Wednesday, February 13, 2008

the almost death of my almost book

Last night I was ready to treat the "book" I am writing to a nice little bubble bath of kerosene and flaming inferno. I felt the utterly hopeless despair of the midway writer; midway to nowhere with all of my insides tied up in a couple hundred pages of jumpy, non-linear, emotional mish-mash. How was I going to turn this non-narrative rambling into a coherant whole? What had I been doing in front of my computer screen for the past 4 years? Receiving hypnotic brainwashing by aliens? How could something I found so utterly fascinating last year turn out to be such utter crap this year? Why are so many trite, arrogant sons-o-bitches published and not me? Who's going to love me if I never publish my book? Who's going to love me if I do? Am I a self-indulgent narcissist or do I actually have something to say that's interesting to people other than My Mom?
I've always been pretty sure that life is a bazillion times better when I'm writing, that I'm more fun to be around, that even plants like me better when I have an outlet for the constant weird/sad/stupid/funny experiences of my life other than the 4 cramped walls inside my brain. And I'm pretty sure that taking up crotchet, basket-weaving, scrapbooking, pillow sewing stained glass making and even sometimes motherhood and all the trappings of a marriage were all just a stack of mattresses to stop the free-fall of my fear of being a terrible- or a brilliant- or a mediocre- writer.

In any case, these are the thoughts I was battling last night as I drove downtown to Robinson and Maine to meet my writing group. (A terrible idea, to drive and think!). As we gathered in our usual, cozy book-filled room, I announced that I would be setting fire to all of my writing at midnight and that I would never write another word again. Well, it wasn't that dramatic, but that was the general idea. And then they, the both talented and physically very attractive, members of my writing group preceded to pull the emergency rope-thingy attached to parachutes, one by one, word by word. They pulled me out of the muck and the mire. They spun me around in a new direction. All was not lost! Those hours and pages and pages and hours were research, not natural disasters! I was actually a lot closer than I thought! This was part of the process! It wouldn't be good if there wasn't any doubt! I didn't have to die, or worse yet, self-publish (ha-ha, just kidding!-sort of). I could leave it be. I could go home and do something else. I could wile away the hours on my blog or in my head or in a bag of bbq potato chips or with my husband and son and that didn't mean I would die a miserable unpublished death. I could wait for detachment to occur, for inspiration to strike, for structure to form and I could trust that it would happen (before 2050) as long as I continued.... to believe. And yes, that I can do. Thank you H, D, B & S. You saved my proverbial life.

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