Resumption: Endings and Beginnings (2)

As part of my new journey, I’m resumed the “century push-up challenge” started by Kate Bachus at the beginning of 2017.

That involved doing 100 push-ups over the course of 100 days, adding one push-up to the total done each time. Day 1 saw you doing one push-up; Day 2, two push-ups, and so on. After we finished, some people kept up, and added other calisthenics. Squats was the first additional exercise suggested, and I was one of those “people” — doing 100 push-ups and then working my way through more and more squats, one and two and three at a time — until I let life intervene, as I’m not as disciplined as some people. Not as much as I should be disciplined, that wasn’t how I was raised, don’t you know; if there’s one thing you can say about a Catholic education and middle class roots, it instills the importance of a good work ethic. And that either takes or doesn’t. You either get with the program or you rebel against it, with “getting with it” and “rebellion” as individual as there are people; we’re not drones, all cut from the same mold.

So I’m back to the beginning, and it’s now Day 8, with eight push-ups, eight squats, and eight crunches knocked out before the day ends.

But that isn’t the end, not this time. My writing fell off following my stroke, and I’ve tried starting three novels and three short stories. I finished only one of the latter. That’s nowhere near the production I need. Time keeps passing, and I’ve stories to tell, and they won’t get out into the world if I don’t buckle down and apply myself. I’ve already wasted too much time since the first story I completed way back in 1998. Twenty years are a long time to sit idle, especially I know writing is a craft, and you only get better at it if you exercise. Just as you only get fit and stay fit by pushing yourself each and every day, turning the living of life into a habit.

I recently finished reading Stephen King’s IT again. I picked up the new premium mass market when I came out a few months back. The new movie version comes out next month, and I wanted to revisit the story again in time for the film. Afterward, I noted how the story touched on some aspects of King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower (which also has a film adaptation coming out in a short while), and I’ve considered revisiting those stories again. I knew I wouldn’t finish before the film hits the local cinemas, as eight novels comprise the main sequence, and many more King stories and novels radiate from the Tower in some manner. But contemplating this challenge, which is as daunting as 100 push-ups, squats, crunches, impressed upon me how much King accomplished since he started. He’s a man who never sits idle and lets life pass. Heck, even after his car accident, he penned a novel longhand to accommodate the physical restrictions his recovery presented to keep him away from his desk.

Look at the list of main Dark Tower books:

The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Wastelands, Wizard and Glass, The Wind Through The Keyhole, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower.

That’s eight books, written between 1982 and 2012, and that’s just those directly focused on Roland of Gilead. Eight in 30 years. Since Carrie came out in 1974, he’s produced nearly 70 novels and short story collections. Seventy-some in a little more than 42 years.

I’ve completed two novels and 17 short stories in twenty years. A molehill by comparison. I’m going to need to change something if I’m going to make my own mountain. While I doubt I’ll catch King, I should try to keep up with my peers.


About stephenwnagy

writer, father, husband. not necessarily in that order.
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