2021 comes to a merciful end today, and I still haven’t finished my sequel to The “Volunteer”. When I started hauling RVs for a living, I figured on being able to write a little bit while on the road and even more at home. And since I only planned on being on the road about half the time, I thought my opportunities for writing would only increase from what they had been when I worked as an IT technician. But that hasn’t been the case as driving my eleven hours a day is exhausting and takes a toll on my eyes. I’ve been unable to read or write at the end of each driving day just because of the eyestrain and general exhaustion. It usually takes me a day to recharge once I get home from one my trips and another day to get back into the writing groove. However, I seem to be my four-year-old granddaughter’s center of attention on most of the days when I am home, and writing (and just about anything else) takes a back seat to her.
I generally loathe new year’s resolutions, but I am making a commitment to making more writing time in 2022, even if it means driving less than my eleven hours a day. I have to at least open my laptop and typed a few words each and every day. My sixteen-month-old truck already has 176,000 miles on it, and at my current rate, it will hit 300,000 miles by the end of 2022. While I’d like to think the truck will make it to one million miles (it is possible), I have to face the reality that I need to build more revenue streams than just that truck. I not only need to finish The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes in 2022, I need to write several additional novels. I do have two other ideas percolating in my mind, one of which already has a few chapters written.
I would like to wish anyone reading this a very Happy 2022. I still enjoy my RV hauling gig though, and to demonstrate that, here’s a photo of me from early October in front of Stephen King‘s house in Bangor, ME (my first-ever trip to Maine). I had delivered a trailer to a dealership in Glenburn. I had no idea where in Maine that was when I booked the trailer, so imagine my surprise when I saw that it was about ten minutes away from Stephen King’s house. I’ve been reading Stephen King’s fiction since 1982, so a stop in front of his house was just something I had to do while there. And I ate a very tasty lobster roll right after this photo was taken.
I just saw the news that author and screenwriter William Goldman died today. He was the screenwriter for such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man, A Bridge Too Far, and The Princess Bride.
I’ve been writing since I was a kid, stories and partial novels mostly. Back in 2003 (at the age of 37 which, now that I think of it, is a little beyond being a kid) I decided to teach myself screenwriting. I bought a copy of the Final Draft software, a couple of books on screenwriting, and went to work on a screenplay about a death row inmate who gets a final conjugal visit from a prostitute hired by his brother. That screenplay went through several drafts and several different endings before I shelved it. During this time, I made my one and, to date, only trip to Los Angeles to attend the 2003 Screenwriting Expo. One of the featured speakers there was William Goldman.
I listened to his presentation with great interest. He was, after all, one of the screenwriting giants, and I had read his books about the movie business Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell. The thing I remembered most about his session was that he said there were only two writing projects of his that he can look back on with any kind of sense of pride, that he felt he had done the best job he could. The first of these was the screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The second was both the novel and the screenplay The Princess Bride. As a writer who struggles with feelings of inadequacy regarding my own writing, hearing someone with his tremendous body of work say that he was only really satisfied with two things really had an impact on me.
After the session was over, I made my way to one of the men’s room in the Los Angeles Convention center. I was alone at the bank of urinals when someone stepped up and started using one to my right. I glanced over long enough to determine that William Goldman himself was taking a whiz right next to me. The fanboy in me went into overdrive. There was so much I wanted to ask him, about the production of Butch Cassidy, Andre the Giant in Princess Bride, adapting Stephen King novels for the screen, but I couldn’t say anything. We were in the men’s room doing our private business after all. So, I finished up and washed my hands. I left without uttering a word to him. I have always wished that I had said something…