Sunday, September 13, 2015


Every once in a while, I find myself having to apologize to my blog readers. This is always when, in the midst of a sort of running dialogue (some would say monologue), I’ll just go silent for a spell without so much as a “by your leave”. This is one of those occasions, and I know all too well it’s not one of my better traits.

In my defense, I never mean for these broad lagoons of silence to form. They just do. They’re a lot like life itself for many of us, in which we find ourselves doing whatever it is we’re doing “because we’re supposed to”, from one day to the next, with such focus, so as “not to get off the track” that, all of the sudden, we awaken to find that weeks, months or even years have gone by without our realizing it, making us wonder, with something like panic, “where on earth the time has gone!”
And in my mind, there’s always a good excuse. It usually has to do with what I call “writing for hire”, meaning the writing/editing/translating that puts food on the table and a roof over my head—work that my Midwestern American upbringing tells me must always come first. (By this logic, it follows that doing what you truly love, and what fills you with passion, can’t be considered “serious work” and so, must be somehow “wrong” if you do it in anything but your “spare time”).
While most of the people I know and care most about would (and do) say that this Middle-American work ethic of mine is a good thing, something I should be proud of, I have to admit that, deep down, I’ve always wished I could cut it loose, like an unbearable burden, place it on a pyre and, in a less than solemn ceremony (I can only imagine drinking, dancing and general debauchery would be in order), burn it to unrecognizable cinders and then spit—or whatever—on the ashes. But I’ve never seemed to have it in me to do that. I guess you can take the boy out of the Midwest, but not the Midwest out of the boy.
Some would say it’s a virtue, a strength to always be “takin’ care o’ business” but that depends on what you see as business—whether business is going after “what you can” or going after “what you want most”. My late and ever-missed brother would have put it down to “a lack of balls”. Deep down, and to my everlasting chagrin, I would have to agree with him. Still, know this: that even if it has taken me the longest time imaginable to start getting a dose of courage, it’s finally coming, little by little and better, perhaps, late than never.
This blog, which I began writing in fits and starts just over seven years ago, was a first step toward writing more of what I wanted to and less of what I had to. To those of you who have followed it, commented on it, encouraged me, told your friends and generally enjoyed what I’ve had to share, all I can do is say thanks for your loyalty, indulgence and patience, and add: stay tuned…there’s more to come.     


Sylvia said...

Hi Dan, after a long time! Your post sounds encouraging so I hasten to drop a few lines here, right away.
Great introduction about Midwestern values, being faithful to one's upbringing and all that, but I finally glimpse a changing Dan, one that might...I'm not sure...dedicate future years to writing what you really enjoy. Translations are fine and you're an expert, a specialist...but I hope to God you'll finally write your book and/or stories, rich with personal and outside experiences. You have so much to tell!! So get on with it, OK? You've no excuse unless your earnings don't tide you over to the end of the month, especially to feed your numerous dogs and cats, right?
A suggestion: start writing short bits on this blog, so that you get encouragement from your followers.
Some famous author said that writers spend most of their life in their pyjamas, hunched over a type-writer...but I know you chop wood and take walks and other stuff.
Don't keep us waiting. Cheers, Sylvia

Kevin Lossner said...

Ain't that the way? But there are a lot of words in those pools of silence, perhaps to be drawn later for refreshment.

Dan Newland said...

So right, Kevin! The trick is to stick close to the pool so you can sip from it daily.

Dan Newland said...

You're right, Sylvia. I've never been one to work in my pyjamas. I feel part of the discipline is getting up, getting dressed and going to work as if it were in an office "downtown", even if it's only in my cubbyhole of a studio upstairs. I do spend way too much time hunched over a keyboard--something that would be remedied by only writing "my own stuff" and not "everybody else's" as well, but c'est la vie. At least I live in a place where walking and hiking are a pleasure and that obliges me to do things like gathering, cutting and stacking firewood as a matter of survival.
Thanks for always "being there" when I manage to produce something for you to read, and for the occasional kick in the pants. That makes you an ideal reader.

jodi said...

damn,that curse of responsibility. I can't wait to see your mind freed to run with your most inner muse!!

Dan Newland said...

Thanks Jodi, as always, for your encourgement. And all I can say is, ditto!