On Resolutions, Goals and Writing Every Day

For many years, and I mean many, many years,  I've wanted to write every day. At times I've managed to. Since I was a kid, I tried keeping diaries, dream diaries even. But often I found that I couldn't get into the routine or I didn't want to face my thoughts. Sometimes I didn't want to have a permanent record of my dreams. Disturbing dreams that you often analyze when you wake and go "Wtf was that about??".
I think I was 9 when I first started recording some kind of memory on paper. Writing is fun but it can also be this great beast that burdens you when you stare at that page or screen, or read a book and think you could do that. Write.  Still,  the real hard part of writing really is not judging what you're writing as you write it. Not thinking "This sucks!" or "What will people think of this?"  I think, in the back of my mind I have fond memories, or maybe just memories of a time when I wrote and didn't care what anyone thought while doing it. That came after, when the work was presented.  There was real satisfaction when way back in the 5th grade at Manhattan's PS 152 school I got a little something printed in the school newspaper, about Halloween if I remember correctly.
When I was in 8th grade in Good Shepherd school, my English teacher, Sister Ann Veronica, prompted me to write as much as possible. She inspired me with the poetry of Frost and others. Short stories. Her class is one of my favorites in the memories of all of my schooling. Another English teacher a few years after that, in JFK HS also inspired me to write, Mrs Bartholomew.  But more than inspiring me to write they also heavily encouraged reading. That's really the key to writing, isn't it. Stephen King says it, you can't write if you don't read.
So here we are, the start of 2020 and I've promised myself that, yes, this year I'm gonna finish that book, I'm gonna blog, I'm gonna write short stories.  I'm gonna write more lyrics, complete more songs and not just leave them as scraps in a notebook. I'm gonna, as Dan Brown says in the ad for his Masterclass, write as if no one is watching, because no one is. Hopefully I can sign up soon to watch some of those online classes.
I used to subscribe to Writer's Digest in the 80's when I was still a teen in NYC harboring dreams of being published.  I read about how Robert Ludlum, one of my faves at the time, wrote longhand on a legal pad. I started doing it that way. I still have those pads with ideas, chapters, scribbles, doodles, thoughts, lyrics, rants... 
Now that I'm 51 I find that I'm really clear on how I want to live the rest of my life and the things I want to dedicate my time to, aside from family. And those things are the ones that bring me joy : learning, writing, composing.
I used to be a movie buff when I was young too. I love editing, for example. Editing video is a form of storytelling. Songwriting is a form of storytelling. Drawing can be a form of storytelling. So, does it all boil down to stories?
A while back because of changes in my life, I found it difficult to read fiction which was what I read the most when I was younger. Novels. Somewhere in my late 20's early 30's I switched to non-fiction. Reading about politics, biographies, process, events.  Same thing with films. I could enjoy some but I found myself leaning towards documentaries. In the end I think it comes to down to the love of learning. Nowadays we have so many choices, more than hours left in our lives, that it can be overwhelming to make a decision about what to use that time for. Do I want to invest 2 hours of my life on this film that is surely to be a badly written piece of crap? How about this TV show?
What saves me every time is that I can watch a shitty series or film while practicing guitar. I don't know if the fact that I'm not fully focused on it makes me see it on another level, almost analytical.
Take The Blacklist as an example. I'm well aware of the flaws that series has. But I also enjoy a lot of the dialogue written for James Spader and he's really good at it. So good, in fact, that I find myself hoping for a fast return to scenes with him when the story shifts to the other characters. I find myself critiquing the real possibilities of the actions taken by all the characters in the show, though. Like, how often can these people take out their guns for everything. How do apparent smaller people take on seasoned fighters and beat them, out shoot them, outsmart them every episode. And the body count, on both sides. mon dieu. Is there a website dedicated to body counts from shows?
That must be interesting reading, which fictional characters have racked up the most confirmed kills.
So, anyway, one of the reasons I watch shows is because I want to see what fiction writers actually get away with on screen. It might be easier on the written page. But shows like Peaky Blinders and Breaking Bad get away with a lot in terms of how much disbelief you can sustain. There's stuff that's happened on both those shows that made me go "No way! How can he walk away from that!"
The other thing I think about when enjoying all the characters with their shady morals is why do we. Why do we root for a Walter White, or a Tommy Shelby, or a Raymond Reddington who are clearly bad. Or are they? Shades of grey. In Breaking Bad we see the evolution of the character and at least I found myself thinking |Am I still on this guy's side?". But then again, near the end of the show he was fighting against some really bad hombres.
Is this the same phenomenon that makes The Empire Strikes Back my favorite of the Star Wars films I've seen? The bad guys win in that one, don't they?

That's it. This year I'm going to write more here on my website/blog, even if it's just for me. And before taking on new projects I'm going to finish old ones that are hanging in there waiting for me. In the end, paraphrasing Andy Warhol, make art and while others decide on its value, make more. Something like that.


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