Confessions of an Off-kilter Soul

I have a new love in my life. I’m not sure that I like admitting this in such a public way but this love is one of a long series of loves. My wife of five decades understands, I hope. But it’s not as sordid as you might think. I am 70, after all, and it’s hard to sustain sordid at that age for very long. My new love, as well as all the old loves (other than my wife, of course), are technological in nature.

When I retired, my plan was to become a writer of fiction. I am doing just that in the form of a novel of time travel. If you’re patient, in a week or so, I should be putting up a sample chapter that is not so entangled with the rest of the book as to be incomprehensible. I am not surprised by the fact, but writing is hard work. I am writing a novel that span several millennia as well as several temporal points of view. The timeline is complicated enough that I had to sit down and write some software to keep track of it. (Yes, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! The fact that it was fun to do some programming again had nothing to do with it. Really!) The plotting and the actual writing of words have their challenges but are such fun. What has been the most challenging, in part because it is too much like work, is the bookkeeping .

The book has dozens of chapters. Each chapter has a work flow: dictate, cleanup, check spelling and grammar, read and revise, read and revise, and repeat until most of the crap is removed. Certain chapters need additional attention: Are the time-line dates consistent? Is each proper name spelled consistently? Does the chapter adequately reflect the themes of the book? Have I used enough descriptive material of the senses: sight, sound, touch, and taste? Have I introduced topics in the correct order? How can I associate the links to research and notes about approaches to the chapters that they support? Such is the windstorm that is my writing.

I had spreadsheets and sticky notes and scribbles in my paper notebook to keep track of all this. But all those messy distractions are slinking away into the darkness, defeated by the shining light of my new love.

I have found Scrivener. Scrivener is a software package that is designed to help writers like myself. Scrivener provides word processing that is suitable for writing long form material. The various things about status and notes are all baked into Scrivener. In fact, Scrivener’s so chock full of features that some people regard the package as being too complicated. I spent my life dealing with “complicated” and quite frankly I am reveling in all the goodness that I find in Scrivener. I keep thinking to myself, “I should take care of that particular issue in my writing. I wonder if Scrivener can help me.” I’ve had to do some digging in the documents and some searching of the Internet, but so far Scrivener has come through for me.

I am not going to divulge the details of our evolving relationship; that is not something a gentleman would do. Besides, there is a reason that romance and candle light are so firmly associated: Details tend to derail romance. Each of us has an image of what beauty (or some other ideal) is about; the world is much more comfortable for us if we can overlay what we imagine over the awkward reality that we inhabit. Harsh lights reveal the details that puncture our bubbles of illusion. Only a madman would pursue that line of behavior.

Rather it is the complications of a relationship that make it worthwhile to go on exploring it. One does not stay married for five decades if the story has been fully told in the first two. Scrivener is a substantial program and the effort of creating and exploring a relationship with her, I mean it, promises a long and lasting relationship. I’ve heard it said that “confession is good for the soul”. I have a new love in my life and I’m not ashamed for people to know


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