Kanawha Canal

My walks with my dog, Missy, often lead me to the Kanawha Canal in Richmond. She typically alternates between relieving her bowels along its banks or on the hills overlooking the James River and Shockoe Creek floodplains. I suppose she likes to take in nature as it calls.

I’m exceptionally vigilant with cleaning up when she defecates along the canal, although at times it seems as if it couldn’t get dirtier. By being a canal, it’s relatively flat. The locks probably haven’t been open in decades, so there hasn’t been a grand exchange of water. Excess returns to the James out of the main outflow at Chapel Island and leaks through the Great Shiplock, but one often sees the detritus a city bob listlessly for days at a time. From the occasional tire marks and front-end pieces from speeders who don’t realize Dock Street bends slightly to the left, I often wonder how many entire vehicles are below the surface.

My current writing is that near stagnation.

My current job is to edit for eight hours. I’ve taken to walking out to move my car, get an item of some sort from the automated convenience store on the ground floor or lighten my load on other floors as to not be glued to a screen the entire time. Lately, I’ve been avoiding my laptop before work.When I return home, I mostly stick to the most critical websites for my entertainment before I retire. Excluding some nights out, this is the latest I’ve been awake in weeks.

I’ve barely had a desire to write, let alone edit my own work. Mostly, I’ve had no desire to sit in front of a computer screen in my off time. It was different when I was a reporter — I was out covering things and interviewing people. In Charlottesville, there were managerial meetings and staff meetings; heading out of lunch, dinner and/or coffee; and going to the old pressroom to place or take a phone call.

Additionally, I reached a point in my novel where I left myself a mess.

I robbed an entire portion of a chapter and placed it elsewhere, leaving myself a note to fix it later. The current revision affected the easy way to clean up the scene and set the stage for a challenging section to write. Whereas my vacation last year restored my inspiration to write, I need another to prepare me to keep writing.

It’s been pointed out by several people that I have been kicking Brown River Blues around for an official decade now — I began it as a 25-part “short” story in late December 2006 and it’s set in the summer and fall of 2007. I’ve called this the final draft. I mean that as in any other edits and revisions would be at the prompting of someone else. I’ve had the idea of the query letter for agents in my head for at least two years. I want to share this. I want it to be over, but I have to get through this rough section and get into not letting the brainpower I need at work interfere with the brainpower I need to finish this novel.

I need to put this canal back in service.

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