It’s only been like 22 years.
What happened was a few years ago I had a big realization, one of those realizations that shocks you, sits you down, makes you shake when you realize out of nowhere that you are repeating the mistakes of your father that you swore to avoid. That you have designed your life around avoiding.
My father didn’t finish things.
I have avoided his fate in many ways. He only dabbled in journalism. I made it a career. He loved to perform but rarely did so. I made a habit of performing as often as possible. He had musical talent but never formed a band or joined a group. I formed a band, wrote songs, sang, made a record. He got divorced when he couldn’t make his relationship work. I have dedicated myself to making my relationship work and staying married.
Then one day I realized I had been working on the same novel for 18 years and was not so much closer to finishing it. I was leading Amherst Writers and Artists-style workshops which had freed up my creative imagination and my prose style, but I was still not completing work and sending it out for publication. I was sticking to my day job as an advice columnist for Salon.com which was great, a real gift, but I needed to face facts. I needed to find a method that would help me finish things and keep me from going down that same sad path of half-ass self-delusional tinkering that my dad went down, bless his heart, lovely man, deserved better in a lot of ways.
So I came up with this workshop idea and method, borrowed from experience and from sources too numerous to mention, and then my friend Danelle Morton, a very experienced and highly professional journalist and book collaborator and consultant, got herself in a tangle where she couldn’t finish a certain thing, and so she took a chance on this little group I had going, and so it worked for her, so we said, let’s write a book together about this method, and that’s what we did.
And I’m getting stuff finished.
But I still hate it when people ask. So don’t ask. I’ll get it done and then I’ll tell you.