You know when you’ve had a bad week, or actually, no, a bad month and it all kind of just builds up? You flunk an exam, a good friend cancels plans, she makes no effort to reschedule, a cork breaks off into your bottle of wine, your boyfriend breaks up with you via a very stale text, your cell phone goes for a rinse cycle in the wash, you fall off the elliptical during rush hour at the gym, you over withdraw your checking account, rejection rejection rejection rejection fail fail fail.
And during those rough months, where you’re moving so fast, it’s all happening so fast, bam bam bam, shock shock shock, that you simply don’t cry once? You accept the impact. You carry on. You accept the next impact. Next step. Run run run. But then your mom randomly calls to check in and, within forty seconds of answering, you’re sobbing and you can’t stop.
I have not had a bad month, or even a bad week. And, let the record stand, I’ve been relatively single since 2010. Contently so. And yeah, I may have ruined a day old thing of lip balm when I did my laundry last night, but I’ve yet to throw in a phone. Falling off the elliptical though? It’s kind of my speciality.
This was all just a really silly, terrible analogy.
An analogy for my month of writing. Tears = words. I’ve been in my 4-week-long thesis block for 3 weeks, but up until Wednesday, I hadn’t typed a word. I can blame it on the grad school applications that were all due in the opening weeks of December, or the pressure in my eyes that makes it difficult to drive let alone write, or I can point a finger at the stakes of this rewrite–too many waiting readers/critique partners/editors, a grade, my degree, this being my “last chance” with AFOT for years and years and years.
I have a sea of excuses.
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in laziness, healing time, brewing, distractions. This wasn’t a writer’s block. This was laziness, healing time, brewing, distractions. I ached to write. I drove myself crazy. My brain fizzed out. My wrists and hips screamed when I sat at my desk. It’s not time, it’s not yet time. Not quite. Wait. Wait just a bit. Nothing felt right. So I waited. And I waited some more. And then I tried again, but this time I eased myself in. I scribbled in my notebook before falling asleep, woke up with pencil scratches on my cheek. I made lists. I wrote journal entries from various characters’ POVs. I went for walks in the snow. I took on Laurie Halse Anderson’s WFMAD challenge (still respond to a prompt every morning). I doodled. I tore pages. I sketched character personalities. I moved forward inch by inch until my toes touched the water.
And then I cannonballed into the ocean.
And it’s like my mom just called to randomly check in, like not only was I dumped by a stellar fellow with a job, but my teenage boyfriend–my first real love–the guy I was with on and off for five years–just became a dad (oh, wait, my teenage ex did become a dad yesterday, how odd), like I flunked an exam and was told I can’t walk in graduation this spring, and I’m crying, I’m crying, I’m crying.
Only, I’m not. I’m writing. Unable to stop. New pages rolling out, the same story, the same voice, but clearer, stronger. No longer a whisper, but a yell. WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE. And I’m at Barnes & Nobles, Poor Richard’s, Jives, Starbucks. I’m hunched over my keyboard. WRITE WRITE WRITE. And ‘N’ has popped off. ‘S’ too. Only now ‘S’ is ‘C’ because the Apple store was out of ‘S’ when this happened last time. I’m pounding the keys. Not enough hours in the day to put every scene, image, conversation moment that I’m hearing, I’m seeing, on the page.
I hope I don’t stop crying for a long, long time.
I need to stop it with the dumb analogies.
I need to get up. Speed walk through DIA, ride the tram to concourse C (concourse B is my DIA home), board my flight, land. California, I’m on my way back. Ignore my bloodshot eyes and shaking hands. I forgot about writing’s terrible side effect: insomnia. Severe insomnia that can’t be fought even with Ambien and three Benadryl, insomnia that just, quite simply, isn’t even productive, just sucks.
But that’s okay. I don’t mind. Because Mom called, and the rewrite is finally–officially–underway.
Farewell, Colorado. I’m headed to the coast. See you in 2014.