Roads

I want to retreat. I want to hide. I want to do what I did in August 2011, when I put up a virtual wall and didn’t nudge a single brick until 2013. Like every second semester senior I know, I’m knotted and bruised–horrified and excited and proud and out of my damn mind. We’re less than a week away from March. Two weeks from Wednesday, I fly home for Spring Break and quality puppy time. And then April will sweep in, quickly followed by May. Halfway through May I walk on a stage, and then I drive away. I’ll drive to California and I don’t know what will happen after.

And that’s okay.

But, you know, I can recognize it’s okay but still feel like my skin is being pressed to a flame, right?

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My rewrite isn’t a rewrite. It’s a rough (roughroughrough) draft. I don’t know how this happened. Back in November–or was it December?–back in that holiday mass, the original plot was pushed over the edge. Nine years and rejection and senior year and a professor urging me to write something new and an idea clucking at my ears, and I was ready to shove this absurd story aside. Ready to close a drawer, lock it shut, and open a new one. I cried a stupid amount. Like cried-cried. But then, within days, something clicked and a character was eliminated and a new character added in and the plot shifted, and suddenly I was rewriting and all was (relatively) okay.

But then this past weekend, I cried and cried and cried. Lately, it feels like, in my attempt to make the book better, my attempt to follow the urge, I broke the book. It’s so new. It’s so raw. It’s so doesn’t resemble anything it once was. It’s Scary Land. Last on Friday, finally, I hit a low, and I (again) cried and cried and cried. I told my mom I was done. It’s over, I said. But on Saturday–like in November or December–on Saturday, at approximately 6:57 PM, when I was reading and sweating on a treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness, a new thought arrived–a new thought that somehow gives me hope, two ideas that might just pull me through the end of this draft.

This new draft.
This rough draft.
This book that holds distant traces of the old, but, in truth, is ultimately new.

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I want to hide. I want to retreat. Because I’m in new-new drafting mode. In this mode, the last thing I want is exposure. Which is hard when you’re in senior seminar–in workshop with fifteen other writers, fifteen other well meaning writers yacking and analyzing and mocking and praising my fresh pages. Beautiful intensive workshop, when all I want is to put up my walls and write, write, write. I think it’s good. The challenge. The vulnerability. So I’m going with the flow, giving and receiving for another two weeks (surprise, my draft’s deadline is in two weeks). I’m in limbo, flailing in this odd place, the 130 page slump, flailing and trying to dance with the workshop, to listen, listen and take
it in and set it aside and not let the praise and hate stump me. I can do it. If I try. I can love it. If I let myself.

I meet Zadie Smith tomorrow. That’s cool.

So yeah, my mind is retreat-hide-retreat land, and my life is EXPOSEVULNERABLEEXPOSE. And I’m dealing with it. I’m dealing with it with pizzazz. I’m, you know, driving these raw roads, pretending to be a pro. Funny, right?

Right now, that’s all I have to say.

Happy almost Tuesday.