If only one could turn off the Virgo.
I am writing a first draft.
I understand that first drafts, especially mine, are always a bit messy. I accept, at least in theory, that this is the way it must be, that the good stuff will only come out by messing around and letting things happen organically, by writing through until the magic happens. I do get this. It’s just that I don’t like this.
Part of me, at least. I just truly suck at watching a mess lie there. I don’t like it in my house, either: if something is wrong, I have to actively not look at it, and it’s even worse if someone is coming, because then they will see it, and wonder why I haven’t fixed it. Of course, usually this isn’t true. But I can’t be sure, and it bothers me. With writing, I’ve been able to fix this: I don’t let anyone see it until I’m ready. Somehow it’s okay in a beta draft, even though it’s still a mess, probably because I can say, "I know there are messes." I think right now what I can’t handle is finding out that there are messes I haven’t ID’d yet, because that would depress me. There are already so many. The thought of finding out more would push me over the edge, and worse, if someone saw a mess that WASN’T, I’d be honor bound to stand there and argue with them, and waste time. And all the while, I can’t see it, can’t see that there is magic, can’t quite believe.
When I get to the end of even one draft, I can see the shining thread. I can’t see exactly what the story is supposed to be, but I can see that it is, and once I see that, all it takes is time and work, and for a Virgo? Whatever, just keep the coffee coming. But this part. THIS part, where I can’t yet see, where I’m not able to see anything except momentary shines? Oh, just fuck it.
They used to really throw me, those little shines. I would think, "YES! THIS IS IT! PROTECT THIS SCENE, THIS IDEA, OH YEAH!" But sometimes they’re teases, little bits of fey to keep me working. Sometimes they’re the sheen on shit. I can’t find that glowing center until it’s all done, and you know, it doesn’t matter how many times I find it, I can’t ever believe there is one for sure inside, even though part of me is convinced there is. I’m sure this says so much more about my own psyche than any story. Whatever.
All I know is that this is not the Hour of Virgo, this part of the process. This is the time of the Scorpion, the time for mad, wild passion and risk, of calculation and manipulation and cleverness that makes your teeth ache. This is the time for messy, messy sex. I suppose most people don’t think of writing as sex, but outside of the part with bodies, I can’t think of what else it is. It’s push and pull, it takes you over, and if you bring too much ego, you ruin it. What else is that, if it isn’t sex?
I suppose that’s why I write. Virgo sun, Scoprio rising, Cancer moon. Huge buckets of emotion and sexual energy, all capped under RIGID FUCKING CONTROL. A mind that wants to try sex with everyone, everywhere, to drink as deeply as you can, and a nun in the background obsessed about all these GODDAMNED germs. (And a moon aching for the conflict to stop. Go have some cookies, honey, you’ll feel better.) What else was there to do but write, where the germs are only as real as I want them to be?
So, this is a little message to that nun: baby, hit the beach. We’ve been here. We’ve been here a lot. This is not your show. You go off and suss out how to make the self-publishing bit work for the big novel series, or watch the market again to make quadruple sure there isn’t a publisher that meets your incredible exacting standards. Or–just a thought, just tossing this out there–maybe take a fucking break for once. Maybe trust that the universe can run without your ruler on its knuckles, at least for a few hours a day so we can get this draft out. Don’t think about the grout that needs replacing in the bathroom or the paint peeling there, or the fact that you haven’t vacuumed and company is coming. Don’t think about the things you’ve promised to do but haven’t, or worry about what you have done or left undone. Even the Lutherans give that up to Jesus, baby. Let it go.
And if you can’t, just lie back and think of Mr. Clean. Shut your eyes and your ears and remind yourself that once this is over, it’s Lady Scorpio who hits the beach and it’s you, gorgeous, you who gets to go in there and make it right. Just think of the mess she’s going to leave. But you’ll see it then, won’t you. You’ll find that light, and you’ll polish it until it gleams.
I know, you can’t see it now. I know that bugs you. I know you hate, even more, trusting someone else, even if it’s part of the same goddamned head you share. But honey, this is not your thing. You can’t see this, not until you let go. So let go. Trust me. We can do this. Let. Go.
And hey, you know, feel free to show up for the sex. Given the way this novel is going, there ought to be plenty. And no disease risk at all, just the occasional unclear antecedent. Even you can live with that.