Pivot Points, the Sequel

by | July 15, 2012 | General | 6 comments

Six months ago, to the day, I made my first post to the ERWA
blog.  It introduced the idea I wanted to
follow, keying on a theme of pivot points.

Six months ago, to the day, I was flying high above the
earth, bound for a new job after 27 years with the same company.  A big pivot point in my life, methinks, and
ultimately a big pivot point for all of the members of my family.  That day, January 15, 2012, my wife and I
landed in the Bay area and set out to look at potential houses.

Six months ago, to the day, I wondered what the future would

Today, the future is in full swing.  Since that post, my life has been
a whirlwind.  Selling one house, buying
another.  Learning a new technology and
new business concepts.  Working many
hours watching a new company grow far faster than I could have imagined, almost
the exact opposite of the direction the company I was working for was going.

Today, July 15, 2012, I sit in a house in the western US, not far from the home I grew up in,
thousands of miles from where I lived just a couple of weeks ago, and a few
hundred miles left to go to start a new life in a new city.  We have driven cross country, and all the
while, I have kept working.

The one thing that has suffered in this long pivot point has
been my writing.  It is not that I
haven’t been writing, it is that I haven’t been writing as much as I’m
accustomed to.  It is that I am not
writing the things I have written in recent times leading up to this pivot

I tend to believe this will be a good thing, and that all
the other changes in my life, the new experiences I am going through at the age
of 52 will leave me with fertile soil to till new stories.

But I can’t worry about that now.  Now all I can worry about is the here and the
now.  Now, all I can do is navigate the
many changes the best that I can.

Pivot points are like that. 
They demand your attention.  They
demand your focus.  Soon the dust will settle on this pivot point, and I’ll find my way back to the familiar, but there a miles of road left to travel.

I’ll catch you on the the other side next month.

Craig J. Sorensen

One evening at the close of the 1970’s, I sat on a milk crate at my job du jour and looked over Tenth Avenue in the small Idaho town where I grew up. It may not seem earth shattering now, but to a man not yet twenty years of age, the revelation of that moment was defining: There must be more to life than pumping gas. A strange answer materialized in the cold, dry, Treasure Valley air. I joined the US Army where I learned to work with computers before the introduction of the IBM PC. Armed with a blitzkrieg education in the programming language COBOL, I embarked on a journey to define myself as a programmer/analyst. Perhaps if I had been a better student in school, things might have been different. I loved writing, though I flunked my first semester of ninth grade English. Typing too. And I typed seventy words a minute. But I digress. The bottom line was that I hated school, was unmotivated and disinterested, and had problems staying focused. Had I been born twenty years later, they might have loaded me up with Ritalin. So learning a trade in the Army was my salvation from a life of disjointed jobs, searching for something I’d be satisfied with. Study for a purpose, it seemed, I could manage. Throughout the thirty plus years after leaving Idaho for military service, I honed my skills and learned to enjoy the job I stumbled into. I think that this, “path less chosen,” has something to do with my perspective and my style as an author when I delved deeper into my passion for words. I’ve lived life, not as a student, but in a constant state of trial and error. This is true in most everything I’ve done. The first story I had published was so aggressively edited, that the number of words removed was in a double digit percentile, and rightly so. I resolved that would never happen again. It hasn’t. Determination and self-teaching are a big part of me. Have I ever reached a hurdle I didn’t overcome? Of course. In my early days getting published, I submitted four stories to a particular editor before she accepted my fifth; I’ve had great results with her since. More recently, with another editor, I submitted four that I felt great about, and realized that it just wasn’t going anywhere. Another fact: I’m a lousy poker player, but I do know when to fold. Story telling has been with me my entire life. A desire to share stories is engrained in me, but as a youngster, what did I have to share? I was a boring kid, so I used to make things up. I used to hate that I’d lie. Bear in mind, these lies were limited to boasting of things I had done that I really hadn’t, or telling that the very plain house we lived in when I was young was very ornate. “Little white lies,” some might call them. I couldn’t seem to resist this desire to make people believe the stories I’d tell. When something didn’t wash, well… I suppose it is all part of how I learn things. Writing is truly my first passion as a vocation. If I could make a living at it, I’d love to, but I know what that means. I look at those authors who do this with admiration, and I’m grateful that I have been blessed to find not one, but two vocations that I love. Job one allows me to write when I’m inspired. The luxury of this is not lost on me. When I was young, I was fascinated by sex. I wrote sexual scenarios, drew sexually inspired pictures. My head was full of erotic fantasies long before my voice cracked. But writing the first stories I did after I left high school, I tried to subdue the desire to write sexual themes. Sometimes, I’d let go, but I’d eventually “come to my senses.” I wanted to be respectable, after all. It was after I had gotten some serious consideration by a literary journal, but got the response “you write very well, but your stories lack vibrancy,” that it began to settle in. My wife, partner, and most avid supporter forwarded me a call to a new “edgy” literary journal that included erotica, and suggested that I send a particularly nasty, vibrant story I had recently written when the respectability filter was disengaged. I thought, “why the hell not.” Within 24 hours I had an acceptance. Another lesson learned by example: be true to yourself. In the end, I just want to tell stories about amazing people. I want to go out on a limb. I wrote a poem once:
Only the man who goes To the edge of the branch And does not stop when it cracks Will learn the true nature Of branches
I want to turn you on, then repulse you. I want to surprise you, sometimes make you grimace, share the realities of my life and the lives of those I’ve known, but bend them through the prism of fiction. Tell about people more interesting than me, and speak universal truths, tell little white lies. I want to make you guess which is which. The three stories I am honored to share with you are examples of my testing branches. “One Sunset Stand” from M. Christian’s Sex in San Francisco collection, was written merging humor, sexuality, and romance, allows me to explore from a woman’s POV. “Severence” which appeared at the website Clean Sheets, is drawn from a difficult time in my life, where as a manager I watched members of my team and coworkers slowly, systematically get laid off. It was a hard time, a frustrating time, and I found a way to express that frustration in the words, and the characters of the story. “Two Fronts” is one of my biggest gambles as a writer, and a story I’m very proud of. In it, I not only explore my feminine side, but my lesbian side. The story, set before I was born, explores a woman dealing with her awaking to her attraction to other women is set against the backdrop of ranching in Idaho. I was particularly proud when Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia chose it for the collection Lesbian Cowboys. The version I present here is my “Director’s cut,” with the original ending. In the collection, it was made more purely romantic by dropping the last section. This ending is more of what I would call a “Craig ending,” though I’m proud of both versions. Truly, I haven’t planned much in life, just followed the river where it leads. I write the stories that come to mind, and for as long as people will read my work I will write. And if they stop reading? I will write.


  1. Ashley R Lister


    I'm pleased to hear that life is treating you well. The worrying thing about those pivot points is that they can tilt down as well as up. I hope you continue to enjoy the high for many long years.


  2. Donna

    I am positive these new changes will bring wonderful new material! Welcome to the West, it's the best :-).

  3. Remittance Girl

    Yay for change! I agree that stepping into a new world can be very conducive to a new direction in writing, but it does take some time first to get your bearings.

    I wish you all the best, Craig.

  4. Katy

    I agree with you that pivot points demand attention and they also demand focus. This post is interesting and I will be looking forward to your future posts. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

  5. Lisabet Sarai

    Hi, Craig,

    I think you have to trust your "soul", for lack of a better word, to tell you when and how to write. I've been trying to stop beating myself up because I'm not writing as much as I "should".

    Sometimes I need to remind myself that life takes place outside my mind, as well as inside.

    And thanks for six months of great posts, too!

  6. Craig Sorensen

    Thank you all for your well wishes!

    We are in our new house and mostly settled. Loving the new home and enjoying entering the next phase of my new job, and I even did some writing last week.

    Things definitely appear to be tilting up, Ash.

    Donna, you are correct, the west is the best. Loving the weather here.

    Hi Remittance Girl, the writing this week is already revealing a turn in my writerly mindset. I think it is a change I needed, as I feel a new energy.

    Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Katy.

    Hi Lisabet, I'm definitely one who gets down on myself for not writing enough, but maybe this prolonged period of not writing much has taught me the potential benefits of stepping back and taking account. We shall see!

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