Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This Year of Our Lord Twenty Eleven, I find that I am still deep in the throes of attempting to uphold my resolution for the year.

It's not a hard one, really.  I can do resolutions.  Having resolved to do so, I've managed, in the last year, to get myself to stick to an exercise regimen that has taken me from being able to press half my weight...barely...to being able to bench all my weight plus thirty.  It feels good to be stronger, but given that I've got the strength and cardio thing rolling, that can't be my resolution.  I'd consider giving up beer, that sweet golden ichor of Dionysian delight, but 1) I just bottled a really amazing ale (really most marvelous, you must sample it) and; 2) I usually give that up for my Lenten fast and; 3) my beer gut seems more proportional now that the rest of me is like, all buff and all, and; 4) I just plain didn't want to.

Instead, I've taken to a more constructive project.  Wrapping up some unfinished business, as it were.

Back in my last year in undergrad, I spent many an evening and early morning in the computer lab, crankin' away on a children's novel.  It was a bit of fluff and whimsy, really, but I enjoyed writing it tremendously.  Sometimes, it wasn't that I was writing it at all.  It seemed to write itself.  There is such pleasure in letting your muse just pour through you.  That it was pleasurable was good, because my attempts to get it published were completely unsuccessful.   So it goes.

I enjoyed sharing it even more that I enjoyed writing it, particularly a few years ago when I had the great pleasure of reading it to my boys over two-week's worth of pre-bed story times.    Watching the light in their eyes listening to this story that wasn't a novel any other child knew, but was a sort of Secret Book Written By Dad Just for Them From Before They Were Born....that was wonderful.  That was worth, to me, more than even the most lucrative contract.

And a few years further back than that, when visiting with the mother of a deeply beloved friend from college after his funeral, I learned that he hadn't just squirrelled away the copies he'd asked me to bring him each time I finished a chapter.  He'd taken the chapters back to his Charlottesville home, where he and his mom had read them together.  Like a serial.  As I wrote it.  "Oh my dear," she laughed as we lunched in her home, a bright and gracious Southern Gentlewoman even on the day she  buried her youngest child, "You were the one who wrote that?  Jim and I loved that story!" 

So as a commitment to my kids, and to my friend who rests with our Maker, and to the hopes of my long-ago twenty year old self, I'm taking the manuscript...the last one surviving...and editing it, and retyping it.  Publishing now is...well...easy.  Particularly if you're self-publishing to iBooks and Kindle and Nook. 

Which, once I have done it, will represent the fulfillment of my resolution.

And every day or so for the last two weeks, particularly when I'm feeling lazy, the lads have checked in.  "So, Dad?  Are you making progress?"  "How's the book coming, Dad?"

This one, I'll have to keep.