Refractory Period.

Well, it’s been well over a week since I’ve posted here, which in itself is unusual.  I’ve been writing; most of that writing has been dedicated to one or the other of my manuscripts, though.

I wrote somewhere around fifty or sixty pages in a week.  Now, this is in addition to working my full time job, so that’s about eight or nine pages per day over the course of about four hours a day.  I would get home, sit and write, and then go to bed and lay awake for three or four hours just chewing on words, sleep for a few fitful hours, and then get up and go to work.  I would write furiously into steno pads when I didn’t have access to the laptop.  it was sometime this weekend that I realized that the sun had been shining for days and each moment of free time I had was spent at the laptop with the curtains closed and the lights off.  It didn’t matter.  I was in a fevered state; it wasn’t until Tuesday that it started to fall apart… the hallways at work stretched out to lengths that they hadn’t previously occupied, and people seemed unusually small, even though I knew, absolutely knew, that they were the same size they’d always been.  I was having to get up and walk around the office when I found myself dozing at my desk… each walk would buy me another twenty minutes of alertness.

And that was my first night of proper sleep in over a week.

Each night this week has been dedicated to hanging out with friends, knitting back together the threads of a life that I had let get too frayed.  The cats are anxious and overly affectionate with the recent bout of complete emotional neglect that they’ve weathered, and I can’t blame them.  The house has taken up a new and interesting odor, and there’s a stack of dirty dishes on the floor near my workspace.  This can all be fixed with some dedicated attention, and it will be in the coming days… the mail will be checked and the floor scrubbed and the phone calls made.  The apartment seems to communicate a kind of despair, but I don’t see it that way.

Don’t get me wrong; nobody should do this.  Not even me.  It’s madness… but what a fine madness.  Nobody can honestly expect anyone else to peel themselves away from anything that feels that effortless, that sublime.  It was like a thick and soothing syrup for the brain.  The words came, endlessly, one after the other and there were times when I felt like I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with them.  I would repeat phrases to myself over and over again so that I wouldn’t forget them while my hands caught up with my brain.

And I read over it after the fever broke, and I… I think it might be good.  The nightmare is always that you’ll come out of just such a spell to find that you’ve written a few dozen pages of garbage and wasted all of that focus and effort.  But… I think this might be good.  This was something I had worried about; writing a novel with essentially only two characters is a difficult thing.  It requires some delicate balance between exposition, action, and dialogue.  Things need to be broken up, and other things need a focus so granular that it narrows the whole scope of the thing, and then you need to let the mind pan back out in a way that isn’t unpleasantly jarring.  It needs a light touch, and a light touch is not a thing that I’m known for.

Now there are things in there that need some going over.  There are things that need to be trimmed down and rewritten; there are other things that I breezed right past that will require expansion.  But the point is that I’ve got it down, and I think I only lost a couple of things, and I have had people read a couple of scenes and gotten good feedback on them.

On Sunday I made the effort to not write.  By the time Monday came around, my busy social week started and I didn’t have the time.  Tonight, I promised Tina that I wouldn’t start on that short story I want to get started on.  She wanted me to get to bed early, so I’m probably cheating a little bit by writing this up, but it’s only a blog post, and I’m pleased as punch to chalk it up to the business of putting things back together again.

And this is not a feast or famine situation… I’m not setting the manuscript aside in any long term sense.  It’s just that this little romance was so destructive to other areas of my life that I have to try to get those balls back in the air right now.

 

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Author: adrennan

An artist and writer in Bellingham, Washington.

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