Robert McKay: Blog


My writing...or the lack thereof

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I looked just now at my previous blog post - and it's from April or 2013, nearly six years ago. At that time I was posting the most recent Carpenter story (and the most recent piece of fiction) that I'd written. Since then I've tried writing - indeed, I got several chapters into a Carpenter story that I thought, and still think, would have been a good one, but reached a point where I literally couldn't write another word; the story just wouldn't come. I've in the past couple of years tried writing in an entirely different universe, with even less success. All I can think is that I only had a certain amount of fiction in me, and it poured out into the Carpenter universe, leaving me empty of further writing.

I've recently, in the past couple of weeks, gone back after this span of years and reread several of the Carpenter novels, and a couple of others in that universe. From a somewhat less subjective perspective, I find them highly entertaining light reading - nothing intellectual, nothing profound, but good fun. I hope that everyone else finds them enjoyable as well.

Because I've not been writing, I've for some years literally not paid any attention to Fine Stories at all. In consequence, I expect I've totally missed any number of messages in my inbox. If you sent something to me, and I never replied, that's the reason - I just wasn't here.

If I ever do resume writing fiction, in or out of the Carpenter universe, I expect I'll post it. Publication, with at least some financial rewards, would be nice, but I don't have the temperament for submitting things all over the place, and negotiating contracts, and all that jazz. For me the writing was always about the writing, and never about fame or fortune. Having Fine Stories on which to post my stories was gravy; I'd've written them even if no one ever saw them, much as Emily Dickenson stored away the vast bulk of her poetry, so that not even her closest friends or relatives knew what a trove she'd produced till after her death.

Meanwhile, I hope that all who read my stories accept them for what they are, and enjoy them on that basis, for as long as Fine Stories continues to exist.

What's after SWA?

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As I've mentioned before, the story I'm currently posting, Sweet Home Alabama, is the last completed Carpenter story. And it looks like it'll be the last - after half a dozen years of the Carpenter family dominating my thoughts, they're now fading away. They came, they conquered, and now they're going. Why it worked like that is beyond me - I'm just glad I got to spend some time with them.

My writing is, right now, almost nil. I'm always a poet, though long periods can go by when I don't write a single poem. But fiction is something else entirely. I've had years go by where I not only didn't write a single piece of fiction, but didn't much care if I did.

However, I don't know that my fiction impulse is entirely dead right now. This past week I've written two short stories - vignettes, almost. They're considerably darker than either the Carpenter stories or the Christian romances which take place in the Carpenter universe. And I'm not satisfied with them - they seem to promise a lot and deliver only a fraction of it. But I may wind up writing in a different direction - more "literary," perhaps, though I'll never be up to the quality of Ernest Hemingway.

At any rate, when SWA is done I probably will vanish into the haze. But I may, and that's a definite may, return some time with something completely different. :)

Delays & such

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It's been an "interesting" couple of weeks. First we found out my wife's diabetic, and had a whole new thing to concentrate on. This past week I had a terrible cold on top of terrible allergies, which caused me to miss two days of work and which isn't gone yet (at least as the cold's receding, the allergies aren't coming back as fierce as they were). I've had my mind everywhere except posting chapters.

It's surprising that no one's inquired as to where the rest of the story is. But even if you didn't care, now you know. I intend to resume posting a week from today, but I won't make any promises. :)

Sweet Home Alabama

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I just now u/led the first four chapters of Sweet Home Alabama, the last Carpenter novel I've completed (whether there will someday be more I have no idea). It's different from the previous ones - Cecelia, having been a cop and close to obtaining here PI license, isn't quite as peaceful as she used to be. And under the provocation of a burning cross, and the revelation* of racism among some of the people in and around her hometown, she becomes pretty violent. And Darvin's temper, which you've read of if you've read previous novels, shows itself for real.

But I like this one. I'll not spoil the story by telling you why, especially since individual readers have individual responses. But I hope you like it too.

*"Reveal" is NOT a noun!

Ends - 1 accomplished, 1 approaching

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Last week I u/led the completion of High Flight. That's the last of my non-Carpenter novels. Life Is Short, the Carpenter novel I'm currently posting, is nearing its end, and after that will be Sweet Home Alabama. And that will be the end of the Carpenter novels.

I do have some short pieces which I might u/l, but I might not. I have to confess that after thinking about the Carpenters and their world since December of 2004, writing about them up through (IIRC) 2010, and posting so much this while, I'm finally getting detached from it all. I'm even getting to where the Carpenters, who for years were almost as real to me as real people, are more and more shadowy and less and less interesting.

And my fiction spring seems to have dried up. There's one story I would like to finish, just to finish it if nothing else, but I've had no "inspiration" in a long while now. My writing has moved to poetry, and this is Fine Stories, not fine poetry. :)

So an end has come, and another one's coming...