Get Write With (fill in the blank)



John Clark on a day in the life. First off, keep in mind the adages ‘if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans’ and ‘life is what happens in between your plans.’ Imagine how un-fun life would be with predictability. Having said that, I’ll do my best to describe my typical day.

I wake up (I highly recommend doing so if you want to be the least bit productive) and ponder whatever dreams I had that I can remember. Usually there is at least one worth considering. Some seem to be on repeat, like the variations of being stuck in my job at the state hospital that I left 25 years ago, only those vary between my not having been paid for five years, and putting the older books on eBay for sale. (and no, I’m not going to see a therapist to get insight into them.)

Fresh coffee and reading obituaries in four local papers follows. No, I’m not morbid, but at my age, that’s where my missing friends and former co-workers turn up. In addition, I mine obituaries for interesting names for future use (either the first or last, never both) as well as unusual life experiences. Ever hear of a cant dog honer? A hame straightener? Didn’t think so.

Mon-Fri it’s off to the heated pool at the Alfond Youth Center for two hours of bliss. The first hour is open, so I alternate between my personal exercise program, and letting my mind bounce between various creative thoughts. I do a lot of writing in my head while simmering in 90+ degree water. The second hour is a series of structured exercises. I also serve as the group humorist. Most of the participants are regulars and enjoy my brand of humor.

Since I sell and swap used books online, The post office is my next stop after the pool. Then it’s home to have a second cup of coffee and catch up on email, often followed by a trip to the library.

I do not make myself write daily. If I’m not in the mood, I’ve learned there’s no sense in trying to force creativity and literary production. However, most of the time, when I’m in the mood, I take what filled my head at the pool and turn it into at least 1,000 words. I managed to write most of three books and several short stories that way in the past fifteen months.

I also enter sweepstakes every day, something I’ve done more or less on a regular basis since I was a teenager. I don’t win as often as I did before the internet made it easier to enter, but I’ve done quite well and it makes getting mail, both snail and online, more fun.

I read every day. I got that from my parents. When my mother was in her eighties, you always found her between two piles of books on a couch facing Sennebec Lake. I read (and review) between 220-300 books a year and have a TBR list that’s 40+ pages long. I’ve found that reading a lot makes me a better writer because I tend to pause in a book several times to think about the plot, the flow, the flaws and why I’ve been pulled in.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.