Bus  Sporadic conversations. People talking on cell phones or to each other all around me. The chorus of voices mixing with the rattling of the bus to create the background music. The cast is that of people zoning out and some attempting to catch a quick nap, others jostling to find a better seat (if there is a place to sit at all). My own place on many days facing sideways, clinging to my laptop and praying it doesn’t slide from my grip and to the ground as the driver slams on the brakes.

Druggies. Thugs. Mothers attempting to corral their children as they navigate the unsteady ground. Sweaty shirt clinging to my back. And the smells. Oh the smells…the odor that has the ability to permeate through layers of clothing and take up an extended residence in my olfactory system. The odor that hints at the practical petri dish the surfaces on the bus have become. The invisible microbes that I can nearly feel on my skin every time I’m forced to take a handhold. Such that as I type even now I wonder what I’m transferring from my fingers with every keystroke.

Thousands upon thousands of people making the same trip into the city. Shipped in from the suburbs to sustain the void that the city would become without her daily fill of populace. An infusion by morning to counterbalance the evening bleed of workers that keep her alive, if only for another day.

And during the commute to attend my job is where I truly work, where I write about life and living, fantasies of worlds I can scarcely contain in my mind and fight for the time to assign them their text. Worlds I would fill my time with if I had the opportunity. But I take a fragment of my time instead. Writing through the chaos of noise, smells, jostling and the abrupt end of a thought not finished as I scramble to exit when the doors groan open. Whipping out my phone to complete the thought I had only just begun to formulate.

Such are the glories of my daily commute and the vast majority of the time I spend writing. I feel I’ve become so accustomed to writing on the bus that it is now where I feel I will always generate my best work. Writing at home, I feel the draw of a hundred different distractions but on the bus there is the absence of internet, absence of the feeling that there is something else I should be doing. I have such a compulsion and urgency to produce these words that the games or even the music that use to consume my focus, lose my interest within seconds.

I look at the people around me, on their phones, gaming, wasting such precious, uninterrupted (some might say) time that could be used for such creating. I feel I have a secret that if people understood, there would be dozens of laptop keys clicking away as if at a university library, not the public metro system.

In celebration of the completion of the first two (almost three) chapters of my novel, I’ve decided to resurface in the online world and write another of these posts. I’ve realized that, as my focus and interests shift, my writing tends to follow. The reason I am now writing about writing. Where is it you write? Where is it you craft the words you’ve been given?

Well the day has come; the one that I knew was inevitable when I started this little project (and I know it’s probably far too soon since I only just got started). I feel like I led you on. Like a summertime fling or a half finished project in the garage (not that I know much about either, ever only dating one woman and having no garage to speak of).

I’m going to cut back on posting to about once a month (to clear my head and my ever-expanding word document of ideas) and in the interim I will be completing a novella I started a couple weeks ago. I expected this but didn’t know what would institute this little hiatus—it actually originated from a 300-page book entitled, On Writing.

I’m sure most or at least many budding writers have ingested this book and have their own opinions on what the writer has to say. Far from this post being a book review, I will only say that the book by Stephen King was an inspiration and motivation for me to seriously taking a crack at the fictional world I’ve only just begun to develop.

For those curious on what it’s about (I’m not going to say yet) I plan on giving more details about the work and hope to have a synopsis ready either next month or the month after—I have found that it’s a bit difficult to write a synopsis when the final project is yet to be finished. I have a rough outline and know that it will only be a short work but something I’ve been trying to apply from Mr. King is to let the characters guide the story. Outlines may be a useful tool but they have the potential to strain the plot and constrain character development.

Something else I learned about the book (I guess I lied a bit when I said this wasn’t going to be a book review) was that it’s important to just write the book/story/excerpt with as little editing as possible through the first draft. My issue, the reason that it takes me so long to write anything, is that I like to revise constantly. I enjoy going back over my work, many times in its entirety, picking at the story here and there. The issue with this is that it takes FOREVER to finish a chapter. Just write, keep the train of thought and make a point of resisting the urge to edit until at least a large section has been completed; preferably an entire chapter (or blog post).

Well that’s it. To make it official I will be changing my “goal” to once a month. I do look forward to these little interludes, but even more, I look forward to presenting you with a longer work to enjoy (that is, if I ever figure out all this self-publishing stuff).

Different directions

For about a month now, I’ve simply been writing to put words down on the proverbial page.  I’ve started using it as an outlet, a reason to continue practicing this skill and a welcome break from both my day job and a novel I’ve been writing in spurts of fervor and stagnation.  I’ve been checking the numbers of hits I’ve received following a post and tried to determine how best to fashion and grow this blog based on my own interests and expertise (since apparently I’ve decided I have some at age 25).  This blog will contain posts about healthcare and science (the two topics I have at least rudimentary knowledge about), as well as thoughts and opinions.  I prefer not to muddle the focus of themes but don’t have a good way to do that beyond the categories section so it’ll be your job to determine what sections you prefer to read.

To the twenty(+) followers that have decided I have some worth as a writer (and to my wonderful wife who has graciously agreed to be my informal editor), I hope that you will check out my other sections and subscribe or forward as you feel driven.  Beyond that, enjoy.

Of Oregon

So to explain the name of this blog (which holds a bit more meaning than a simple play on words) I must first explain my own history.  Growing up in a suburb of Portland certainly shaped my worldview.  Okay, technically the capital of Oregon (Salem, for those of you geographically-challenged—and not the witch-related one) is far from being a suburb but if we’re going to be honest, Portland is the heart and lungs of the state.  There’s even a nature documentary on television where scientists attempt to catch Portlandians in their natural habitat.

Being transplanted into another state (successfully, thanks to my wife who’s from Oregon’s northward cousin) held more changes than I had seriously considered.  The driving is faster: my hypothesis is that this is due to the tranquil blue writing on a standard Oregon license plate versus the abrasive and harsh red lettering on a Washington one.  Hmm…come to think of it, California also has red lettering (further study required).  You also have to pump the gas in this state yourself, how archaic!  You’re saying that’s the way the rest of the country works?  Well Oregon has professionals that take care of such a complicated and hazardous process (gas can catch fire you know).  And a final but crucial change from Oregon to Washington is that the listed price of an item is a complete and utter lie.  This state (and a few others, I’m told) expects you to not only do math but also know which arbitrary county demands more of your money than the previous one you visited; the “Dollar-Ten” store certainly has a bit less appeal than the Dollar Tree.   Don’t even get me started on how they figure out the tax on a bottle of gin (or whiskey if you’re so inclined).

There are good parts about this state, the reason I still reside here I suppose.  The first reason being that my family has made a home here.  I found a job that allows my wife to stay home with our daughter and I’ve even begun to enjoy the inevitable 1-1.5 hour commute by bus that allows me to write for at least 90 minutes a work day (where I’m sitting to ‘pen’ this very post).  I begrudgingly admit that Mt. Rainier is superior to Mt. Hood in both girth and beauty and Seattle has the craziest fans.  The state of Washington has become a resting place for this transplant and without an obvious call from God, I don’t see myself parting with it anytime soon.