Right now, I kind of feel like this:
That’s our front step badly in need of new paint. It’s also how I feel about writing right now. Needless to say, neither house nor Work in Progress is looking too pretty. The first one is easily remedied: we are getting the house painted this week. Some sanding, scraping, primer and the right colours, and our house will look, well, not brand new, given it’s one hundred years old, but fresh. But I’m not so sure I can slap a fix like that onto my work.
I’m going to call it a novel hangover. That time after you’ve finished up work on a book and the relief and euphoria of achievement slowly fades and then disappears. You’re left with little old you, your computer, and that half-finished kind-of-lame story you were working on three years ago that you know you need to kick into submission (A pun! A sign of writing life!) but there’s something so slippery about it and you can’t get hold of it long enough to do any good.
Re-enactment of Author’s conversation with Work in Progress:
[11:34pm, author’s office]
Author: Why the hell can’t you just be easy? I know exactly what’s supposed to happen to you, but you are making it SO DIFFICULT.
WIP: Well, you were the one who gave me all those extra characters last draft. I mean, I was obese with characters. I’m kind of disgruntled now.
Author: I was trying to write through it. There wasn’t enough tension. It’s a technique.
WIP: Your technique sucks. Your technique needs to go on a diet.
Author: Screw you.
WIP: You’ve been through enough writing workshops; deal with it. And while you’re at it–cut, cut cut. Trim the fat. I’m going to need a triple bypass soon.
Author: Yeah, yeah, I got it. No need to beat the analogy to death. Geez.
WIP: Hey, I couldn’t help myself–I’m only a second draft.
Yes, it’s come to having conversations with my own work. Whatever gets you through, right? Here’s what I’m hoping. 1. The new paint turns our house into the kind of place you do a double take for. The good kind of double take. 2. My hangover lifts and crystal clarity becomes my new mental state as I plough through this draft. Ploughing is a good verb here. There is fertile ground to be turned, seeds to be sown. I’m grasping at positive verbs as if they were Tylenol for this hangover. 3. That my squash plants will hurry up and start flowering. Didn’t they get the memo? Summer is here!
And in the end, we need something light, something uplifting, don’t we?. So here’s another thing that’s happening at our place right now: