I have been writing and rewriting a lot lately. Not all of it has been music related. I love working on new things on the guitar but recording has become a chore because of some technical issues that set me back in the past few months. There will always be new material accumulating but late nights and the ability to sacrifice sleep is beyond me.
Lately, I have been editing "The Middle Road to Nowhere", a book I started years ago. Editing is as important as writing to me. Detaching yourself from what you have already written and returning to it after some time will give you more perspective on what has already been written. If you are objective enough about your work, you can make it a lot more coherent and readable. Not sure if I'm succeeding or failing but the book is getting shorter. It was a little over 400 pages long. Dozens of pages have been cut.
It is not so much the content that needs editing and reworking but rather making what is already there more concise and engaging. I'm from the old Hemingway school of writing where it is the story and subject that matters, not how skillful and impressive the writer is with his language. The content needs to hold up. The way you write is just the vehicle through which it is being told. "A Farewell to Arms" and "Old Man and the Sea" weren't dense and convoluted. That was what made them great.
I also have to admit to having some artsy pretensions of being like my favourite writers like Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. If you have read books by these guys you'll understand where my worldview comes from. I can relate to their restlessness and the whole unfulfilled artist thing. The books they wrote were like journals but they were actually fictional accounts of true events, in which the writer is part of the story. I live vicariously through the characters in their books.
I started getting into the Beat Generation of poets and writers when I was a college student in the US during the mid 90's. That was what made me change my Broadcasting and Communications major to Philosophy. I was already taking one too many upper level elective classes like Existentialism, History of Ethics , Zen Buddhism, Philosophy of Language and a bunch of other heavy subjects to qualify for a major. I don't regret taking those classes and listening to lectures by my professors. The average person isn't going to be able to explain Nietzche of Kierkegaard to me in a more a more engaging and coherent way.
While editing my old work, I have also started writing a new book. The working title is, "The Layman's Guide to Exorcising Demons Through Songwriting". It started off as a book about the basics of songwriting for people who play guitar and want to write songs but aren't super talented or virtuosos at their instrument. I'm actually writing it for my son. Being able to write songs and channel my angst through song has gotten me through tough times. You don't need to see a shrink if you have an outlet for your inner turmoil and have the presence of mind to rationalise things. It is cheaper than paying someone a lot of money to listen to your problems. So far, it is turning out pretty nicely I'm happy I have something else to write about. It is all a labour of love. The day will come when I wll release all of it. Till then....