But, of course, everything else does.
I’m one of those old-fashioned coffee drinkers and I steadfastly refuse to allow this to change. Meaning, I drink an old-fashioned style of coffee: percolated Chock Full o’ Nuts. And that’s how I start every single morning, and have for literally decades.
And thank God for that. Because, at least, you know, there is something I truly love that I can just always reach for. Nothing else really remains, does it?
Wow, yesterday was difficult.
I awoke at 4 A.M. with Chapter 12/b. of the new novel, Blessed By Light, waiting there in my brain. I could tell I had sort of “downloaded” it during the night. And I was really excited. I could sense what it was going to be about, I knew it was in there. I got out of bed, made coffee, fed cats, etc., sat down at the laptop and —
17 (!!) freaking hours later, I had managed to get 3 and 1/2 pages out. You know, what is that?? I like the pages I finally ended up with, but the 17 hours part is the part that confounds me.
I had expected it to be a relatively simple thing, and then I would switch to working on the revisions for the TV pilot, which are truly pressing and really, really difficult for me. But an entire day was spent writing 3 and 1/2 pages.
I was just so frustrated with myself.
Twice I even took these really strange naps. Meaning, I would suddenly feel like I had to collapse. I’d go over to the bed, lie down, and be out like a light for maybe 10 minutes. Just a really deep sleep. Then I’d pop awake and realize that I needed to add a sentence about the view from the balcony in Paris at night. You know – you can’t just stand there on the balcony and smoke without saying something about the view because it’s Paris, right? Seemingly important stuff like that, but it didn’t really get me much farther.
I was getting sort of depressed. Plus, I’ve also made this pact with myself that I am never allowed to have suicidal thoughts again. I need to just stop it, forever. And that’s really difficult, too, because now where is the closest exit? Nowhere. That’s where. You have to just sit and get the writing done. As Sartre warned us: No exit, baby.
Around 6 PM, I took a break and walked to the cemetery. This is the resting place for most of my characters in the other new novel I’m writing, The Hurley Falls Mysteries: Down to the Meadows of Sleep, and I thought it would help to be out among friends.
It did kind of help, frankly, but more than that, it was just sobering. I mean, there were all the men, the founders of the town I live in, along side their wives. Most of them dead for well over 200 years now. And yesterday, I noticed that most of them died either right around the age I’m at now, or even younger than me.
Okay, well, thanks for that head’s up. I have so much writing I still want to get done, you know? Projects sitting here waiting for my complete and undivided attention. I don’t mind dying, but I do mind not getting any more of my work done.
And then, of course, my eye falls on the occasional tombstone of a baby who lived about 2 weeks, or maybe even a day. And this, about 200 years ago, as well. I mean, it’s so heartbreaking, but it’s also, like, well okay, why am I here? (I mean that existentially; not why am I in the graveyard.)
I stood there on that hillside, looking out at the valley below me – all the cornfields that have been harvested and are now ready for winter to come (even though I can’t remember when summer ended and it became fall); the foothills all around for as far as I can see are gorgeous. An old church. A few old houses. Trees galore. Just beautiful country. Just lovely. So contented and peaceful-looking – so unlike moi.
And I thought to myself, you are not really going to just stand here in this old graveyard on this hillside and cry are you? That will not solve anything at all. Go back to the laptop, sit down in front of it and get those words to come out. Just do it.
So I walked back home, made myself eat something (about 4 tortilla chips and maybe a tablespoon on guacamole – I have lost almost 20 pounds since the Muse arrived during the summer and I kinda stopped eating), I got the coffee set up for the morning, closed down the house for the night and went back upstairs for the duration.
You know, I sat there for a few more hours, polished what I had already gotten down on the pages, but the rest of it – words that I could tell were still in there – refused to come out. So I just went to bed.
This morning, you know – a second chance to maybe get it right this time. And thank God, the coffee was there. An anchor to all my Great Expectations. So we’ll see, gang. We’ll see. (And my mother will be coming soon. I seriously need to clean this house.)