That Ole Black Magic

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So I was writing about a week ago at one of my favorite writing restaurants. Enjoying an order of grilled fish tacos and a glass of pinot I didn’t bother to tell my muse about. I was making great, insightful strides on my current manuscript.

The earth moved. The angels wept.

The next morning, my day job sort of exploded into a nightmare of crap, so it was several days before I could go back to my manuscript. Saturday, to be exact. I booted up my old reliable MacBook Air…

YA Author Tom Hoover on Black Magic…and it crashed. The progress I made on that magical Tuesday? Gone. As though those words never existed. As if I didn’t find a way to smooth out a few troublesome chapters and—and it just doesn’t matter. I spend the next several hours online and on info boards trying to uncover a secret way to rescue what I’d lost.

Nope. It was like yelling into a hole.

So, naturally, I tweeted.

“Computer crashed. Lost the last several hundred words…Not a good Saturday.”

A few hours later. A cyberspace Samaritan tried to encourage me: “Don’t worry. I’ve done that so many times I’ve lost count, but I always come back with more and better. Hang in there!”

It was nice. And he wasn’t even a follower.

It also made me realize that if I needed encouragement, then I must be discouraged. Like that old Frank Sinatra song:

That old black magic has me in its spell
That old black magic that you weave so well
Those icy fingers up and down my spine

Except in this case, that old black magic isn’t love. It’s more along the lines of frustration. With maybe just a sprinkling of depression. It may be that 2018 knocked the wind out of me and I haven’t got my breath back.

But I think it’s more what the life coaches sometimes call The Death of a Dream.

Okay. That’s not nearly as dramatic as it sounds. It just means that the plans I had made didn’t turn out the way I’d intended. It could’ve been bad luck. Unrealistic or faulty expectations. Right place; wrong time. Or maybe I’m just impatient and tomorrow will be entirely different—I’ll wake up, crumple this blog into a wad of “poor me,” and find a horde of publishers camped outside my house demanding my words.

But more likely, the reality is that the dream I had—still have—really takes a lot of hard, sometimes thankless work. And that can get you down.

Like it did me.

But believe it or not, Frank Sinatra has the answer to that too:

Work like a soul inspired until the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired, but you be a man, my son.
Will you remember the famous men who have to fall to rise again,
So take a deep breath, pick yourself up, start all over again.

Thanks for listening. Sometimes I just need to vent.

All writers have their ups and downs.

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