Rain streamed down Helene’s face and arms, falling over the white knuckles of her balled fists. Ramona walked out on the stoop of the brownstone and Helene stepped toward her. Her fists still formed, she charged toward Ramona and
My nine-year-old daughter appears in the threshold of my darkened bedroom.
“Daddy, mommy said your show is about to come on and you need to go in the living room with her and let me have this room.”
I sigh then smile and pick up my laptop to go to my summoner.
came to within inches from Ramona’s lips.
*knock on my front door* It’s our teenaged neighbor.
“Hey, can Carly (my nine-year-old daughter) and Taylor (my seventeen-year-old) come over and make smores with us.”
My wife handles the situation then I start thinking of the next sentence when a Twitter “@” pops up on my screen. Then an email. Then a Facebook response to a post.
This is how I write. Distracted, obsessed, irritated, focused in moments, led astray in others is how the “magic” happens with my writing style. There’s a number two pencil and college ruled notebook in my car at all times. I scribbled scenes, ideas, moments later turned into prose while I wait in line to pick up children from school. I’ve written in fast food drive thru lines, red lights, and in my work’s parking lot, waiting for the building to open. The bathroom is not only NOT off-limits, it serves as a de facto office in my home since I don’t have one. I write when I can. I believe that if you want to write then you will and I really want to.
In the past twelve months I’ve written 3 1/2 books, publishing two, and look to finish one in December, the sequel to my first novella, The Ballad of Helene Troy, with the current working title of Woman of Troy. The sentence around the family machinations you read above (in bold type) are from that work in progress. I have a real job, as a project manager for a communications company. I also am a columnist for Sprocket Ink www.sprocketink.com , do writing prompts for Trifecta Writing Challenge www.trifectawritingchallenge.com and now am helping my friends Jen and Linda with a new website about music called Raised on the Radio www.raisedontheradio.com
The most common question I get asked, online and off, is; “where do you find the time to write?”
The answer is inside the scenario played out, above. I don’t have the time, I take it, like one of the 300 Spartan soldiers in the Battle of Thermopylae. But my King Leonidas is my embattled, obsessive compulsive, attention defected bi-polar mind and my Greece is my family, who support me no matter what. But, I don’t have time to get the abs of a Spartan soldier. So, this is all very metaphorical and a lot of wishful thinking.
The Helene sequel will get done. So will my Tuesday and Friday columns for Sprocket. I’ll squeeze in something for Raised On The Radio. But most of all, my nine-year-old has a softball game Tuesday where she may be making her debut at third base. Then Wednesday is my ten-year-old’s judo class and her drums practice is Thursday. On Friday night we travel an hour an a half to the thriving metropolis of Danielsville, Georgia to see my teenager cheer her high school football team, the Lanier Longhorns, to victory over the Madison County Red Raiders. Maybe, I’ll be able to chicken-scratch a chapter and half or something funny about a song I heard for the music buddies.
I figure it out. Sometimes I’m not patient with my wife and kids but I’ll always here or there or wherever they need me to be. I don’t mind running errands when they ask. The red lights and the grocery store parking lots provide plenty of opportunity and inspiration.
There’s a song by the band Cake off their Comfort Eagle album from a dozen years ago called Shadow Stabbing. It’s a deep cut, meaning you didn’t hear it on the radio or on MTV the way you did Short Skirt/Long Jacket, the hit off that record. But Shadow Stabbing is about writing. It’s about the struggle to find the words when life is going on around you.
Art is hard. I’m lucky to have people around me that ultimately support who I am and what I want to do. Do they interrupt me every five minutes, yes. But they also help me put my books together, email me stories they find on the internet that I might find useful, and tell everyone they know about my writing. I may feel like a Spartan soldier going into dangerous battle, but my shield and helmet are not just whatever talent I possess but also what I have around me.
You can find The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body for amazon kindle downloads here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_sabc?url=search-alias%3Daps&pageMinusResults=1&suo=1379291858959#/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lance%20burson&sprefix=lance%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alance%20burson
and in paperback from Lulu.com here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=lance+burson&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=&x=0&y=0