The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…
Subscribe

For Ad Hudler, It’s about Time

March 16, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Ad Hudler (Man of the House, All This Belongs to Me, Househusband) — one of the few select male authors on TDW — may appear to be in the minority yet his writing is universal. In this guest post, he addresses his struggle with procrastination and who (whether writer or reader) cannot identify with that?!]

For years as a stay-at-home dad, I complained that I didn’t have enough time to write. My days were spent running errands, cleaning, cooking, fixing and filling things, and playing chauffeur in the minivan. The caregiver is everyone’s bitch. And his or her needs, especially writing, generally come last.

But, in the past six months, my daughter has gone to college, and my wife has taken a job in another state. And, this being Florida, where our homes are worth a fraction of what they were worth three years ago, I am stuck here for awhile, awaiting the return of the bull market and higher home prices.

Everyone, now: Woo-hooooo! No one to cook for! No one with dirty laundry! And I am breaking the record for number of days that a human can wear one pair of jeans without washing them. (Nine) So I have the most enviable position of all authors right now: I am home, alone! Did you hear me? ALONE!

Given this, I should be writing a book every month, right? I mean, Louisa May Alcott did it with “Little Women.” What’s stopping me?

Well … plenty.

Frankly, I am so thrilled to be living an existence in which no one needs me that I am being somewhat selfish. I’m wasting a lot of time. Hours of time. No, who am I kidding? Weeks of time. I have, most definitely, entered a bon-bon period …

Yes, yes, I’ll write that chapter, but first I’ll catch up on the episodes of Modern Family that I’ve missed. Just one. Okay, two. What the hell: all of them.

I promise that tomorrow I’ll get an early start and write, write, write my butt off. Maybe 2,000 words! Absolutely! Can do! WILL do! …

Oh, but it feels so good to sleep in, and that kitty cat is so peaceful I can’t even think of moving him …

And then, after breakfast, I realize I haven’t been to the beach in awhile, and there was that scene I was writing about shells, and I could definitely do some research ….

Phone rings. It’s a good friend whom I haven’t seen for awhile. “Of course I’d love to meet for lunch. Better yet, let’s do cocktails and dinner.” …

And the next day: How can I even think about writing when I’ve got these cracked sidewalk tiles that need replaced.

Two days later: Well, that certainly took longer than I thought it would. And I’ll sit down to write just as soon as I find that really cool purse that my wife wanted for her birthday …

You get the point. I have found reason after reason not to write. And let me tell you why: Writing a first draft, at least to me, is the hardest thing in the world. You must dig, dig, dig deep, into a special place in your psyche/soul/mind/whatever-it-is for the initial raw words and sentences. And sometimes the act of mining those words, bringing them up to the surface and into this life and onto the computer screen, feels as pleasant as running, backwards, in hot-humid weather. It just drains me. Boggles me. There is nothing harder. Comparatively, editing and revision are more like a walk on the beach in 70-degree weather. I choose the walk over the run. Wouldn’t you?

I’d been acting as if the hours in my day were money, and I’d won the lottery. We all know that when there’s plenty to go around, you don’t feel the need to economize. I, one of the most disciplined people I’ve ever known, had fallen victim to freedoms created by excess.

The problem: I was not making any headway on my memoir. Lots of facebook, let me tell you. (BTW: I give great status), and I wrote some great tweets and blogs on my website … but nothing that would make me money. Even though I’d written four novels, one of them in a six-month period, I evidently had fallen out of practice. And I now know the culprit: I have no deadline for this manuscript. My last three novels were written on contract, with a deadline. I purposely avoided setting up a deadline with this book because I am moving into a new genre – humorous nonfiction – and I am in the experimenting/creating phase right now, trying to find the right voice and pace and content. Not easy stuff, mind you. No wonder I’ve been putting it off. Lesson learned: New genre or not, we all need deadlines. We all need expectations to meet, goals to reach. Otherwise, we languish.

Thankfully, my friend and fellow fiction writer Nancy Zafris stepped in and gave me an ultimatum: I had to write at least 200 words a day. Five hundred would be ideal, 800 would be even better. But, she said, if I managed to pound out at least 200 then I’d often discover that, while I was working toward the goal, momentum would fall on my side of the net, and I would go on to write even more. She was right.

I soon began thinking of my writing in the same way I consider brushing my teeth or taking a shower: It was something required, and I felt “dirty” if I didn’t do it. And soon, in just a matter of days, it became habit again. (It helped that Nancy would email me daily, with an intimidating message that said something like, “Word Count? Progress today?”)
So thank you, Nancy, for getting me back on track. The words have been pouring out of me, sometimes 1,000 in a single day.

That laundry room that needs retextured and repainted? It’s just gonna have to wait. I’ve got a memoir to write.

*****

Book Giveaway; While awaiting completion and publication of Ad’s memoir, The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Househusband in a random drawing of comments left on this post. The deadline is tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced in Thursday’s post.

AND

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Jenny Gardiner’s memoir, Winging it, in a random drawing of all comments left on this post. The deadline is tomorrow, March 17th at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in Thursday’s post.

The Revealing of Ad Hudler

March 10, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

AdHudlerWhile many of our authors are preparing for their latest releases — followed by book tours of signings/speakings –, others are hard at work — writing. Ad Hudler (Man of the House, All This Belongs to Me, Househusband) is happily busy with the latter as he reports: “I’m hot on the tails of a humorous memoir right now….words are just SPILLING out of me!!”

When naming her 5 favorite books of all time Jenny Gardiner revealed: “Lately I’ve really enjoyed reading Ad Hudler— his novel Househusband is so very well-written and so very insightful, I just enjoyed that read.”

The New York Post claims: “Hudler’s newest novel is ‘”Required Reading.” And the Omaha World-Herald: “Hudler is a master storyteller.”

Who is Ad Hudler? Well, according to his “official” bio:

Ad Hudler is a novelist, essayist, stay-at-home dad and small-space landscaper who frequently gets into trouble for the things he writes and says.

Aha, it’s time now to reveal the the real Ad:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Angst-ridden stay-at-home dad writing books

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: If you want excellence (over mediocrity) you must actively pursue it. Excellence doesn’t find you – you find it. … (Sounds like one of those horrible inspiration posters, doesn’t it?)

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: An inner peace that comes from two things: Knowing that you have nothing to fear and knowing that you no longer have to pretend anything. You can truly be who you are and know that everyone around you won’t care.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: That something horrible will happen to my daughter or wife.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be
A: Honestly, right where I am: In my house, overlooking the bay, surrounded by big leafy oaks and tropical foliage.

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Theodore Roosevelt. He didn’t like who he was as a young man, so he went on a tear to reinvent himself. NOTE TO READER: Watch for my coming memoir! It’s all about this.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: My wife. Seriously. She is one of the finest people I’ve ever met: diplomatic, kind, loving, and driven.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: “Bite me!” “Mitchell! I am NOT a piece of furniture.” (to the cat)

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: I’d like to know how to play the guitar and harmonica. I’d also like to be fluent in Spanish. Oh … and I’d like to learn silent-suffering. Not very good at that.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My tiramisu! … Seriously, I know it sounds cliché, but … my daughter. She’s just a swell human being.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw
A: Holy crap, where do I start? I’m impatient, I’m judgmental, I blow my nose into dirty socks.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: I’m a helluva good cook. And I can fill a room with energy like you’ve never seen. I also am very good at picking excellent produce, especially perfectly ripe mangoes.

Q: What do you regret most
A: Nope. Not going there. Way too many things to mention, and they’re big ones.
But I do regret breaking into my piggy bank as a child and using the money to go buy a blow-up swimming pool. I then buried the piggy bank in the back yard. (It’s under the mulberry tree, Mom.)

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: My cat. Oh, he has such a marvelous life. Eat, sleep, lay in the sun. But, hmmm, cats can’t read, so maybe it wouldn’t be so nice after all!

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: My baldness and my size: I’m 6.3, 230 pounds.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Holden Caulfield

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Holden Caulfield

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Ummmm, I’m not sure I know of any athletes. Hmmmm. Joe Namath? Is he still alive? Dorothy Hamel?

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: They’re all related to driving: Driving slow in the left-hand lane. And driving while talking on the cell phone. I will honk at you and wave my finger if I see you doing the latter.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Reading, of course. And cooking. Museums of any kind. And laughing and drinking gin-and-tonics with good friends AFTER 5 o’clock.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Well, I like being a writer, but I’d also like to do what my character, Linc Menner, did in “Househusband”: I’d like to be the go-to landscaper for the rich and famous of Hollywood. Seriously. I think it would be a hoot.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: My refusal to lower my standards. My fierceness. My work ethic.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Tiramisu. Just kidding….uhhh….I think a Vietnamese dish called bun, which is rice noodles and grilled meats and bean sprouts and fresh cilantro and some hot chilis with lime and fish sauce. Very hearty but also refreshing, and lots of tastes and textures.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Oh, Lord, I have terrible taste in music. I’m a child of the late seventies and eighties – need I say more? Let me just admit right here and now that any time I hear Debbie Boone sing “You Light up My Life,” I turn up the radio. And I’ll kick your ass if you make fun of me for it!

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: You can see my complete list on the author page of my website: AdHudler.com… but here are five: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellen. And, honestly, the Bible. I may not agree with everything in it, but it’s filled with great stories and awesome characters.

What delightful, charming and laugh-out-loud fun. For much more of Ad, follow him on Twitter, become a friend on Facebook, and read his blog, Ad Libbing!

*****

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand will be giving away two copies of The Opposite of Me in a random drawing. Simply leave a comment on this post — by the deadline of tonight, March 10, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EST — and you’ll be entered in the contest. The winners will be announced in tomorrow’s post.