Twenty-four hours can do some funky numbers on your head.
I wouldn’t say the last day was “interesting”; more like demanding and inhospitable. Demanding in that I had to force myself to get through it, and inhospitable because, at on point last night, I felt this incredible pressure come down upon me. It was easy to know what it was, because I’ve felt it before . . .
I said in my previous ruminations that I wouldn’t be defined by my misery. Apparently Loneliness and Despair didn’t get the damn memo, because they showed up and decided to do a little dance, all for moi. Nice pair, those two. They certainly know how to entertain a fella.
The upshot of all this was by 9 PM I was pretty much a mess. I did the usual: pouted, got on my own case, and had a cry-out. When that was all over and done with, the Muse showed up and said, “Okay, you’ve spent enough time feeling sorry for yourself, now how getting some words down on paper and make me feel good about you.”
Ah, she is a demanding taskmistress. But she makes me write. She makes me do all the things that, even when I feel like it’s all about to come to an end, are designed to pull me out of a tailspin and get me back on track.
So the last chapter of Couples Dance began. It wasn’t much: 578 words, but that’s something. As one person on Facebook opined, “It’s 578 more words than you had.” She was right; it was.
See, the writing game is a bit of a zero-sum game. It’s all about the end. Sure, there are beginnings, but no one gives a real rat’s ass about those. ”Oh, I started a story . . .” ”Oh, I began the first chapter of my new novel . . .” No problem, Poindexter. There are a million started stories and novels and screenplays out there, but no one cares much about that which is begun but never completed. As I recall one wag saying, “No one cares about the screaming, they just want to see the birth.”
The finish is the payoff. If you never get to the end, then you failed–or, if nothing else, you were too ambitious and found yourself unable to live up to your own expectations. That’s the way I was with my first unfinished novel. I went for a big, brass ring way to soon, and it overwhelmed me. And now it looks at me as if to say, “You want to give it another go, bucko? Sure, I’m game. Lets see if you got what it takes.”
So many things are different for me today. I know so much more; I feel a lot more than I did even a year ago. And from twenty years ago–get outta here. Much different . . . though in many ways, still the same.
I woke up this morning thinking, “What am I going to do next?” Really. That’s the sign of a writer: always has the next project on their mind. I know what it is. I need to finish that damn first novel. I’ve got a quarter of a million words there, laughing at me, just daring me to do something, and it’s about time I took it up on the challenge.
As soon as I finish my current work in progress, the dangling thread that’s been there since the late 1980′s is gonna get tied up. It’s gonna involve a lot of emotion, because that’s all the last half of the novel is about: desire, love, and the ability to feel and express those emotions.
I hope the Muse is ready to stand by me–
I got a feeling it’s gonna get messy.