Saturday and today the writing has not gone well. Nothing at all yesterday, and only a couple of pages today (slightly better than 500 words). Nevertheless, if I can manage a good day tomorrow, I should be able to finish Chapter One of Low Red Moon
. At that point, while I pause to finish Bast: Eternity Game
for DC/Vertigo and work on a couple of projects for Subterranean Press, my agent will read the finished prologue and first chapter and offer any opinions and instructions she might have. And then, hopefully, if she doesn't think it's total hogwash, I'll move along to Chapter Two in a couple of weeks. Blah, blah, blah.
When the writing goes well, at least my days end in the knowledge that I'm not exactly a layabout. When they go as today and yesterday have gone, there's only anger and frustration and depression. And guilt, too, perhaps, that I have not yet learned to be a more productive writer, or that I allow external distractions, illness, or personal matters to slow me down, or that I'm allowing my self-discipline (without which no writer is more than a bum in artist's drag) to slip. That's how I feel tonight. That's how I feel a good bit of the time while I'm working on a novel, as I rarely have more than three or four good days in a row, proceeded, sometimes, by as much as a week of "down-time," days when I can't bring myself to go near the keyboard for fear of all that white space waiting to be filled.
I persist in the belief, the way that some people believe in God and unicorns, that there are writers who find this process easy. That writing to them is little more than conversation. The words flow effortlessly from their minds through their hands and onto the "page" (being a heretic, I don't allow myself the luxury of believing that many of these writers actually use typewriters and paper). Some of them are savants and true poetry comes to them with ease. They do not struggle with every goddamn word as though each adjective, each adverb, must be absolutely right. They do not chase perfection at every keystroke. It may come to them, and it may not, but what does come, comes with little sweat.
It is even possible that many of these fabled creatures enjoy
this work. They awaken in the morning and do not feel dread at thoughts of the day ahead, a day that will be spent alone, squeezing something from nothing, but, rather, look forward to the day in which they may accomplish what mere mortals so foolishly believe to be some sort of magic. "Ah, I've always wanted to write a novel," someone says and every time I smile and "Is that so," I might say, or "Well, well," or some such sympathetic drivel, while inside I imagine them granted their wish and gradually learning the daily hell that goes along with it.
I am blithering, not to put too fine a point on it. I will stop now.
And you can all cease looking for Dame Darcy. She's been found (after a fashion).
Shut up, Caitlín, and go to bed. Or whatever it is you do at night. Leave the poor people alone. Yeah, sure, but I'll leave them with a quote, and they may make of it what they will:
"Most writers — poets in especial — prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine frenzy — and ecstatic intuition — and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought — at the true purposes seized only at the last moment — at the innumerable glimpses of ideas that arrived not at the maturity of full view — at the fully matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable . . ."
Edgar Allan Poe (1846)