NaNoWriMo is Done! What Do I Do Next?

Now that your NaNoWriMo novel is done, what do you do next? Perhaps a Nano Rhino is not the best idea.
Photo by Flickr user mpclemens © 2011 https://www.flickr.com/photos/mpclemens/6221451182

It’s done. NaNoWriMo finished a few weeks ago and you’re done. Since you’re here, I assume you were diligent enough to hit the 50K goal and ‘win’ NaNoWriMo this year. Your manuscript is done and you’re feeling good about yourself. But then it hits you:

What Do I Do Next?

This is a question I hear from aspiring authors when they finish NaNoWriMo. I worked in publishing so people want to know what I think. And there’s usually follow-up questions like: do I send this to an agent or directly to a publisher, should I publish this myself, and so on.

I typically react the same way every year: Whoa whoa whoa. You’re not at that point yet. You might be done with a first draft, but it’s far from submission ready. Take the time to give your book several revision passes; you won’t regret it.

Revise

It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to fix everything. Everyone’s process is different but it can be helpful to give each pass a focus. For example, in your first pass make sure that you’re not jumping point-of-view (POV) characters too often and that the POV character for each scene is clear. In your second pass weed out grammatical errors—particularly passive voice. Then, in a third pass make sure that all your tenses match, i.e., is the story past tense or present tense? If you do another pass, look for factual errors or see if you have the diversity you want in your book.

Does that sound like a lot of work? Sorry, but it is. There’s no easy way around this. You have to put in the effort. And don’t bother telling me about all the crap books out there. Do you want your writing lumped in with those books? Because if you don’t revise your book, it will be.

There is no set number of revisions that a book needs. Your book will need as many revision passes as your book needs. I would say after three or four revisions passes find some people to read your manuscript. People who will give an honest opinion. That way you don’t get bogged down revising all the time. You’ll also be surprised at how much it helps to have a critical eye go over your writing.

Be Realistic

I get it. I do understand. I’m not an ogre. It’s exciting. You typed ‘The End’ and now you want to share. You have visions of talk shows and movie options and bestseller lists dancing in your brain (am I the only daydreamer here?) but you have set realistic expectations for yourself.

If you don’t normally write 50,000 words/month then chances are the manuscript you just finished is very rough. You don’t have the experience to turn out decent first-pass prose. You have to revise.

At best you get form rejections. At worst you get someone who writes back asking why you’re wasting their time (which happened to me). Rejection is not easy but it’s part of this business.

If good writing and bad writing both get rejected, then why put in the effort of fixing your writing? Well, you want your manuscript to make an impact. There are all sorts of reasons why books get rejected and you’d be surprised at how often someone has to say no to a good book. But if you write competently, editors will remember you. And since you’re not done writing, your chances improve with each subsequent book.

Get the idea? You’re done but this is just the beginning.

Tired and Down and Out

Tired? Me, too!

It seems that I’m tired all the time. I’ve noticed a small but significant number of posts recently from people saying that they’re stepping away from genre or from writing. This may be something that happens all the time but was just not something of which I was aware. But, just like when you hear a new word or an unusual name for a baby, all of a sudden you start seeing/hearing it everywhere.

You know where this is going, right?

I’ve felt worn down a lot lately. I’ve become tired of writing and editing in general and more specifically of the genre field for the better part of six months now.  It’s to the point where I do not enjoy reading genre and I barely enjoy watching genre. At least with watching it’s something I can do with my family so that’s still fun.

I haven’t gotten tired of reading genre to my kids. It’s fun to experience books again through their eyes.

But I rarely feel like writing. Once I get started I’m good and ideas flow on to the page. But it takes a lot of doing to get myself in the chair.

What happened?

I wrote a fair amount in genre in 2014 and 2015. I started using Trello to keep track of ideas and my progress as a writer. I buckled down on writing and got some words on the page. In August of 2014 I wrote six short stories, outlined the first book of a quartet and the synopses of the other three books in the quartet. Over the rest of the year I made good progress on a novel. NaNoWriMo helped me get a nice chunk of the novel on the page.

I attended my first writer’s workshop last summer so leading up to it I was finishing up my novel (it didn’t happen) and reading/editing my co-attendees manuscripts (happened to some degree but not fully). I continued to get short story ideas down and revised a few stories. I bought some software specifically geared towards writing and cleared my desk of clutter and made it a clean work space for writing.

I was energized coming out of the workshop but I knew that my novel needed major revisions. The main protagonist and antagonist didn’t have clear motivations, there was a lack of tension, and some of the major plot points were muddy and unclear. The good thing was I had a ton of great ideas from the workshop that would help these issues. The bad thing was I had too many ideas to know where to start.

I was overwhelmed. Since I had no deadline other than something arbitrary I set for myself I decided to set the novel aside. I needed a break from it. I continued to roll the big ideas around in my head, but I wasn’t making any real progress on them.

NaNoWriMo rolled around again so I dusted off a manuscript that was more than ten years old and started bashing it into shape. It is not genre. It’s two friends on a road trip. It’s very personal. I doubt that I’ll ever share it with anyone. So why am I writing it? I’m hoping to have that figured out by the time I finish it.

What does that even mean?

Who knows? Writing this book is very therapeutic. It doesn’t feel very complicated—we’re not talking David Foster Wallace—but I find that it suits me. I continue to have short fiction ideas—even revisions to existing short stories—so I open Trello and input my thoughts. I can’t bring myself to open a document to work on a story, but why lose the idea?

Mostly though, I’m just tired. I open Twitter and just feel this crushing weight as I scroll through what people are saying. Facebook is alternately angry and cats; sometimes angry cats. There’s a reason I’ve been reading about Mr. Rogers a lot lately. I’d given serious thought to deleting my social media accounts but there’s a piece of that I need for work and there’s another piece that’s people I want to stay in touch with so I kept it.

I didn’t write a post about my feelings because I’m not looking for sympathy but that’s what such a post would evoke in people. And then I saw more and more people talking about how they were tired of genre or writing or some such thing that they used to be passionate about. So I decided I wasn’t wrong in what I was thinking and that maybe I should share my thoughts.

So what now?

I’m keeping up with genre at a minimum. I’m picking up novels and short-story collections from authors I like. I’m not reading them. I can’t motivate myself to do so. I listen to a fair amount of short-fiction podcasts and I really enjoy those. I also devour literary fiction these days. I can’t get enough of it.

Maybe it’s just a change of pace. If I ate pizza at every meal I’d eventually get sick of it and want something, anything, else.

I haven’t gone to a convention since World Fantasy in 2014. (I don’t count the writing workshop or my annual day trip to Wiscon; if I don’t stay overnight it’s not like I’m at the convention) Before that I was attending at least two conventions a year if not four or more. That’s certainly given me a chance to view the field from a distance at the same time that it creates some distance between me and the field.

It’s not a bad thing. While I miss the people a lot I do not miss conventions.

I need to finish my road trip novel. I have to know that I can finish a novel. No matter how bad it is.

After that? Who knows, maybe some more poems!

My personal life

You may notice that I don’t talk a lot about my personal life here. Sure I talk about the fact that I have two kids, but I rarely mention my job or other things about my life. I have a steady, well-paying job that I love. I know that a lot of people aren’t that lucky. I work with a lot of amazing people. That plays a lot into my current feelings. There’s a big part of me that just wants to drop everything else and focus on my job.

Not that there aren’t issues with work. It’s a job. There’s going to be ups and downs. Right now one of my co-workers is out for an extended period of time so I’ve picked up his work in addition to mine. We’ve had a series of IT issues (which is my responsibility) that have been going on for months.

Even with all that this is the best job I’ve ever had.

My wife accepted a full-time teaching gig this past fall which meant that everyone in the house had to pitch in considerably more on maintaining the household. We all have less time together now than we used to but that’s the way life goes. Weekends tend to be running errands which isn’t always fun but you need food in the house.

We also recently listed our house for sale which adds a weird type of stress while you keep your house spotless and hope that some stranger likes it enough to buy it. You know, because there wasn’t enough other stuff going on.

It all adds up. It adds up mostly to me being tired and not motivated to do more than turn on Sportscenter and fall asleep waiting for highlights for my teams.

Twice in One Week: Poetry Overload

Twice in One Week?

As discussed last week, I’m putting up two poems. Yes, poetry is happening twice this week. Getting back on track with the poetry making.

OK, I said I was doing two poems last week and now it’s happening this week instead. I’ll get this worked out. I want to type all sorts of justifications and explanations, but what would be the point? Either I’ll keep writing poems or I won’t. The schedule is arbitrary and in my head so I’m mostly disappointing myself if I don’t keep to it. I’d like to keep to it, but I can’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen. It’s not like publishing has a history of delayed projects.

Besides, there are so few of you reading this that I hope you’re just happy that content appears. I’ve enjoyed writing the poems although the pressure is something I could do without. But, without that pressure I don’t know that I would write them. The classic double-edged sword.

I have been working on my road-trip novel more frequently, too. I doubt that will ever see the light of day but it’s under my skin and I want to get it done. I would really like to get back into writing stories and this novel needs to be finished before I can do that.

So yeah, get working, don’t worry about others, just produce.

The Prompt

Since I didn’t get a double poem out last week I had my kids pick again. Man they are good at this.

  • Teenager
  • Musician
  • Surprise party
  • Secret meeting

The Poem

The Overheard Remark

Purchases of extra fuel tanks
Deflated her checking account
So the final payment
On the hot-air balloon
Bounced

Leaving home behind
She decided she would never
Set foot on land again
Becoming homeless and free

The decision was made
Last night
When she overheard her mother
Remark about her foolishness
About balloons
About the need
To take life more seriously

She’d show her mother
Who was the fool
And who would be happy
Instead of miserable
Alone
Dejected

Poetry Hiatus Unintentional

Hiatus: It Happens

I didn’t mean to take a hiatus. It just happened. The kids have started more extracurricular activities; my wife’s job has had a number of late nights; I had been sleeping poorly. I’ve not mentioned it, but I use a CPAP device to sleep. My mask had gotten worn and the filter needed changing so the machine wasn’t working properly. I knew I was keeping my wife awake so I reverted back to sleeping on the couch for long stretches. Which leads to bad sleep. And typically a few hours on the couch, a few hours in bed, which is not a full night of rest. We’ve sorted that out and I’m sleeping again.

As we rush into March and the month of birthdays (myself and both my kids) I didn’t want to fall further behind. I have last week’s poem written (it’s actually the one that’s in this post) and this week’s written (it’ll go up on Friday) and then I’ll get on track for next week. We’ll have another vote coming up and if it’s only Thom and I who vote, then hopefully the two of us agree.

The larger point is, take care of yourself. If you aren’t getting rest your work, your life, will suffer. You might be driven to write every day. But you also might need to take some time off. Don’t get to the point like I did where my body forced a break. I’m enjoying writing poems every week this year but I can’t make myself sick doing it.

Speaking of poetry, I’m a big fan of Nancy Hightower‘s poetry and she has an excellent book of poems out right now called The Acolyte. I published a few poems of Nancy’s in Electric Velocipede so I may have a bit of a bias but I’m ok with that.

My Prompt for Next Week

Just like last time I had my kids pick the prompt cards from the Storymatic for me. My daughter selected the situation cards (the first two prompts) and my son selected the character cards (the last two prompts). I’m excited for this week. Not that the prompts haven’t been fun before but these are really evocative to me.

  • Homeless person
  • Owner of a hot air balloon
  • The overheard remark
  • Bounced check

Seriously, how great are those? I’m having the kids pick every time from here on out.

My Poem from Last Week

Stolen
One roll of film
Filled with wonder and beauty
Proof that he was the artist

Rejected
For missing one step
That was not his fault
Others took his accolades

Derision
From former colleagues and peers
His life’s work
Used flashbulb dead

Isolation
Neither happenstance or unwanted
Happier than ever
Since the decision to be alone

Trespasser
Not even the postal service knocks
His perfect solitude
Ruined like an opened darkroom door

Courier
An envelope and a small package
Signature required
Conversation optional

Invitation
To receive past due honors
Apologies for old transgressions
In the package a roll of film

Selection Is In and a New Poem

Not much of a selection (Photo of Empty bread shelf at supermarket by Maksym Kozlenko from Wikimedia Commons)The Selection is In

There were two paltry votes (one of which was made by me!) to make a selection of which poem I’ll revise for an end-of-the-year collection. Thank goodness they were for the same poem or I’d have to flip a coin. No matter, we’ll do better next time I’m sure.

Our selection was from week three, the poem about the guest taxidermist. Obviously I’m fine with the choice since it was the one I voted for. When I revise the poem I’ll talk about the process and try to articulate why I select different words and phrases.

My Prompt for Next Week

This week for something different I had my kids pick the prompt cards from the Storymatic for me. My daughter selected the character cards (the first two prompts) and my son selected the situation cards (the last two prompts). I’m excited for this week. Not that the prompts haven’t been fun before but these are really evocative to me.

  • Trespasser
  • Recluse
  • Undeveloped roll of film
  • Long awaited invitation

My Poem from Last Week

All of the Children Are Grown Up

Yesterday Bobby was the servant
We made him get us lemonade and snacks
Under the hot sun
He spent the afternoon spritzing a cool mist
And adjusting umbrellas to block the blaze

Ours moms just watched
As they haggled
Over items priced for a quarter or less
Which they no longer wanted
But felt some value could be had

Today I am the servant
Making Kool Aid (grape)
With too much sugar
The twins like to feel grit between their teeth
Inside I missed the incident outside

Some baseball cards went missing
Aiden, one of the twins, calls Bobby a thief
Alyssa, the other twin, calls for a full investigation
The cards are sitting next to me
On the table were Aiden put them

I transition from comfort to heat
Drinks and cards on my tray
Innocently I ask if they are Aiden’s
Must have forgotten them inside
The twins look mollified and drink in silence

I whisper to Bobby that he’s now in my debt
To be collected at some future date
Announce to the group that I am the host
As it’s not appropriate to have servants these days

(Photo Empty bread shelf at supermarket by Maksym Kozlenko from Wikimedia Commons)

Discipline is Lacking or Why This Week’s Poem is Late

The journal I write my poetry long hand. Is that's not discipline, I don't know what is!

I Lack Discipline So the Poem is Late

I used to have discipline. At one time in my life I worked full time as a computer programmer in Manhattan. I also published a small but critically acclaimed speculative fiction magazine. On top of that I earned a Masters in Library Science. I completed the degree in three semesters plus one summer. I was working full time and going to school full time. I never fell behind in my reading, I was never late on assignments. I responded to story submissions and published two issues of Electric Velocipede each  year.

But lately I’ve had trouble motivating myself after I get done with the work day and do my share of the family duties/fun. Most nights I’m all alone by 10:30p. Plenty of time to get a few hours of writing/editing in and then off to bed for a full night’s sleep. What tends to happen is that I cannot create enough inertia to get off the couch and there is where I fall asleep for a very uncomfortable nap.

Which means I basically take two naps each night instead of one solid sleep. It’s not good.

This week all that poor sleep really caught up to me. During the day, during the evening, I’ve had trouble focusing. I’ve been fighting headaches. I feel exhausted all the time. My brain is trying to make me take care of my body and get some darn rest. My brain needs me to be more disciplined about sleep.

I’m not a good one for rest. I often say “Sleep is for the weak.” At this point in my life I have to admit that I am weak. I need sleep. I need rest. This week’s poem is done and now I have two days to get another done.

I can do it. I know I can. It just takes discipline.

My Prompt for Next Week

  • Servant
  • Subject of an investigation
  • Garage sale
  • Debt

My Poem from Last Week

In the unending quest for perfection
Time off isn’t a reward
It’s just stress with a view of the beach
Harder to be away
Only to return
Face the pants on fire pretender
Who made a shambles in your absence

Promises like shattered bones
The pain starts long before the break can be seen
The usurper sits on a throne of lies
Familial connections like an angry carapace
Preventing any chance of redemption

Best hope is a Pyrrhic victory
Your fading scars serve as a reminder
Battles are rarely worth fighting
To stay behind your desk
Only to wither and be forgotten

Revise? Which Poem? You Decide!

Revise (original image found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/2756494307)Help Me Decide Which Poem to Revise

I’m behind on the new poem this week so I’ll take advantage of that to create a post so you can vote on which poem to revise. We’re looking at the poems written in January so we have four of them. To help you out, here are links to their posts:

I’ll take whichever of these poems has the most votes and revise it for a showcase in December. I’ll take some time to talk through the process of how I revised the poem and why I made the choices I did. The poll will be open until about midnight my time on Friday February 5, 2016.

Please note that the ‘titles’ of the poems are derived from the Storymatic prompt cards I draw. Whichever of these poems I revise will get a more formal title. I should probably do an entire post on titles although much of my experience is as a reader/editor and not so much as an author. For me, I always think of the title of a poem (and often a short story) as the first line of the piece. It can change the meaning of the poem and certainly should enhance your reading of it.

I always think of the Green Day song “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” which gets played a lot as a positive piece I think mostly because of the chorus which states “I hope you have the time of your life.” However, when taken in context of the title of the song it’s a sarcastic remark because the protagonist of the song actually hopes for the opposite. But, as these things go, people hear what they want and now the song is a staple of proms everywhere.

The Poll

Which poem should I revise for the end of the year? (links above)

  • Week Three: Guest Taxidermist (100%, 2 Votes)
  • Week One: Aging Clown (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Week Two: Dropout Singer (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Week Four: Scholar Bully (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Image from Flickr user Nic McPhee used under a Creative Commons license

Revisions – First Drafts Need Help

Always give your writing a good revision or two (or three or more)Revisions Are the Rule

So I’ve been posting draft poems so far this year. As I admitted last week, they’re not very good. So this week I opted to write out my first draft on paper (see image) so that I could make revisions as I went. I purposefully did not erase text but rather crossed it out so that it was still discernible so that I could see my thought process.

It’s still not a great poem, but I think it’s better. Putting it down on paper made me think more about my word choices than if I had the unlimited virtual page in front of me.

I don’t know if that would work for me with longer pieces. The thought of writing a novel longhand makes me slightly ill. However, I could write out stories and scenes/chapters that were problematic so that I could see the work differently. It was also easier to isolate myself and eliminate distractions if I was working on paper.

Revisions Are Not Optional

Yes, that’s restating my original point, but I don’t want people to miss it. If you think you can write a perfect draft first time through, you’re wrong. If you think you can craft an acceptable draft the first time through, I’ll contend you’re still wrong.

Every piece of writing needs revisions.

Every piece of writing can be made better.

Your writing is not an exception to this.

Quick reminder if you missed the first week’s post:

  1. I’m using the Storymatic for writing prompts
  2. Posting new words on Mondays for people playing at home
  3. Previous week’s poem also posted on Monday
  4. At the beginning of the next month we’ll take a vote on which poem to revise for a small collection at the end of the year

My Prompt for Next Week

  • Liar
  • Person who should not be in charge
  • Vacation
  • Broken bone

My Poem from Last Week

Friendship blossoms
Between odd fellows
Divergent paths
One, a scholar
The other, a dropout
But the bond between
Grows strong

The scholar
Suffers
Jibes, taunts, ridicule, curses, pushes, threats
It’s almost too much to bear

The dropout
Understands
Empathy exists
But the words really aren’t there to console

A ceremony
With cap and gown
Only one attends
Continues on the scholar’s path

There are few options
For the dropout
Watches his friend leave
And puts his back into his labors

The bond between them not broken
But communication withers
Drops into the deep hibernation of winter

Years pass
Marked by more ceremonies for one
Children and wives for the other
Despite his success
The scholar struggles
Can’t outstrip the razor’s sting of memory

A knock
Not a phone call
When the hour is past polite conversation
The night is pleasant
They enjoy a walk in the night air

The words still aren’t there for the dropout
Made worse by lack of common interests
But the scholar sees
His friend is content and satisfied
In ways he can never be

Writing Poetry is Difficult – Week #3

2016 Writing Resolution Week #3

OK, it’s week three of my resolution to write a poem a week and so far so good! This might be the longest I’ve ever kept a resolution. While keeping my resolution hasn’t been too difficult so far, I’m not exactly writing stellar poems so far.

Since these are first drafts (what I think of as proto-drafts) they sort of tell a story and don’t necessarily evoke any sort of emotion. They’re serviceable, but they need work. The word choice isn’t necessarily great and the imagery is virtually non-existent.

The poems I published in Electric Velocipede always evoked something for me. I think of Shira Lipkin’s “Wool and Silk and Wood” from issue #15/16. That’s probably the perfect example of what I liked in a poem. The poem is no longer online, but you can find in The Best of Electric Velocipede that was published by Fairwood Press a year or so ago.

It’s More Difficult Than People Might Think

Poem writing is hard, very hard. Anyone can string words together, but to write a poem that means something? You’re going to have to put some effort into it. I’ve thought about this a lot. It’s somewhat of a risk to put out super-rough not-very-great poems on my website but I’m hoping to be able to show a sort of process of editing and revision over the course of the year.

Quick reminder if you missed the first week’s post:

  1. I’m using the Storymatic for writing prompts
  2. Posting new words on Mondays for people playing at home
  3. Previous week’s poem also posted on Monday
  4. At the end of the month we’ll take a vote on which poem to revise for a small collection at the end of the year

My Prompt for Next Week

Got it? Good. Here are this week’s words:

  • Scholar
  • Person who is bullied
  • Long walk with an old friend
  • Knock on the door at two in the morning

I really am choosing these at random. This one feels like a set up, but it’s not.

The Poem from Last Week

Here’s last week’s poem:

Normally he was the last person we’d invite to the taxidermist’s guild
Years of requests signed ‘The Guest’ had gone unanswered
A new member taken in by the strength of ‘The Guest’s’ resume
Replied that ‘The Guest’ could be a guest at the next banquet

The new member was a legacy showing promise
Many of the guild’s awards and grants are named after his mother
So we assumed that he knew about ‘The Guest’
Or at least would be able to see through the deceptive façade ‘The Guest’ built over the years

But, the legacy’s mother had passed on and so we’ll never know
What was learned and was is a mystery
Still, even an untrained eye should see the shoddy work
So much glue instead of the true art of taxidermy

And so the banquet’s night comes
Everyone waits on tenterhooks for ‘The Guest’ to arrive
The legacy now regrets his choice but there is nothing to be done about it
Perhaps it’s for the best

There is the hope that ‘The Guest’ once inside
Will decide it wasn’t worth the effort
To sit and listen to old arguments over where the bodies come from
Or what the best filler material is

I’m certain that ‘The Guest’ will find everything ever so entertaining
And long for a second visit and an eventual membership
Once you are a guest at the guild
Becoming a member gets easier and easier

Imagine the delight of the crowd when ‘The Guest’ arrives
Fresh taxidermy in hand like a bottle of wine
No one brings gifts to the banquets
Least of all a mounted trophy

But the horror of it; the enormity of it all
Is the necklace of the legacy’s mother
Glued to the neck of the preening swan ‘The Guest’ struggles to carry
So large in life and so very awkward in death

A family heirloom thought lost for decades
The legacy remembers ‘The Guest’ visiting the home
Trying to woo his widowed mother
Hoping to gain access to guild through marriage

The taxidermy is ugly
There is nothing sleek or beautiful about the swan
It looks roughed up; beaten and worn
Like an old chew toy left out in the rain

Before ‘The Guest’ could present the swan to the crowd
He was ushered outside
The legacy tore his mother’s necklace from the swan
And banished ‘The Guest’ from ever sitting foot in the guild

‘The Guest’ lived out his days yearning to be accepted
But not understanding how to belong

Poem Resolution Week Two

2016 Writing Resolution Week #2

Here we are. On week two of my resolution to write a poem a week and I’ve done it! Only 50 more to go! Quick reminder if you missed last week’s post:

  1. I’m using the Storymatic for writing prompts
  2. Posting new words on Mondays for people playing at home
  3. Previous week’s poem also posted on Monday
  4. At the end of the month we’ll take a vote on which poem to revise for a small collection at the end of the year

My Prompt for Next Week

Got it? Good. Here are this week’s words:

  • Guest
  • Taxidermist
  • Glue
  • Mother’s necklace

The Poem from Last Week

That thing almost writes itself! OK, here’s last week’s poem:

You never daydream that you’ll fail
It’s always sunshine and fluffy clouds
Things you’d never admit to anyone
The confidence portrayed in your imaginary life
Success is a foregone conclusion
Fame, even, is a known quantity

So when you take a leap for those dreams
Because someone says you have talent
An undeveloped cynicism would save you
But people wouldn’t bother to say things
If they weren’t true

You leave everything behind and hit the road
Singing everywhere you can
Believing you are a step or two away from stardom
When in reality you are moving in the opposite direction
You’ve been in a freefall since you dropped out

Then begins a series of disastrous episodes
While in a diner restroom the band abandons you to the check
To start something else with a new singer
Somehow you are convinced this is a chance at a new start
Despite no money or transportation
So you take a ride with a stranger
Which ends in predictable ways you never considered

Still you consider all motion to be forward
Feeling that your goal is just around the corner
Perhaps in the next town or tomorrow’s show
You never were a good student
But life is changing that for you

A new band never materializes
And open mic nights don’t pay the bills
The one thing you feel qualified to do that earns money
Is not something you want to keep doing
Without a diploma it’s hard to get work other places

More than a year has passed since you left
And you’re back where you started
Further behind than if you stayed
Tomorrow is the last day of school
Everyone you know is taking the first steps of a new adventure
And yours might as well be over