Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Another Weekend Done

This was one of those weekends that was largely unsatisfying from a writing perspective.

For one thing, I never quite recovered from my mid-week jaunt downstate for a funeral. I was only gone for a day and a half, but it felt much longer than that. I didn’t get back until Thursday evening, and never really got my rhythm back. I started working on the bits of Parallel Lives that I want to develop, but couldn’t quite get my teeth into it just yet. Part of it was the disruption of my rhythm, but part of it was that I had something competing for my writing attention at the same time.

Back in the spring I took a prompt at my Writer’s Group and ran with it, creating a beautiful piece that I thought was perfect for Parallel Lives. I took it home, finished it up, and dropped it proudly in the middle of the manuscript. The problem? It doesn’t fit, and I think I knew it even as I shoe-horned it in. I ignored that nagging feeling and left it alone, moved on, finished the book, blah de blah.

When I read through the book I knew I was right, this piece really didn’t belong there. The voice of the piece was all wrong, and, while there was some thematic connection, it just wasn’t quite right, and I didn’t think I could really make it right. Out it came. I have to say, ‘Kill your darlings’ isn’t as hard as I thought.

But the piece has been nagging at me, especially over the last two weeks. I wanted to do something with it, and, when the folks over at Time Frame announced their official launch party, I thought, “Perfect! I’ll submit it to them and read it at the Open Mic Night that’s part of the launch!” What a great idea!

Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that I can’t get quite right. The deadline for submissions for Time Frame passed by yesterday, and this piece still sits, unfinished, competing with Parallel Lives for attention.

Have you ever had something that you’ve felt so compelled to write and get right? That’s the way this thing is for me right now. So, back to banging my head against the keyboard.

3 Responses

  1. Oh, yes. It's like finding a red puzzle piece, when you've spent days working on an image of blue skies. Where does the piece fit? Does it fit? Does it belong to another puzzle? Ugh. Best of luck!

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