The Twelve-Step Writing Program

“The closest I’ve come to finding the writer I want to be is Flaubert, and he had syphilis.”
 – me

John Steinbeck is a close second. As I get older, I like to think he’s inching into first.

And how did he start? It was with a book about war. Seems like so many start with books about war.

When I was younger, I had icons and role models who were not appropriate. I wanted to be Henry Miller. I couldn’t be Henry Miller any more than I could be James Joyce. I couldn’t be Jack Kerouac or William S. Burroughs. I never wanted to be Hemingway.

Maybe I’m like Twain, just a funny guy who writes funny stories about strange and silly stuff. Maybe I’m not serious at all, though comedy is the most serious of all the arts. Tried to write a funny book already though, didn’t I?

Today is the day I stop…
 trying to find my icon and my mentor.

They can’t write a book for me.

There was a time when I felt like I was in the middle of the action, when I thought I knew something. Now I think how silly that was, but I can’t recapture a thing that was lost before I had it. That kind of quest is a young man’s game. The single man’s game. It is certainly not the game of a midwestern father and husband. It is not the game of someone with responsibilities.

Raising kids is tough too. That’s part of it. Getting older hurts. I don’t want to get any older without reaching my goal, but I’m further away today than I have ever been before. I’m so terribly far away that I cannot see the horizon. It’s like the world sailed on without me and I’m stuck here in the void, the night without end.

Today is the day I stop…
 complaining, about everything.

I’ve been gaining weight steadily for the last few… years. I won’t tell you how much. It’s obscene. But really, it’s worse because I dropped half my weight ten years ago and now it’s coming back.

It’s all stress eating really. Two years ago, I was dry then and vegetarian, but within a few months I was back on the sauce. After that, I fell off the meat wagon too, but that was later.

Maybe there was an interim time. I can’t recall. Where I was drinking and still not eating meat. I can’t remember now what came first. All I know is that stress put me up and over the top. Stress sent me spiraling.

Today is the day I stop…
 holding others responsible for my fate.

This is how I got into this position in the first place.

Today is the day I stop.

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