If only my brain had a USB connection.
It’s been months, months since I finished drafting what became HERO, and it was starting to get to me, this not writing. Oh, there was writing when I polished that story up, but that’s not drafting, that’s rewriting, and it’s different. There’s a mental sweat to fine-tuning, even if I do recreate at least 20% of the text, and often more. It’s not the raw, blind blast into chaos, sick with fear that nothing will be there prefacing a sudden, sharp discovery of something strange and wonderful and barely recognizable, coaxing it gently out of the dark, and then, at last, gasping and laughing at the sensual rush that is story running at ninety once it’s found its legs. It’s in the drafting that writing grips me so viscerally that frequently I catch myself staring at the monitor, not typing, too distracted by the movie passing by the inside of my eyes. No matter how fast I type, no matter how little I sleep, I can never keep up, and some of it is always lost. I frequently wake up at four AM and watch whole sections of the plot unfold, my body too tired to rise, my brain too excited to stop. I used to panic and try to catch the phantoms, to nail them down because they were so beautiful. I thought letting it go would be like letting gold sail by on a barge. (Fly by on a jet pack?) But efforts to snag it all never work, and over time I’ve learned that while a ship once sailed will not come back, there is always another ship from the same company, and in the end, it all works out as it should.
I hit that point with whatever this WIP is called. "Sam and Mitch," for now, but it might be SPECIAL DELIVERY. I still think that’s a bit off, too cute, too cartoon imprint, but it’s better than anything else I can come up with at the moment. It either gets campier, or just baldly gross (my brain keeps aiming me at SAM THE SLUT, which, excuse me, not) or it sounds schmaltzy, shit like WHEN THE ROSE MEETS THE THORN or some other trite bit of nothing that screams EMO, EMO, EMOOOOOOH! and that’s not what this is. I don’t know what this is exactly, but I do know it’s incredibly sexy, and that it’s about vulnerability. It’s longer than HERO (but not as long as TSV), but the whole thing is in Sam’s POV. I debated adding Mitch, but there’s something working in this single POV, and admittedly some of it is that it’s a lot easier on me. Nothing like balancing five in TSV and the six zillion people who want to talk in STB. What I like most about the single, though, even more than how much easier it is, is that by shutting Mitch out there is instantly heightened tension. Mitch has a lot of passion, but also a lot of reserve, and the result is that Sam feels very shut out, sometimes, and yanked back and forth. Sam is also naive, and impulsive, and at the beginning of the story, beautifully flawed. He is at the end, too, but I like the growth arc I can see, and I like following it through. I like what I think he’s going to learn about himself, some of which I’ll learn about me, too. I had no idea I had such a Sam in me, but I do. It’s not like writing Hal, where I felt like I was shaking hands with someone who could have been a neighbor. Sam is sometimes the person I wish I dared to be, and frequently he is the idiot I still am.
The story is in High Dump now, coming out in great waves, making my pulse pound, making me walk around feeling smug and brilliant. This will not, under any circumstances, last, but it’s nice while the illusion is in place. Right now it’s real, and the fact that later it will all seem false does not diminish the joy of now. And after a summer of distraction and slaggy starts to everything, what a gift that Anna is off at my mother’s until Sunday and then has art camp from 9-3 all this next week. I have fantasies of getting a first draft in by next Friday. It will not happen, but right now I can see a future where it happens, so I’m enjoying the thrill. So in a second here I’m going to refill my coffee, maybe nip down and steal some of Dan’s incense (I’ve run completely out. Is that not the oddest thing you’ve heard, me running out of incense?) and doing another download.
I am missing Etsey, though, and despite a hard buzz from The National, STB keeps biding its time. I think the April Supreme Court decision threw a wrench in matters–in a good way–and, also, I write that one better when it’s cold. Well, and let’s not pussy-foot around the fact that by sending HERO out, if things go well I’d want a follow up, and how nice would it be to have a working draft of Sam and Mitch. But next, I think, is TEMPLE BOY. has waited long enough for her sequel. Me, too.
Anyway. There’s no collage, no teaser (though, shit, you should see the scene I wrote last night), just this. I’m keeping Sam and Mitch to myself for now. I won’t be able to catch all that’s running through my head just now, and it will probably take longer than I think to get a draft, but you know, honestly, I don’t mind. This part, even when it drags on, never lasts long enough, especially this first heady part. This story is fresh, new, never been written. It isn’t a redo, it isn’t littered with STUFF, and nothing is pressing on it. It’s completely free. And right now, it’s all mine.