Ryan stole my thunder writing about revising and editing already, but maybe if we both write about it it seems like we’re really serious about it. We don’t have a book to edit. Just part of one. Much like eating an elephant, though, we’re doing this one bite at a time. We’ve reached an early goal, so we’re going to start reworking the material we have before we carry on. Revising ten thousand words seems significantly less daunting than revising sixty thousand. Little by little we’ll get there. Ten thousand, five thousand words a time. Whatever it takes.
As proof of our seriousness, I’m taking a sabbatical. Actually, I’m taking a vacation where I’m dedicating at least one full day to working on Pour on the Cool. Saying it’s a sabbatical sounds more impressive, though. I want to come back with our first revisions and edits completed, so we can set that to the side to work on as we have time, but be able to mostly focus our attention on moving forward. Also, I’m going to start conversations for our farm. Start exploring and understanding what that actually requires to move forward. I’m thirty one. It’s time to get serious about pursuing meaningful dreams in life.
There are many people in our culture who claim to possess the truth, but few who are willing to pursue the truth. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America claims to possess the truth but does little to pursue it. To pursue the truth, you need to start with a question. There is no question as to how America’s current penal system was built for Elizabeth Hinton. The answer is set before she even started. Our current penal system is a result of America’s racist government. Every step of our current history has been carefully planned out to crush minorities in this country. Police have historically been concentrated in inner city because that is where the highest density of minorities live. The matter of crime rates is of no importance to Hinton. The entire book is centered on an answer that was set before the book was written and quite possibly researched. I’m not informed enough to say how we got here, but I am sure that offering a false either/or dichotomy is not in pursuit of the truth. Nor it is helpful when there is an obvious need for both police and prison reform in this country. If we are to make progress on either front, we need to honestly look at how we arrived here. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America in America only serves to distract from the conversations needed.
I recently read how the story of Bill and Ted came to be. The writers wrote the script on yellow legal pads governed by one single idea. What makes us laugh. It was something written for them. They weren’t sure anyone else would ever read it, but they wanted to make something that they enjoyed and were proud of. Bill and Ted was meant for them, but it found its way into the world and now we all know how important it is to be excellent to each other.
This is a conversation Ryan and I have wrestled with over the past year. We have written a children’s story we are proud of and laugh constantly when we read it. Now matter how often we reread it. The story of a forgetful squirrel and the predicaments he finds himself in. Despite the joy we find in the story, it hasn’t translated to the world. Family, friends and random girls in bars enjoy it as much as we do, but the ‘right’ people don’t seem to want it. The people who can carry the silly story of a forgetful squirrel don’t seem interested. This has left us at a loss. We have something we are proud of, but we can’t get it delivered. We have wrestled with what to do. We have tried reproducing excerpts in other mediums. Looking for something that will stick. But after reading the account of Bill and Ted, I don’t think we should change anything. We have something we have enjoyed writing and we enjoy the finished product just as much. I say we stop trying to make it ‘right’ and stand by what we have. We have something we are proud of. We shouldn’t try watering it down just to make others happy. This is my renewed commitment to getting Forgetful Jerry, as he stands, published.
We’ve started anew, but there is a question that persists. A question that can bring this whole thing to an end if we aren’t careful. If we don’t answer it correctly. Leo’s story has become an open ended question. There is no real story to tell. We have the same starting and end points, still with nothing in between. As we have talk about ad nauseam, this no longer Leo’s story. It’s a new story. The story we’ve been telling since the beginning. The story of two guys and a hat full of dreams. It’s our story now. Leo is a set piece of sorts, helping move us along. The problem is that the story doesn’t have an ending. We can write it down, but it hangs there. With no neat conclusion. We have to solve this riddle to complete the story. We’ve discussed this endlessly, asking where this all goes. We have the beginning and the middle, but there is no real ending to it. The ending is the hardest part. Beginnings are easy. It doesn’t take much to get moving, but to end well takes skill. We’ve pondered over how to leave this story. Where do we finally end up. Inspiration struck and the hard work began. It’s about friends and dreams. That’s all it is, about two guys who found each other by accident and whose dreams just fit together neatly. That’s the ending but how to write it. That’s where the work begins.
It’s all a matter of perspective and what we are trying to accomplish with the poems, the children’s stories and Leo. There are several ways to look at it. We could be trying to find our medium as artists. Trying until something seems to work. We could be trying to set a platform for the future. One success, even if minor, can help us build for the future. We could be working towards being published authors, where any success counts. The matter of what is ultimately important. If we are trying to claim the title of published authors, we have met that goal, if only because of a technicality. Putting our work on a blog counts us as self published per some publishing entities. If the title of published author is all that matters, then we are there. We can rest easy knowing we set out to do something and we have. Mission accomplished. Unfortunately, that is not what we are going for. It’s part of it, but hardly the whole. We do want to acknowledgement that our writing is worthwhile and that we can produce good art. That is the point of making art, to find an audience. For us, the audience is part of bigger picture. The audience is part of our trip. The audience, the acknowledgement that we can make good art is necessary to build something bigger. This was never supposed to be about being famous authors or even mildly well known authors, but it was a means to an end. So while we could say that we have arrived and we have accomplished a goal, we are just getting started.