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8.16.2011

When is a Six-Iron like a Story?


That golf course there is where I've spent just about every Thursday afternoon over the course of the last year. Mill Cove is a wonderful neighborhood institution. From the club manager to the head golf pro and the superintendent, the people there are tremendously kind.

The course has a challenging layout--an Arnold Palmer design that, when played from the rear tees, can offer a stiff test for the seasoned player. It's out here, sitting beneath canopies while Florida gully washers blow lukewarm sideways raindrops the size of red plums, that I've figured out a lot of stuff.

Last week I was on fourteen. Playing from the back tees, I hit a long slice just to the edge of the first cut. The pin was set at the back of the green. I had to fly a pond and a couple of large spruce trees to hit it. 185 yards or so.

I grabbed a six, visualized the shot, cleared my mind, addressed the ball and hit it perfectly. It feathered up there, floating, hit the pitch, bounced once and checked up. I made a birdie.

More than anything, it just felt good to execute the thing that I was hoping to execute.

I'm finding that to be the case more and more with my fiction. I'm not writing here in the web journal as often because I've been writing much more fiction--actively creating, and not just polishing--over the last few weeks. I put down just shy of 5,000 new words last week, which is a lot for me. I expect I'll have a similar output by the end of this week.

I write short fiction more sparingly than I used to, but I'm better at it. Five years ago, I wrote a story and submitted it twenty-five times before retiring it. I'd do that twenty times a year.

Now, I'm writing longer stories. The subjects are more selective, and a bit more complex.

I've received good news on two recent stories in just the last week, with one success representing the culmination of a goal I set for myself years ago. It feels very good to have made this happen, but it just signifies a new place for me in my fiction.

When I hit that golf shot last week, I had every intention of it finding it's mark. After years of practice, that's a realistic expectation for me, and my scores reflect it.

I feel the same is now true for the stories I've been writing. I'm confident, every time I fully invest in a piece, that it will find a worthy home.

Time...it's all about time and repetition and practice and bringing a level of serious intention to the table. I hope that, for those dropping by here for a read from time to time, each of you is making the time to pursue your passions, and that you're occasionally (or, better yet, often) delighted in the little markers along the way that foster that love...

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