I’ve played guitar since I was fourteen years old, and I still enjoy it. But when I am listening to a rock and roll song that really gets me going, I don’t play air-guitar. No, I pretend to play the drums. A friend of mine — my old music partner actually — used to say that all guitar players secretly want to be drummers, and all drummers actually want to play guitar. And you can tell this because guitarists play air-drums and drummers play air-guitar. I’ve never done a scientific study to check this, but anecdotally, it’s true.
I don’t know if there is a similar paradox in the writing world. I don’t know if mystery writers secretly want to write fantasy or if writers of Westerns are dying to try their hands at science fiction (though I suppose there is a bit of anecdotal evidence for some sort of Western/SF nexus), but I am finding that I have certain patterns in my writing ambitions that mirror my air-drum playing.
I have written nearly a dozen epic fantasies, and now I’m writing historical urban fantasy. But I have to admit that the projects that are exciting me most these days are a couple of contemporary fantasies. Now maybe that’s just a perverse impulse — I want to write the stuff that I haven’t yet sold, and that I don’t have to write because it’s under contract. But that’s a lot like playing air-drums when I put down my guitar.
I also want to write a couple of other things — a futuristic political thriller. Yeah, I know: Where’d that come from? But there it is. I even have one outlined — first chapter is written. I haven’t done anything with it in a couple of years, but it’s there, lurking in my imagination, waiting it’s turn. I want to write a book about baseball. Fiction or non-fiction? I have no idea. But I want to write about baseball. Bizarre.
How about you? What secret literary ambitions do you harbor? And when you’re listening to music which instrument do you “air-play”…?