Writer’s Gotta Write

IMG_20150116_200717Yesterday, February 7th, was one year since I typed the first sentence of Circling.  Back then it was called, “The Keys,” and the first sentence is no longer the first sentence, but it was a monumental day for me.  I consider this day to be my writer’s birthday. On February 7th, I left a part of myself behind – mostly fear – and entered a whole new world. I typically celebrate writing accomplishments with a steak and a bourbon.  I was far from home last night, so I kept it to a steak and Shiraz, and it was lovely.

In 365 days I have written and edited and edited and edited and edited and edited and edited and fucking rewritten and edited Circling. (< – – is an accurate assessment of my drafts). I wrote and edited and edited Forever Falling. The second book was a hell of a lot easier to write than the first.

What all of you published authors know (independent or otherwise), the lesson that I am just learning, is that getting a novel in front of readers – covers, promo content, a marketing plan, tech, all of this – is about as tricky as a first draft and not nearly as fun.

I have been adamant about not starting the third novel in this series of four, until Circling and Forever Falling are in your hands.  I can’t keep all these balls in that air.  I am a terrible juggler. The waking up at 3:00 a.m., worrying that John and Anna will destroy each other, blends with waking at 3 a.m., considering how and if Callum and Victoria can find happiness together.  I can’t add a third story to the mix.  So… I am not writing. I am not writing at all.  I am selecting cover art and considering promotion strategies and researching conferences. But I am not writing at all.  I haven’t blogged since I fell down the mountain after New Year’s Day. (I really fell down on the mountain, but the other is such a better sentence. I would prefer to say fell off the mountain, but it is a lie).

The real problem is that I am waking less and less at 3:00 a.m.  I complain a lot about my insomnia.  I hadn’t slept more than three consecutive hours since February 7th, 2014. This morning I slept straight through to 5:00 a.m., woke, glanced at my notifications and went right back to sleep til 7:00 a.m.  My mind is turning to mush.  IMG_20150127_102839I’ve started watching Grey’s Anatomy again and actually looking at the screen. I’ve been cooking and shopping and showering daily.  This has got to stop!  I long for those days I was taking in 900 calories a day, popping a Xanax to get 5 hours of sleep and writing 10,000 words a day.  If I am 100% honest I can say there is probably no better feeling in the world than those days of insanity, pushing a story.  On the planet, how many of us can do it, have done it, and strive to do it again?

So here I am at Starbucks… part of the early crowd for the first time in almost two months.  Truly the Circling rewrite kicked my ass.  I probably needed a break after that, but the break is done. After this is posted, I’ll start the final edit of Forever Falling and then onto book 3.  That will be a joyous day! As we all know… a writer’s gotta write.

How is your W.I.P.?  Challenges, successes?  Share it and let’s commiserate and celebrate.

I seem to be playing this song constantly.  It isn’t my usual but it has really gotten under my skin.  It seems like a good song for beginnings…

 

Happy New Year or whatever.

IMG_20150102_131256I hesitate to say Happy New Year.  I know it is “what is done.” We end a year with great expectation for all that lies ahead. Our hopes and dreams unrealized in the past will now finally have the chance to breath and find a way to light the future of our existence. Bullshit.  Sorry, did I say that out loud? I did… bullshit. I call bullshit on New Year’s optimism.  What is the point of looking into the future to find a better reality when all that matters is today. Every single today. “Later” will never, ever come.

Last week I saw Interstellar. I’ll spare you the critique.  Suffice to say that what stuck with me most was the reminder of Dylan Thomas’ haunting poem…

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I am not a poetry person at all, yet these words have been haunting me. I’ve read the poem over and over. I’ve read about what was happening in the poet’s life, and his father’s, when he wrote it. Holidays and new years can cause sometimes unwelcome self reflection. [Yes, of course gratitude, too… I can’t fucking blog about gratitude though.]

It’s the damn aging.  I seem to be both Aging and Raging. My nightmare is to actually go gently into that good night… and to stop raging against the dying of the light. It happens too often.  Raging is hard. Raging is exhausting. To me, raging means risk, adventure, questioning, learning, growing, Raging means continuing. Raging does not mean rocking chairs on a porch.

IMG_20150102_140653I raged a bit yesterday. I hiked a little mountain we have here, called Sugarloaf, by myself. Getting up is hard for me. It is a trail that is a tougher than I like, but it is do-able and it makes me feel like I am raging a bit. Of course it was on the easier trail heading down the mountain, where I fell and I fell hard.  A darling group of 20 yr. olds scraped me up. They weren’t able to scrape up my pride though. They were brushing me off and cleaning my earbuds and I was duly horrified. I had another two miles to walk to get out of there.  I moved quickly. I knew I’d be okay until I got cold.  Then everything would lock up and I’d be screwed.  I was okay until I missed my turn. Damn those little painted squares on the trees are hard to follow when I am tweeting.  Anyway, I did finally get out… muddy, limping, panting, a just little bit freaked out. I got to the car and I nearly got hit by an 18 wheeler on my way home and not 30 seconds later, somehow avoided two bucks running shoulder to shoulder at my brand new car. I pulled over, hyperventilated a bit and drove home.  When I got there, I buried my sorrows in a pile of guacamole, Ghiradeli chocolate and washed it all down with a xanax.

IMG_20150103_134737Raging is hard my friends. And still I will rage on.

(P.S. – I just realized this is the second post I’ve written about a face plant. If you are interested in reading about my work event faceplant, link For Worse or for Better.)

I’ll finish with a song…. Enjoy and Happy New Year to you all!  XO 🙂

The Cemetery Paradox

I thought I might get some sleep tonight, but that seems beyond me,  yet again. This editorial review is extremely time consuming. I’ve decided to rework Circling a bit to match Forever Falling closer in tone and style. It is doable, of course,  but very heavy brain work. I’m in overload and as a result sleep has deserted me and probably won’t be back for awhile. In the end I’ll be happier with Circling and it will all be worth the time spent and insomnia.

I was sitting here thinking about the week. Wednesday was the third anniversary of my father’s death.  As all families do, mine has a system for remembering and honoring our dead, especially our Dad. As I am the closest geographically to the cemetery, and I choose not to worship in any location, other than the great outdoors, I visit Dad’s grave on birthdays and anniversaries. 

My first few visits had me shuffling my feet and looking solemn. This year I realized how bored he’d be with that. I decided to do better.  What would be want?  He’d want updates, gossip, success stories. He’d love to hear about everyone he loved. So I plunked my ass in the grass and went through every family member from oldest (hi Mom) to the youngest grandchild, and gave him their stories. It felt good. It made me feel closer to him than the shuffling.

After awhile I realized it was getting close the dusk. There was no one in the cemetery but me. You may know I’m not one to venture into deserted areas alone much. That cemetery was different though. I felt so safe. So protected. Maybe because I grew up in New England and there is a cemetery on every other street. I spent most of my childhood smoking cigarettes and drinking hijacked booze with friends, among the dead.

I could have curled up and slept the night through there. I was just thinking it is a paradox. Cemeteries are supposed to be scary places, but they are not. My dad and your dad, mom, aunt, uncle, grandparent, spouses, friends, even sometimes the dearest children, are there. I feel like they are there, protecting us all.

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