Writing is simple, Hemingway said, “sit at your typewriter (computer) and bleed.”
I am willing to sacrifice for my craft and in all honesty feel I have. The rewards far outweigh any forfeit, I’ve suffered, but I remain ready to pay the price.
That belief came under direct attack about a week ago.
For those who have not read my book, The Tenth Nail, I’d like to introduce two of the main characters; Nate and Clare Burns.
Nate, a homicide detective with the Albuquerque Police Department, was born and raised in Chicago. He considers himself a man of the west, sees himself as a reincarnation of a western lawman. He wears, boot cut pants, Tony Lama boots, and western shirts. He prefers tolled leather belts and bolo ties. His jewelry is silver inlayed with turquoise. He also wears a Stetson hat.
Clare; red-headed, with green eyes, is a strong, and intelligent woman. She is the mother of their two daughters, Lizzie and Shelby. Clare does her best to put up with Nate and is currently angry with the man.
A little over a week ago, while I worked on book two, and felt I was making good progress, Nate stopped by to see me. He interrupted my writing.
“What can I do for you,” I asked.
“I don’t like the way you wrote the dinner scene,” he replied.
Nate is a little taller than me, twenty-odd years younger, and can intimidate, when he tries. He was trying as he leaned over my desk and looked down on me.
“What don’t you like?” I met his gaze directly, as I knew I had the power to make him short, fat and balding, is I so chose. To his credit, he didn’t back down.
“We both know, I’m in the dog house with Clare,” he said, and I nodded in agreement.
“I’ve written in a very nice dinner scene, where the two of you go out for pizza,” I reminded him.
“You and I both like pizza,” I defended my choice of restaurant.
“Pizza won’t get me out of trouble.”
I raised my eyebrows as I studied him. He had a point.
“What do you suggest,” I asked.
“Lizzie said I should take her out for sushi.”
“Are you out of your mind? Raw fish? You want to take your wife out to eat raw fish?”
Nate nodded, and he wore the expression of a man willing to sacrifice anything to save his marriage.
“You can’t take Clare out to eat sushi,” I said. I felt sorry for him. He was hurting.
“Why not,” he demanded more than asked.
“Because I don’t know anything about sushi, I’ve never ate the stuff, and I have no intention of doing so. Since I don’t know anything about it, you don’t know anything about it.”
“Then you’ll have to learn,” he said.
A few nights later, joined by my wife, I walked into my first sushi bar. I ordered a chef’s special, whic
h was a variety platter, and it allowed me to sample three different types.
I practiced using my chopsticks while I waited for my dinner. I managed to pick up my napkin several times, and only dropped one, or the other, or both twice. The second time, my pencil shaped tool of torment rolled under the table of the couple sitting next to us. I went after it, and when I returned to my seat, was bluntly told to “stop it.”
I would like to tell you; the meal was horrible. I would like to say how it smelled, well, like fish, and barely tolerable to eat. I wish I could tell you I didn’t enjoy the experience. I can’t.
I sacrificed for my craft. I faced the unknown to better my writing. Nate can now take Clare to a sushi dinner. I’m going to make sure she gives him “full marks” for his efforts.