When it’s game time, it’s pain time

Posted: June 21, 2019 in Writing

Greetings, loyal readers I’ve abandoned. All three of you. In the months since I last infiltrated your lives with my misinformed opinions, my own life has begun shipping water. I developed a list to port, and when I corrected by flooding some compartments to starboard, I started going down by the bow. My keel has been befouled by barnacles. Too bad I’m not a vegetarian. And now the wind has freshened from dead nor’east to 2 points abaft the mizzen foc’sle and the seas have risen in 100-foot swells that reveal all the plastic we’ve thrown into the ocean. Also, sharks.

Yes, I’ve been dealing with some shit over here, but BFD. That’s life and if anyone is reading this – you are, aren’t you? – I’m sure you’re coping with your own aquatic metaphors. And I’m sure that, like me, you agree with Paul Simon: “Breakdowns come and breakdowns go. So what are you going to do about it, that’s what I’d like to know.”

What I’m going to do, as I prepare to enter the final year of my so-called working life, is to finish my novel, which has been in process so long and gone through so many changes that I can hardly believe I began it in 1960 as a musical about minor-league ping-pong. In the past eight years I’ve written three short stories based on the characters, wrote four obituaries (a good way to get to know someone you made out of nothing), and I even started a magazine profile before I yanked the mental reins and cried “Whoa!” Finish the book! Type “The End”!

To hit this goal, I’m igniting or possibly immolating myself by plunging into this year’s edition of the Clarion West Write-a-thon, starting Sunday, June 23, and running through Saturday, August 3.

I’ve done this before (that death march began here), and it was extremely helpful. However, writing every day no matter who was in town, what was happening at work, or which bureaucracy was chomping my ass was a challenge. At least this year I know what I’m in for. And just to add to the fun, I’ll be writing every day while I’m dieting every day. Follow the carnage on my writing blog, which I reanimated in April after a refreshing two-year stay in a submersible at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

Browse all the people who will be writing while the Clarion West Class of 2019 is in session. There are 90 of us as I type this. I’m the only Steven.

Does this experience sound like it’s going to be painful? I don’t have time for pain. Frankly, the only pain I have time for is the pain I put on fools who don’t know what time it is.

See you Sunday night. Thanks for your patience, support, and/or polite indifference.


  1. Dr. D says:

    So it’s like a marathon, but you are writing instead of running. Good! Make sure to batten down the hatches before you start.

  2. mikener says:

    Fucking Awesome!
    You go guy.

  3. Linda Jordan says:

    Awesome! Glad you’re gonna be writing. Sorry life has been insane.

  4. Jerry Kaufman says:

    Good luck with that. Really. (Gosh, I sound sarcastic.) I’ve signed up to follow the writing blog with 70 other people.

  5. Bridget says:

    Bravo, Steve!

  6. Sherry says:

    Congrats on moving forward despite the rising tides. Hope you’ll be well and just don’t fall down any. 😍

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