Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A Diversity of Discomforts
Why am I feeling a diversity of discomforts? I suppose you can guess some of them. Tragedies in Tucson and accompanying rhetoric. I'd like to write more about that, and perhaps will next week, when I get my thoughts clear. One piece of it that I keep returning to is the shooter--and the massive impact that one person can have on an entire nation. One person is really relatively small (regardless of actual height and weight; in this regard the shooter appears to be relatively average) to have such a large impact. Having a semi-automatic weapon increases the impact, or creates the impact. But still . . . one person.
Another important source of the discomfort is that this month--January--I have taken off from my commercial work (mostly taken off; I have a few smallish responsibilities) to work on my novel. My dream was that by the end of the month I would have a solid draft, perhaps even ready to send to my agent. Far more accomplished authors than I am would never admit that in public. When it's in progress, no one really knows how an artistic project will go, whether it can follow any timetable of completion, whether it is truly viable. This is the reality as I understand it from myself and others.
So . . . the first week of my writing sabbatical was rousing. By Sunday, I had the first five chapters in a shape I felt quite good about (something writers are not supposed to say out loud, as the worm can turn at any time). Monday, starting in on chapter 6, the worm turned. By this morning I was in a panic.
I calmed myself a little by moving away from the chapter and working on a structural overview, thinking that seeing the events of that chapter in context might help me solve my problems. This did help to some extent, and I managed to muddle through chapter 6. Decided to leave it for now, give it some breathing room, move onto 7, and continue to consider the structure of the whole work, how the parts may eventually fit together, how the threads weave in and out. But . . . I'm worried. And not just a little bit uncomfortable.