A publishing house has a step-by-step procedure and I’m merely waiting in line for my number to be called.  The digital counter reads in the low teens but my ticket's number is in the thousands.  Are they going in order?  Am I up next? I have no idea.  And so while I wait, I must keep busy.  Must keep writing.

Years ago, I managed to quiet my biological imperative by having a child, but recently I made a life-altering decision (or non-life altering) to surgically hamper my reproductive ability.  “The Big V” with its remedy of a bag of frozen peas.  I feel empty now, without purpose, as though my time has come to a natural conclusion.  I find myself doing what countless men have done—valuing work above all other concerns.  First time you meet a guy, whether he’s a doctor or a diva, a businessman or a body-builder, a pimp or a playwright, an actor or an auteur, they’ll immediately tell you about their work.  Not their passion or their purpose, but rather their job.  And as they age, it becomes about securing that work into a legacy. Their “body of work” is outweighed by the importance of the task.  The act of working becomes the reason to work, the end result is only relevant if the outcome is beneficial. 

Since I can’t procreate, I’ll produce. 

Hence the waiting period.  Sure, there's the promotional stuff associated with a novel but I need to create.  Yet, I find it’s nearly impossible to start a new book while editing/promoting another book, especially of a different genre.  I’d like to start on a sci-fi trilogy that’s been nagging at me for quite some time with the working title of "10,000 DAYS" (listed under the Manuscripts tab), but the topic of suicide might seep in since my first novel is not done.  Not Yet!  And I need a break from suicide, it’s an emotionally draining and depressing world to dwell within and I’m tired of intercepting every casual conversation with, “That’s interesting, reminds me of this kid who killed himself . . ."

How does an author keep writing when they need to take a break from their work?  Even when it’s in their best interest (i.e., exhaustion or threat of mental collapse), how do you stop a writer from writing?  Obviously, you don’t.  Easier to tell the tide not to swell or white girls to give up Caffe Lattes or white guys to give up frisbee golf.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Journaling is a good way to hone the writing skill, but that’s not producing.  Journaling is a self-indulgent, unstructured emotional outlet that precludes revision else you run the risk of erasing the evidence.  Reading a past journal entry is like running into an old friend who says, “We used to get so fucked-up back in college!” Yeah, I remember but I don’t wanna be reminded.  

Poetry is nice, and maybe a solid poem can offer the same powerful jab as a short story just like a good short story can pack the punch of a novel (unfortunately, all forms of literary and visual entertainment are reduced to that one memorable, quotable line, so why waste all the ink & paper?) but the problem is evident.  Unless you're imitating Homer, Virgil, Dante or Milton and pounding out Epic Poetry, then you run the risk of stopping at the end of the page.  After all, it’s poetry and as Whitman said, “I use Leaves of Grass . . . to wipe my ass.” Or something like that.

Thus, I’ve found a solution:  The screenplay.

A screenplay offers the best parts of a novel without having to do the hard work.  No long descriptions of scenery or expositions on the minuscule psychological permutations of a fragile mind.  Just some sharp dialog, a little stage direction, a whip pan here and chyron there, then fade to black.  Done and done! 

I'm currently working on a screenplay, giving myself until June 1st to finish.  WWII period-piece set in England.  Here’s the pitch: “Armageddon” & “The Dirty Dozen”. 

Because if I can’t procreate, then I’ll produce.