a dog, and not in water, but in life, and that important person did absolutely nothing to save me. She just stood there while other people dived right in and hauled me out to safety. She didn’t even come up to ask me how I was or thank the people who saved me.

What do I then say to the best friend or partner? Is it over between us right there?

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What happens if your obsession with something as a writer is so eccentric, so out there, that writing about it is useless because no one will possibly get it? What happens if you write a 50,000-word novel that centers around an eccentric obsession and there isn’t a single reader who gives a damn? Do you write the book anyway?

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I want to get back in the game of making a difference in Oregon after being kicked off the field and banned by the state. If that could happen, and I am doing everything in my power to make that happen, I wouldn’t run out of the tunnel like a collegiate football game. No, just quietly get in the huddle, not as quarterback or receiver, maybe just the center, where it all begins, and make sure I do my job well, a simple job, then block for the skill players and let them shine.

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Remember the movie The Candidate starring Robert Redford as the idealistic candidate for the US Senate? Remember how the campaign and his cynical manager stripps away all his idealism? Remember that he actually wins the election? And remember the final scene of the movie, where Redford learns that he’s just won and then he looks across a packed hotel suite to his campaign manager and mouths the words: “What do we do now?”

That’s exactly what happened to me when I became a writer.

And I would also add another question: “So what?”

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What is absurd? What is absurd is that the US Mint still makes pennies! Even more absurd is the Andrew Jackson is still on the $20 bill instead of Harriet Tubman. What’s even more absurd is that after the Civil War, the losers were allowed to erect statues of the losers! We’re the only country in the history of the world that’s done that.