Last night I went to bed, Han got me up and I was angry and not very graceful, then I couldn't go to sleep so I got up and tried to squeeze out some words and it was not easy, plus I'm behind in my count for National Novel Writing Month, then I went to bed again and I felt numb and that worries me, and then Han got me up again at four because he had to go to the bathroom so when my alarm went off I felt tired and still numb, and that concerns me because of the Fresh Air interview with Allie Brosh who got depressed and had no feelings and now I'm sitting on the sofa and trying to make up some of the slipping, sliding word count and I'm having a tough time and thinking about how nice it would be to take a nap and it's raining and white outside and I still don't have that many feelings except a general sogginess, whereas last week I felt alive and happy and excited even though I was behind on my word count then, too, and now I keep wondering what is it all for, why am I even doing this and the evil voice of doubt is chatting away in my mind's ear.
Okay. That's all I can write because I'm about 2,871 words short of where I should be on day 12. I'm sitting on my blue sofa with my laptop open writing about a girl who lives in a house with a blue sofa, a girl who is getting herself into trouble even though she wants to change her world for the better. This girl loves her friends but hates Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio.
Hey, this is fun! Fun like running a marathon or giving birth is fun.
If you want to participate in National Novel Writing Month with me next November, check it out here.
Today I got an invitation to Linkedin with G.B., a boy I used to know (because back when I knew him he was a boy, and will likely remain a boy to me forever even though we did meet again as adults at a class reunion that is slightly foggy to me, which is unfortunate, and I promise myself I will not drink so much Champagne on the way to other, future, class reunions). G.B. was a nice guy and it gave me a tiny warm feeling that he wanted to Linkedin. I know that G.B. Linkedin me only because the algorithm suggested it because other girls and boys from elementary school and junior high and high school have Linkedin me. (I actually don't know if anyone from those days has Linkedin me. Must go check, further delaying accomplishing anything. No. No. I will not do that. I will sit in this chair and write for real now. Not for this blog. But first I must tie up the ends of this inconsequential missive.)
Why do I get a tiny warm feeling at G.B.'s digital-only invitation to simply show we are 'professionally networked,' even though he works for a toy company and I sit alone trying to put words down so I can finish this infernal novel? I suppose it's because we want to be noticed and we have a primal need to belong. Additionally, I'll take anything I can get when I feel alone and scared, picking up my manuscript after being away reveling among family and drinking Chardonnay like a footloose bon vivant. Now I find myself in a dim, dank, hard-edged corridor with many doors that stretches before me like that hallway in Poltergeist. And offspring pick-up looms...
So how can we let go of performance in favor of experience? Here's something that's helped me: Several times a day I'll complete this sentence: "This is what it feels like to..."
This is what it feels like to receive praise. This is what it feels like to be in love. This is what it feels like to be stuck writing a proposal. This is what it feels like to present to the CEO. This is what it feels like to be embarrassed. This is what it feels like to be appreciated.
So, here goes, from my today.
This is how it feels to...
…connect with someone you barely know when you can't talk. My dental hygienist, whose name I don't know, is a pretty, gentle, personable woman. She's single, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. She talks while she cleans my teeth, asking many times if this feels okay, how's the temperature of the water, telling me how she helped a friend move his bed, how she doesn't like the cold so she's grateful for our mild weather. She makes going to the dentist easier.
This is how it feels to…
Get praise on my writing by someone I only just met, now, on the phone. "I didn't have any comments on your chapters!" she said. "I can't wait to read the rest." She has no idea how difficult this project has become and how much I want to finish it and how unsure I am about my ability to craft a story. She only knows that she liked my chapters and told me that, giving me the impetus, maybe, to get through the writing for a while.
My kids, duh. (The 'duh' is a tribute to Iona. Yesterday when I picked her up from school late, she glared. I asked if it was an accusatory look. "Yes!" "But I'm only four minutes late." "Duh, that's a long time when it's raining, Mom!")
Corn chips, specifically the ones from the brand Late July.
Getting a good night's sleep after several nights of not getting a good night's sleep. Han is newly sleeping in a big-boy bed, and though he is excited and proud, he's afraid. Like we're all afraid of change. Afraid when relationships change, afraid when we change, and afraid when the bars are taken off the bed. Afraid enough to yell for Mom at three in the morning several nights in a row. Then Mom's afraid enough of lots of things that she doesn't go back to sleep. And talk about scary, try sleep-deprived Mom.
Escaping all connected devices (this is what I'm doing next) to go write in the other house, AKA the guest room over our garage, AKA MY STUDIO!
. . . . . . . . . .
* I try not to use the word 'love' in a casual way. But I don't want to replace it with 'like a lot' right this moment; I need to get to the studio and write. I am translating the book into first person for draft #3. And, at some point, I need to sign up for swim lessons for scaredy-cat swimmers (fills me with dread), partly as research (MC is afraid of water) and partly because I'd like to make up with water someday and be able to have fun in it, with my family. That'll be a future blog post, or series of them. Also, when am I going to start that professional writer's blog? What shall I call it? How am I going to execute it? Now is when I wish I knew how to make a web site. Who wants to make me a web site? If only my best designer friend wasn't so busy making a movie. Okay, enough of this. Gotta go.
Just after I throw in random photos of a recent nice day, taken with iPhone because my camera is broken again.
If I were happier, would I give my kids more candy? As it is, I give them only a paltry amount, which isn't fair because I have to eat dark chocolate every day. These days I like Dove, these little Kiss-size, foil-wrapped pieces. Sometimes I have two. This almost always happens after lunch, followed by tea, before trying to write writing. While I'm trying to write writing, I want to be drawing (or folding laundry, or selling things over the phone, or doing anything besides writing). Lately, I've only been able to write 500-600 words at a time. It's painful. And it's not even every day.
This post is an attempt to warm up my brain and fingers. I'm reading The Writer's Journey. I wonder if my protagonist has enough of an inner problem. She's shy, and she's kind of lonely. She sometimes gets lost in books. But she needs a real inner problem, not the inner problems all introverted kids have.
Writer's Journey also makes me wonder, does she refuse the quest mightily enough? How can she? She is RESCUING HER MOTHER. Any main character worth anything can't stand around debating fun summer? or rescue Mom? Go find Mom, kid, because she gave birth to you. Or she filled out a foot-tall pile of paper to adopt you. Both are painful in their own way, and you owe her.
I wrote my second query letter. Now I need to finish the book. During my query-letter-writing exercise, I learned that when I promote my work I feel tense and tingly, with a dash of excited dread in my neck region. I remembered that I like working; it feels good after. I learned that my characters get buried. I didn't know that until now. So I have to write the scene in which they get buried. Star Wars comes to mind. Remember the garbage compactor? Really loved that. I can't wait to send out my first queries. I have to hurry. Middle school applications loom. That almost sounds comical, if it weren't true.
Hey, it's sunny in Seattle. Come, go for a run with me!