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Awake, yet working on little sleep

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One last rambling entry for the year

I just thought I'd type up one last rambling entry for the year this morning, as Elizabeth and Drew are still sleeping (the little guy is getting pretty good about sleeping 3-4, sometimes even 5 hours at a pop each night, which is really good for a 17-day-old). I love the quiet early mornings, just me and the dog and yes, even the cat awake, creeping around softly so we don't wake the sleepers. Makes me feel all conscientous and thoughtful.

I'm having trouble believing that the year 2004 is almost over, and the "aughts" are almost half over. Time is speeding up. I could've sworn just a few weeks ago I'd moved out here to North Carolina from my two-year teaching stint in Nebraska (where I felt very much like Dr. Joel Fleischman on "Northern Exposure," but in a much less cool town!). But that was in '94, and then in '95 I met Lizzie, and my life really started.

We've been watching old episodes of "Northern Exposure" on DVD for the past few days. As usual, I loaded up our queue with too much of the same thing, so we've got 3 disks of "NoEx" now, and we're about overloaded with Cicely, Alaska. But what a great show -- snappy and intelligent writing, quirky and real characters, a nifty sense of fantasy and whimsy, and a true sense that each show was breaking new ground. Hard to believe the show first came out in '90 -- they barely feel dated (though Rob Morrow is so young and fresh-faced in those early shows!). I get a good sense of nostalgia watching those episodes, let me tell you.

I also got a nice dose of nostalgia from reading the big baseball book I got for Xmas -- I was reading an excerpt from "Shoeless Joe," which went on to be "Field of Dreams" the movie. It's set in Iowa, my home state, and the movie was shot in my home town. I really liked the writing of Kinsella -- it's a tad bit flowery, but he's able to suck you into the outrageous notion of building a perfect left field so that the long-dead Shoeless Joe will return. Great sensory details and interesting characters. His prose reminds me that good authors should be poets at heart. I tend to gloss over my descriptions and clip my sentences. Now I want to go read THAT novel...

But first I want to read Kris Nelscott's (aka Kris Rusch's) A Dangerous Road, a historical mystery set in the south around the time of Martin Luther King's assasination. I've been wanting to read this for a while, ever since the novel workshop, when Kris' husband Dean Wesley Smith raved about the third book in the series and how it's going to break out big-time. What I've read so far has been compelling -- it starts out with the protagonist driving through the Midwest after the death of MLK, remembering his time in Atlanta during the debut of "Gone with the Wind." Great voice, first-person, which I want to study. I'd love to read a lot of that today -- I'm getting interested in mysteries as well. For future projects, you see.

And I'm happy to report that I'm still considering, here at the end of the year, a future in fiction writing. For a while, right before and after Drew's birth, I was feeling pretty despondent about writing any more. I felt very uninterested in my different writing projects, that they weren't worth my time or effort. I mean, here I've got this little baby who's helpless! How can I waste my time on my goofy fantasies and ghost stories?

But thankfully I got over that. I'm actually itching to get my hands on my baseball novel again. If I have time, I plan on rereading that whole book all at once (maybe even this weekend) and making lots of notes -- I've been stuck on the opening 50 pages for too long, spinning my wheels and not seeing the bigger picture. I want to move on to the rest of the story, the stuff that really started to flow back when I was jamming out the words and story back in June and July and early August. I may even mess around with the voice, making it first-person. We shall see.

The good thing is, I have the urge to work on it again. I thought I'd lost that! Whew. Now, the baby's starting to wake up, and the dog needs walking. I'll have time for all this later today, and in the New Year. Have a great New Year's Eve!!! See ya next year!

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