It's odd to find yourself on the far side of 40 years old and still discover major facts about yourself.
I like asparagus, for example.
Growing up, I think my mom cooked asparagus maybe two times, ever. The first time was awful, and the other time was worse. All I can remember was an all-consuming sense of "this is some nasty stuff," and fighting every bite all the way down my throat, as if at some point the governor might call and issue a pardon for that mouthful of mushy gray-green unpleasance to which I was suffering in mid-sentence.
Turns out that it wasn't the vegetable at fault at all, but rather the cook. As I grow older, I realize with some amusement that my mom was probably just not that great of a chef, at least, not with vegetables. Mom didn't cook veggies — she interrogated them, subjecting them to heat, pressure, and open containers of Morton's salt until the poor little things confessed to both crimes against The Pope and the abduction of the Lindbergh baby.
Yellow squash, eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus... all got a bum wrap in my childhood memory due to the way mom would cook them into flavorless semi-soft paste. The Apollo astronauts likely had more texture in their diet as they sucked supper from a series of toothpaste tubes.
Another discovery I've made in surprisingly recent days is that I am a morning writer, and that I cannot write when other people are moving around near me. When I mention this to people they always chuckle. " And all those years where you claimed to be a late night person...!
The thing is, I am a late night person, but I am a morning writer.
If you want someone to carouse and skate around childishly amusing activities of debatable legality and safety, then I'm your huckleberry. But if you want me to do any useful creative writing, you better get to me by noon, and you'd better have a pot of coffee ready, and some quiet disturbance free room in which I can bang the keyboard.
I'm struck by that right now as it's mid-morning and I feel like I ought to be writing, yet due to the fact that The Wife and three of the four kids are in the den, whining and crying and arguing and folding laundry and bugging me with things like "can you look at the Doppler radar online to see if there are storms nearby?"
Hemingway didn't have to deal with this shit. Or, perhaps, maybe he did, and maybe it explains his grisly demise. Regardless, I know that I can't do decent work in such a setting, and it drives me half batty to confront, as I have shit badly in need of getting done:
• a script which I now admit disgustingly will *not* be ready for June 1 contest deadlines as hoped
• another script which could stand one more brush-up before I start seriously flogging it to possibly useful partners
• another script which has made it to 8 or 9 prodcos but (apparently) never for useful effect
That's the stuff I've been working on. Beyond that I have:
• at least three other projects in half-started state, waiting for enough attention to give them a fighting chance at actually becoming "working projects"
• another bizarre and disgustingly commercial idea that is so mercenary and ridiculous that it surely will find interested readers the moment I announce the title, premise, and tagline
• offers from at least three other talented folks to talk about co-writing projects
And now I find (as summer starts, natch) that I am basically incapable of creating stories unless it's quiet, the house is calm, it's before noon, and I have coffee and room to walk around in odd circles. This was a huge discovery for me to look up and notice in recent months, as I'd always assumed I could force myself to write was my schedule allows, when in fact that I have to wrestle my schedule like a flaming alligator in order to get the time I need to do productive work.
Next I'll find out that I'm actually left-handed and had somehow never noticed.
last man to know B