Meditations on My Writing
I seem to have come to the end of a phase in my writing life. It lasted over 20 years and began when I founded Nestucca Spit Press (NSP) in 2002 to disseminate my writing, and as it turned out, many other writers.
NSP isn’t going away. Indeed, the plan in 2023 is to publish three of my books and perhaps a volume of poetry by another writer.
I sense this current phase ended because I have absolutely nothing pressing to write about. It’s not writer’s block; I have never suffered from that pretentious affliction since I left Portland for the Oregon Coast in 1997 at the age of 33 in one last attempt to become a writer after so many futile years of trying and non-trying. I found dogs, beaches, driftwood forts, trees, clearcuts, dive coastal bars and finally got it going.
There is nothing happening in the world or within me that engages my creative mind and compels me to write. That is not to say the state of the world or my personal life don’t cause me serious contemplation. They do. I just don’t have anything to write about it for the public.
I’m approaching 300,000 words on writing about the homeless and my interest wanes a bit more with every daily encounter.
I have three novel projects in mind but they are years away, if ever, from completion.
Writing about Oregon Tavern Age life is pretty much dead because Oregon Tavern Age life has almost gone extinct thanks to Donald Trump.
Writing about the Oregon and American political scenes doesn’t interest me.
Writing about my experiences helping my dad in assisted living doesn’t interest me.
Writing about the fallout from my nuclear extinction of self seven years ago doesn’t interest me.
Writing about rain has dried out.
Writing about losing one of the greatest loves of my life doesn’t interest me.
I took writing about dogs as far as I could.
I ran out of interest writing absurd, socially-conscious erotica.
I can’t write about Oregon’s socialist public beaches because I don’t live at the ocean anymore.
I can’t write about RV park living because I don’t live in an RV park anymore.
Portland doesn’t interest me as a subject.
I do want to write about one of the strangest and most dynamic men of letters in Oregon history but his family faded away and I can’t really do the project justice without their help or blessing.
So often in the past, a literary project found me: the Yaquina Bay Bridge book. Bonnie and Clyde, and the rain book were like that. So is my forthcoming book about the homeless in my neighborhood.
I sense the days the days of walking unexpectedly into a project are over.
About the only subject that does interest me is the old beaver I recently saw swimming in my local creek. He’s missing his right ear and sports a gray muzzle. The other morning I saw him glide right into his tiny lodge and was beyond enchanted.
Yeah, the old beaver interests me! A lot. If I do write about him, I’m going to call him Gus.
So here I am writing about that I don’t have anything to write about. Maybe after a prolific 20 plus years run of writing 25 books and thousands of articles, columns, reviews and blog posts, I simply ran out of things to say or avenues of finding inspiration.
I always knew it could happen one day. At least I got the work out there. And a lot of readers responded well to that effort.