"If you don't know where you're going, you will probably end up somewhere else."
Laurence Johnston Peter 1919-1990 "The Peter Principle" 1969
I'm on the threshold of my new year now, having just celebrated another birthday (a big one!).
This weekend I was away with my writer's group, the Scribblers, to one of the enchanting Gulf Islands off the coast of B.C. We've been going to Mayne for about 10 years or more and I always look forward to these bi-annual retreats.
This time there were only six of us. None of the new members came, which is a pity because the retreats are what make our group unique. We pass the time doing writing exercises, hiking eating good meals prepared by various members, and enjoying the cameraderie.
Usually we have a 'theme' for these retreats, and this time it was 'Alter-egos' in literature and history to go along with the Gemini party (the Twins) which I organized to celebrate my birthday and other Geminis as well. These Gemini birthday parties have become a tradition since the began back in the late '70's. I've celebrated Gemini at home, on the beach, in Greece on Filoppapou and the Pynx Hill, in the Latin Quarter, in various tavernas in Athens, and this year it was special because I was celebrating with my writer friends on Mayne Island.
We had a weiner and marshmallow roast and had party hats and treats, played kid's games like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, drop the clothes pegs into a bottle (prizes for all!). The birthday cake was strawberry short-cake (my favorite). Then we did the intros to our alter-egos. Queen Elizabeth was there with a little talk about the royalty (that would be Dora);
Lord Byron (Dee) gave a little talk about his life; Ariel read her poem from "The Tempest" (Susan); and Snow White (Beverly) sang "Some Day My Prince Will Come". We expected an appearance of either Capt. Hook or Tom Sawyer but Allan didn't think of it.
Jack Kerouac was there (he's my writer-hero of the '50's. I used to wish I could write like him.) 'Jack' read a passage from 'Lonesome Road" and some of his poetry. It was another birthday to remember!
So here I am at the beginning of my new year and I must ask myself "Where are you going?"
I know I have several journeys planned including some short jaunts I'll be making in the next few weeks with my friend Patrick who is coming from Germany. Then there's NYC in Sept. and Chile in November.
But where am I going with my writing? I haven't been able to work on the novel for the last two weeks due to one thing or another but I am on the verge of starting again. First, though, I have to find my direction. Let's see...Polyperchon, the Regent of Macedon has been travelling down the coast of Greece to a meeting place where he will confront Phokion, the military governor of Athens who has been charged with treason by his fellow Athenians. The events due to take place are part of the critical political intrigue that propels the plot of my story to it's end.
Following this will be a dog-poisoning (the poison intended for the young son of Alexander), which results in a quick exit of the royal family to the safety of Dodoni where they will meet the formidable Olympias, Alexander's mother.
Everything is carefully plotted from here to the end and it's only a matter of staying with it and not having to stop too many times to do additional research. I have set my goal to finish before the end of summer. The next few weeks I may not get much writing time because of my guest arriving and the short trips around we will take. But July and August ought to allow me lots of writing time. I really have to dedicate myself to this and stay disciplined.
I've still got other travel stories to finish too. But those don't take me so much time. And then there's the marketing...(a writer's work is never done!)
At least I think I have a clear view of the direction in which I am going. I just hope I can stick to the path and don't stray off course. Where are you going?
"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 "Conclusions"