Good morning, campers!

A blank canvas stretched across an easel; a pristine page; a solid, uncarved chunk of marble sitting on a pedestal; the hiss of blank tape running through a recorder. OK, I’m dating myself with the tape reference. Everyone records digitally nowadays, so there is no more hiss, just the faint echo of megabytes hopping around on a hard disk. All these elements give the person about to start working on them pause. You can go absolutely anywhere from there. So what do you do with a first blog? What topic is heavy enough to merit this beginning entry? I could take on any subject from how to change the strings on my electric bass, to the existence of God, to how much I enjoy going through the DVDs of the TV show ‘The Wire’, to how you know when you’ve met the right person, to gardening tips, to how to avoid writing run-on sentences, to even finding some obtuse way to combine all of these elements into one. Well, I’m going to cop out and just make this about the search itself. Besides, I don’t think anyone is going to care about any gardening tips I might provide, aside from watering your plants regularly, unless they don’t need regular watering. That pretty much covers gardening for me. So, in fact, I have now covered my entire knowledge of gardening, though that was not my original intention. I promise you that no future blogs will refer to this honorable field of study.

OK, back to the search. I know one of the first things I wanted to cover was ‘letting things go’, but that’s a big, sprawling topic and I’ve already gone down the road aways with this one. I risk confusing readers. If you’re at all familiar with my writing, you’ll know I have a tendency to run with a tangent, er, tangentially. Haikus become sonnets, short stories become novellas, backyard gardens become Versailles via proper mulching techniques, etc. Before anyone complains, I promised no FURTHER blogs would deal with gardening tips. I can still put as many tips into this one particular entry as I desire.

OK, back to the search. Writing is easy. Well, obviously that last statement is totally wrong, or everyone would be able to do it. What I mean is, once I get the idea, the characters, and the angle of perspective, momentum guides me through a great deal of the process, whether it be lyrics or fiction. The editing part is a nuisance, albeit a very necessary one. The idea itself is much more of a challenge, at least in my case. I’ve blathered through over a half page here without much of an idea at all, and hopefully you have been entertained enough not to notice until I just mentioned it. The entire foundation of the TV show ‘Seinfeld’ is that it’s about nothing, so it is both possible and profitable. Maybe profitable for the Seinfeld people, anyway. I haven’t made a penny on the whole nothing premise, and it’s not likely to happen in the near future. I will eventually need something to write about, or soon I’ll be digging ditches, or pulling weeds. It’s weird how vegetation keeps creeping into this discussion, like a vine. From what I understand, the Virginia Creeper is a particularly insidious vine that is very difficult to eradicate. If you don’t completely eliminate the roots, it will always grow back. Honestly, I’ve spent my entire life in Manhattan and horticulture has played a totally insignificant role so far. That’s not to say it couldn’t at some point. I’ve always found the formation and maintenance of bonsai trees to be sort of cool, but I digress.

OK, back to the search. Hey, this has kind of covered the subject without actually covering it. Anyway, who the hell ever reads anyone’s first blog in the first place? The blog is supposed to make you want to read the book, not vice versa. Now I feel bad about anyone who has read ‘Trail of Tears’ or any other of my more sanguine stories, was hoping for an orgy of violence, sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll and has come across this entry, rife with gardening tips. It’ll get better, I promise. In the meantime, make sure your plants get plenty of sunlight, unless they don’t actually need sunlight.


About chris

Chris Semal was born in New York City in 1959 and has lived there all his life. He is aware that other places exist and likes to visit them from time to time, but the city is a hard mistress to resist and he keeps going back to her. A musician, singer and songwriter, he has played pretty much every rock club in Manhattan at one time or another since the late 70s and went to school at the University of Miami to study Music Engineering, coming back north to do the only obvious thing possible, becoming a municipal bond broker and eventually working as a consultant building financial models. In the early part of the millennium, between both consulting and band gigs, he thought it might be interesting to see what would happen if he expanded on the 80 or so words he used in writing song lyrics and went for the 80,000 he would need for a novel. And so Trial Of Tears was born, along with a passion for developing plots and characters.
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