Tension

Have found a better working title that I’m using on the novel in progress. It pleases me and hopefully fits. I’ve checked, and it’s available.

Meanwhile, I deleted a large chunk of previously written chapters, including the original ending. That ending no longer fit as first, my understanding of the concept evolved, and then my understanding of the characters and the story expanded.

Looking back, I see how involved I became in understanding the concept during the first draft. Understanding it consumed me to the detriment of the story. The characters evolved, but the story stalled.

In the second draft, I attempted multiple ways to clarify and sharpen the story. First was to expand some roles. When that didn’t work, I took all of that away. That worked better. Encouraged, I chopped more of that aspect away. That completely worked. The story came into much sharper focus.

I invested a great deal of thinking about the story and tehe concept at that point, and came to realize that what I’d learned from the concept was being misapplied in the story. In other words, the story wasn’t about what I originally thought.

Encouraged again, I kept on, but had to keep reminding myself of what the story was about vice what the concept was about. That caused a certain duality of thought and approach.

Fortunately, when I entered into a character’s skin and wrote in their voice, they had a deeper understanding of how the story was to advance versus what the concept is about.

As I’ve entered writing the final chapters, I’ve needed to draw up to think deeply about how it all ties together. Then I began writing at a furious gallop. Because this is the climax of so many story lines and arcs, it all began hugely tense. Typing in deep concentration, I had to stop and rock (and, weirdly, wring my hands together), or get up and walk around to release tension, or stop, close my eyes, and breath deeply. I found I could rarely type in more than ten minute bursts. The bursts left me feeling exhausted, forcing me to pause, regroup, and then press on. Meanwhile, my muscles and nerves strum with tension.

Closed to finishing then? Doubtful. I’ll get this raw stuff out of me. Then the holes will leap up, along with continuity and logic issues. Once they’re fixed, there will probably be pacing matters to attend.

In many ways, this final process reminds me of practicing and practicing, preparing for something. Then, finally, the moment arrives when it’s time to put the practice aside, take the stage, and make it happen. Writing this final piece of novel has that same sort of butterflies as acting (did that in high school plays), making a speech, playing in a big sports game, or making a major presentation. The tension just feels immense.

I don’t have all the answers. A lot of work remains. Days sometimes feel fantastic and exciting; other times, I despair. Many times, I’m reminded of the loneliness of this fiction writing business. It’s like being in a dinghy out on the vast ocean.

But overall, yeah, there’s exciting progress.

Butt is sore from sitting (yes, I have writer’s butt, once again), and the coffee is gone. Time to stop writing like crazy, tear myself out of that state of mind, and go back into the world and fulfill life’s mundane expectations.

Onward.

The Theater Dream

The theater dominated, but there were several features, some of which are clichés to the max (ha), like a military phone call (that wasn’t a call), and being pantless.

To begin –

With others, including a boss I used to have, we were going to the theater. This was some special deal, a grand event.

Checking in was an odd process. We entered a pristine, glistening marble foyer, black on the floor, pink on the walls, white on the ceiling. Stunning. Machines were embedded in the pink walls. After moments of floundering uncertainty about what to do, we realized the machines would provide us with our tickets. More floundering (instructions were absent) before figuring out, look into the small bas relief image on the machine and speak your name. Tickets were issued with fast, impressive swish. We guessed that it was a security system which identified us via a retina scan and voice.

The ticket lit up with gold arrows telling us where to go. Following its arrows, we learned from an employee that the ticket was geared to our bodies, that the machine back there had also verified our weight and scanned our bodies to verify who we were. Wow, some system, we said to one another, while wondering, why would a ticket need to be so specific to an individual? Nervous jokes were made.eate

I ended up in a bedroom. This couldn’t be right, I thought, but was reassured by my previous boss that it was. She was friends with the theater owner, so had gotten this box for us. It was the owner’s personal box. But I, confused, because it was a bedroom, was ready to challenge that when one wall opened, showing the stage right in front of us. Besides that, my ex-boss showed how we could watch the play via multiple monitors.

Great deal, I thought, impressed, but still freaked. The box was obviously a bedroom, and was full of jewelry. Be jeweled bracelets and watches abounded, along with key chains with keys. I didn’t want to touch anything lest people thought I was trying to steal it.

Then, horror, I knocked a bracelet off a dresser. It landed in my pocket. With alacrity, I fished it out, hurrying because I didn’t want to be seen.

A phone rang. I realized it was the Wing Commander calling on his hotline. Punching on the connection via one of the old 306 consoles (where did that come from), I answered with my name and rank.

“Sorry,” the commander replied. “I was sleeping and accidentally pressed the button.

Time to go! Leaving the theater, we went to a party in a luxurious mansion. Bottles of expensive red wine were being opened. People were asking me, what wine do you want? What bottle should I open? I was answering, there are bottles already open, let’s not waste them. I like red wine.

Bottles were opened anyway. I had a little red wine, straight from a bottle. Wow, it was fantastic. Then —

Time to go! Seeing the wine being wasted, I tried to put corks back into the bottles. They fell out, refusing to stay. I as being urge on.

Back at my place with my wife (which I understood was a temporary place), she offered me food, which were breakfast leftovers, she explained. I selected a few pieces, even though they were cold, and ate a bit, which tasted good. Then —

Time to iron! I needed to iron some pants because I wasn’t wearing any. I found pants and two ironing boards with irons in another room. One iron was small, like a toy. They other was a standard-sized iron on a standard folding board. The two options confused me. Before I could decide —

Time to go! My wife informed me that we needed to leave to go clean up another place. I protested that I’m not wearing any pants. “Don’t worry,” she replied. “Nobody will see you.”

We arrived via dreamport (that is, we turned around and were there) in a small house that doubled as a business. It looked tidy but my wife said that we needed to clean it. I agreed but told her that I needed to iron my pants and put them on first.

Right after that was announced, several of my wife’s friends arrived. I hastened to cover my lower nakedness as they laughed, hooted, and pointed, brushing it off, they’d seen it before, before they went off into another room, where my wife served them coffee and tea.

The dream ended.

I think my subconscious (working with my conscious mind) this morning, decided this dream was about broken dreams and lost promises. But after thinking about it while walking and then writing it out, I think it’s about the imposter syndrome.

Sunday’s Theme Music

“This Diamond Ring” (cover by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, 1965) began playing in my head as I reconstructed and evaluated my dream, which was about theater, wine, food, and clothes. Why that song, I wondered, going over the lyrics. It’s all about broken promises and lost dreams, and gathered, that must be what the dreams were about, a depressing thought at its face.

Anyway, now the song is lodged in the stream. Sharing it will release it, so here you are. Watch the video, as their performance is interesting. (So is the setting.) (Such a simpler time.) Several of those musicians look like, “Where am I, where am I,” is caught in their thinking streams.

Cheers

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