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Herding Cats

Herding Cats

Inspiration is something you can’t force or predict; it comes when it comes. Given the frequent presence in my writing space of my own feline menagerie (population: 3), I can’t help but fall back on the phrase “it’s like herding cats.” Trying to corral your own creativity is exactly that futile. Inspiration will arrive when it’s good and ready, and not a moment sooner.

It’s also fickle.

There are many ways to clear your mind and make space for creativity. Many of them involve some form of relaxation—listening to music, gardening, taking a long drive, taking a nap. But getting really really busy—so busy that adrenaline starts to take over and conscious actions begin to feel more like automatic reflexes—that can also fuel it, stripping away that constant awareness of self that prevents your imagination from taking flight.

At least, that’s the best explanation I can come up with for the fact that, over the course of the past eight remarkably busy months, I seem to have finished the first draft of another book. (No, I wasn’t kidding about how the quieter things get, the more is usually going on behind the scenes.)

As mentioned previously, I’ve had a second novel finished and ready for some time now, awaiting only the completion of the process of acquiring the proper licensing to use quotes from various song lyrics. It’s a story I didn’t anticipate writing until I was: a sequel to Believe in Me. It picks up eight months after the events chronicled in the first book, introducing a mostly (but not entirely) new cast of characters, a new setting, and new questions for Tim Green to try to answer, with a twist: this time, the mysterious past he’s trying to unravel is his own.

The second, more recent project is a non-fiction book that was actually foreshadowed in Believe in Me. In the course of that story, Tim speculates about gathering his music writer father Bernie Green’s work into some sort of collection. In reality, during the year 2016 I’ll hit the 20-year mark as a music writer, with more than 800 album reviews, interviews and essays under my belt. Last summer I resolved to mark that anniversary with a curated collection of my favorite pieces, with new essays introducing both the book and each chapter. The project gathered momentum through the fall and winter, and I recently finished a first draft.

I can’t predict which of these cats will make it through the door to publication first; that’s mostly out of my control right now. But each is progressing in the right general direction, and when herding cats, that’s really the best you can hope for.

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