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Know Jack #341 I Quit

“Then I witnessed the torture of Sisyphus, as he wrestled with a huge rock with both hands. Bracing himself and thrusting with hands and feet he pushed the boulder uphill to the top. But every time, as he was about to send it toppling over the crest, its sheer weight turned it back, and once again towards the plain the pitiless rock rolled down.”


Odysseus upon descent into Hades came across the tragic figure of Sisyphus, one-time king of Corinth, who twice cheated death only to be consigned by Zeus to push a huge stone up a mountain for all eternity. It is my personal belief that I will be a storyteller forever wandering endless galaxies with my stories.

To my way of thinking, that is not a bad thing. Freed of my present physical limitations it is an event to be anticipated with great joy. More than one person has told me that writing is a part of who I am. I accept that intellectually, but I am often found railing against it emotionally and physically. I can’t tell you how many times I have “quit” this strange profession because there have been so many times.

This week I announced aloud, “I’m done!” No more writing, no more editing, I wanted only to crawl into a book and never come out. Like Don Quixote, find a trusty steed, cobble together some armor, and lance in hand sally forth to battle giants. It happens all the time.

However, I never find the “right” book and never sally forth except to try and write it myself. I find the darkness of no story too much, drag myself up and shoulder to the great stone of the next book, start it rolling.

I think if you haven’t quit writing at least twice, you might not be doing it right. If stories are like children, as experts say they are, then the joy/dismay nature of the craft certainly fits the allegory. Somewhere in the tension created by the opposing forces is the muses’ hiding place. Calliope is not going to come looking for you and neither will you find her sitting in the comfort of the dark. You must seek her.

How? Start writing, get the stone rolling, help comes when you are working. You can quit all alone—no help needed.

That said, I am currently on the third rewrite of my latest book and still only on Chapter Ten and wondering if number four is hiding just out of sight.


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