I’ve been struggling with Handley, which is uncharacteristic of me. In a key scene, a pirate vessel, the CSC Narwhal is going after the stasis ship, the River Styx. I knew the scenes, having visited them in my head, writing some aspects in my mind. I’d been looking forward to writing the scenes because I knew what a keystone scene they were to the novel’s arch. Yet, they suddenly fell through a hole in my brain in the last three days. I’d bring the doc up to write once, twice, thrice, and then wrote or edited other scenes and chapters.
Yesterday, I’d had enough. I spent several minutes castigating myself. Has to be done, you idiot. Just write it, I told myself. Suspecting I was worried about how it would go or that I was overthinking it, I told the writer, just fucking do it. Get it done.
I began just writing the essence of what was supposed to be happening. It’s been so long since I’d struggled to write as I did then. The process felt like I was plucking eyebrow hairs.* My God, those were clumsy, awkward, lifeless sentences. The writing was so dense and abstract, and not in an interesting Kafka way. After sipping coffee, I walked away, shaking my head at myself, appalled by the moribund words on the screen. Then, deep breath, try again.
Thank God the cafe was almost empty and nobody was near me. I’d hate to have to apologize to others for the awful smell that the shit on the screen was surely exuding.
Work it, work it, work it. Ever shape model clay or work bread? Felt exactly like that. This was a lump. I kept kneading the scene, trying to form something out of it. After twenty to thirty minutes of this, the scene suddenly became emerging from the material. After an hour, two hours plus into the writing session, I had two pages written.
That was all.
But it was enough. Showering and shaving today, I envisioned the rest of the scene and the chapter’s subsequent scenes. They grew alive in my mind. I became eager to write. I hurried through feeding cats, harvesting potatoes from the litter box, cleaning up in the kitchen, and getting ready to leave. Consumed by the mind writing, I forgot to put my Fitbit back on after my shower, misplaced my glasses and vacillated about what walking shoes to wear. My focus was too far into the novel.
But here I am, quad shot mocha with fine latte art by Meghan at hand, at the coffee shop, ready to rock.
Time to write like crazy, at least one more damn time.
*NOTE: Yes, I have plucked my eyebrows, or tweezed them, if you prefer. Once upon a time, I was said to resemble a smaller version of Tom Selleck when he was doing ‘Magnum, P.I.’ If you recall him from then, he had a uni-brow going on; so did I, and my wife convinced me to pluck it because she was certain Tom Selleck plucked his.
Yeah, that was long ago.