Leave the light on
Last night I finished the first sequence of SMALL TOWN BOY, "phoenix edition."
As previously mentioned, this story has been banging at my head since December, pretty much the second spare brain cells recovered from NaNoWriMo. I wrote a lot of little bits when I had time, always intending to fully start, but various things continued to get in the way, culminating in the bizarre full body collapse landing me in the ER, twice-weekly physical therapy, and my own personal portable pharmacy. And as the dust settled from that, as I did the feeble grandmother exercise regimen and milked the family budget for a new chair and desk, I was suddenly struck by a huge wave of rage and pain and sorrow, and I sat down to write because it was either that or grab a kitchen knife, and what is currently the opening of the story came out like so much vomit, and I felt much, much better. I have, in fact, not really been very upset since.
And after that opening, there was a bit of wrestling, and then the first three chapters came gushing out, too. I’ve had a real writing binge over the past five (?) days, and this morning I sat down and read through the entirety of the draft so far, and I have to say, it’s really, really good. And now I am sad, because I have to put it down for a little while.
I don’t have to put it down, obviously. But it’s best, I know, for a lot of reasons. One, all the laundry is in baskets all over the house, there’s no food, and it’s been well over a week since I well and truly played with Anna, and, really, Dan for that matter. They are nice people, and they wait, but I don’t want to make them wait, and I miss them, and it’s important. But I need to put this down for more than just a day or two. I need to do the housekeeping and the care and feeding of family, but then I also need to get THE WITCH’S APPRENTICE submission stuff fully ready and then I need to actually submit it again. I had intended to do so in December: the plan was to finish polishing the full synopsis and give one last glance at the new query, maybe collect some input on it, to revisit the first fifty pages or so and make sure they are as good as they can possibly be, and as clean as I can make them, etc, so that I could occasionally rouse myself from my grumpiness about submission and just do it without a lot of fuss. Well, see the above regarding December. It needs to happen now.
I’m sad, though. I love Etsey, adore Etsey, but it’s established, and it’s in a good spot right now, with a full draft bold and ready, a ship fitted and ready in the harbor, and book two is drafted, sitting up on stilts in the docks ready for outfitting and inspection and a full kitting. Etsey is good to go. Eden, however, isn’t. Eden is a wreck, sacked and burned and full of ghosts and sorrow and pain and fear, but now I’ve put the paint back on in a few places, and it isn’t just good, it’s better, it’s stronger, and not only is it the best, best, best thing I’ve ever written, it’s also healing my soul, all the way down. It’s funny, because when I wrote it the first time I always felt panicked, like it was about to burn me, as if, somehow, I saw what was coming and was trying to avoid it. It wasn’t even half of what I wanted it to be, but I was so afraid of it that I stepped on myself. Now–God, now it’s . . . it’s everything. When I write STB, I feel like I go into a quiet, snow-filled valley full of ghosts, and I sing, softly, and they rise and come to life. Sometimes I fumble, but as soon as I get into the right space, it just flows, the way I have always wanted it to. And while writing Etsey has always felt a bit like writing from far away expect for rare moments, writing Eden feels like I am breathing it. I don’t want to leave it, even for a moment.
But I am. I don’t want to be gone too long, because I really want to write all the first act while it’s snowy and cold here, just like it is in the story. I want to push in through now, to let the rest wait, but it’s not a good idea, I know. So I"m not. But I’m sad.
I did my exercises with the act one playlist on, and then I went outside and had a good-bye Dunhill with Will. Then I put them away in my closet, made a cup of tea, and I’m writing this entry, and then I’m going to do a quick internet surf, and then it’s to work. Not yet sure what music I’ll listen to for the rest of the day; tomorrow it’s back to Etsey, but for today I’m open, letting it be what it needs to be, and not planning. I"m going to reclaim the house, go to PT, get Anna, go shopping, have dinner with Dan at work, play with Anna and read more Coraline out loud, then finish working the house and, maybe knit or read later tonight.
Oh, but I’m so sad.
Will is so, so real this time. He’s always been as loud as Charles, and they’re decidedly cousins, but Will is softer, with more pain. And, I’ve discovered this go-round, Will is far, far, far more based on me than I ever knew. I always thought I was John, but no, now I’m Will.
So, sweetpea, don’t go far. Go have a Dunhill on the porch and think of John, dream of claiming the back room as your office, and play folk music with Oz. And leave a light on for me. I won’t be gone long.