Thursday, March 29, 2018

Oh, the Streets of Rome Are Filled with Rubble

Wish list for the next ten years of your life. 

From Jim

No one knows exactly when the music will stop. You hope there’ll be a chair available when it does, but eventually the seats fill up and you’re out. As sad as that might be, it’s inevitable so you might as well accept the bitter truth that, tôt ou tard, we’re all going to shuffle off this mortal coil. I’m at an age when thoughts of mortality are beginning to creep in, but I’ll take aging over the alternative any day. And that’s why I have ambitions. For this post, I’ll stick to the writing life, keeping my personal goals to myself.

In the next ten years, I’d like to:

1. Write as many damn books and short stories as I can. We can’t live forever, but our work has a chance. 

2. Meet and get to know as many readers and writers as I can. I love the community and find the company inspirational. That means lots of conferences. Not just the older, more-established ones, but all of them. Bring ’em on. As Tom Joad said, “I’ll be there, Ma.” And I hope to see you all there until they take me out feet first. 

3. Produce that one great book that we all feel we have inside. I’m proud of my books, but I don’t for a minute presume to think I’ve written my best work yet. I’ve got The Band’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” running through me head as I write this. And once I’ve written that great novel, I jolly well intend to write another one. Better. And then another.

4. Achieve the financial freedom to accomplish the goals enumerated above. I don’t need to be rich, but travel and booze don’t come cheap. And I like travel and booze.

5. Get one of my books reviewed in the goddamn New York Times.

6. Stay out of jail.

7. Eradicate the improper usage of “beg the question” from public and private dialogue.

8. Thumb my nose at anyone who aspires to transcend the genre. Ours is the best genre. Why would anyone want to transcend it?

9. Avoid ever appearing on the front page of the New York Post or the New York Daily News. Any tabloid paper, for that matter. Nothing good ever comes of that.

And finally,

10. Wear an ascot and get away with it.

So, while I’d love to have thirty-plus years left in the tank, I’ll content myself with these ten for now. Check back in 2028 for the next installment. 


Paul D. Marks said...

Love that Dylan/Band song, Jim. And I do think it's good to avoid getting on the tabloids...or maybe not. You know what they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

A solid list, Jim — write as much as you can while avoiding jail and the tabloids.

RJ Harlick said...

Good luck with your writing adventure, Jim. I have little doubt that you will achieve most of your wishlist.

catriona said...

How havd you got this much joie de vivre left after Left Coast Crime. I'm still a spent force. I'm like a costume of a writer, hanging on the back of a door (Micky Flanagan line about Delhi belly).

James W. Ziskin said...

Thanks, guys, for the encouraging comments!

Kathy Reel said...

That's a great list, Jim! You totally rock the ascot.

James W. Ziskin said...

Thanks, Kathy! I think so, too. ;-)

Ann said...

Of all the writers I have met, and I've met a few, you are a stand out. And not because you are twice as tall as I am. I loved your opening metaphor, musical chairs. That is exactly how it works, and I now notice how few chairs are left, how few players are still in the game. Jim, you have a gift of seeing humor in the serious and overwrought world we live in. I've not doubt you will write your opus, maybe about a Great White Whale? Just do it in my lifetime. I am no longer buying green bananas.

Metaphors be with you.

Danny Gardner said...

The ascot and its cousin the cravat are the loveliest bit of neckwear. Wholly endorsed. You could totally pull it off.

James W. Ziskin said...

Thanks, Danny!

James W. Ziskin said...

Thank you for the kind words, Ann. Green bananas... Ha!