Apr 20, 2008

Overwhelm


Got notes back from my editor. A couple sweeping-issue notes. I'm totally up for doing it. But the book's got to be in final draft in three weeks. THREE WEEKS!
I had a nervous breakdown over it this morning with Larry. "If the book goes to the printer in three weeks it'll all be a waste of time. I'm going to fail."
Larry tried to comforted me. "In time, you'll have a different perspective."
(Poor Larry, what could he say that I wouldn't misinterpret?)
"Like one day the failure won't feel so... failuresque?"
"Well all you can do is what's in front of you."
"I've got to rewrite the first three chapters by Monday."
"And what needs to happen in those first three chapters?" He sounded rhetorical, like it was some famous Aristotelian question every writer knew.
"What Needs To Happen In The First Three Chapters?"

"They need to be different." I ran off to my room to cry.

Not long afterward our friends called. They're both book editors. Heather gushed, "your manuscript is great. This book is going to be great. It's a book people will talk about. Yes there are issues, but you can fix them. Don't despair." Until I told them about the three weeks. THREE WEEKS? Well, three weeks are coming whether I like it or not. So here we go..

Meanwhile, I listened to Mark Heard "Tip of My Tongue" is a rockin-out song but the lyrics are kinda brilliant.

There's an oasis in the heat of the day
There's a fire in the chill of night
A turnabout in circumstance makes each a hell in its own right

I've been boxed-in in the lowlands, in the canyons that think
I've been pushed to the brink of the precipice and dared not to blink
I've been confounded in the whirlwind of what-ifs and dreams
I've been burned by the turning of the wind back upon my own flames

Knock the scales from my eyes, knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out, it's on the tip of my tongue!

I've seen through the walls of this kingdom of dust,
Felt the crucial revelation
But the broad streets of the heart and the day-to-day meet at a blind intersection.

I don't want to be lonely, I don't want to feel pain
I don't want to draw straws with the sons of Cain
You can take it as a prayer if you'll remember my name
You can take it as the penance of a profane saint

Knock the scales from my eyes, knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out, it's on the tip of my tongue

There's an oasis in the heat of the day.
There's fire in the chill of night
And when I know them both, I'll know your love - I will feel it in the twilight

As circumstance comes crashing through my walls like a train
Or like a chorus from the mountains of the ocean floor
Like the wind-burst of birdwings taking flight in a hard rain
Or like a mad dog on the far side of Dante's Door

Knock the scales from my eyes! Knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out, it's on the tip of my tongue!

Anne Lamott said just to do it, bird by bird.

Off to write. It's on the tip of my tongue.

4 comments:

Bryan Allain said...

clearly your publisher is just trying to make you squirm. they don't think you have it in you to handle this. but you do. you know you do. Larry knows you do. Mark Heard knows you do. Even that vain bird checking out his/her reflection in the 98 Volvo side mirror knows you do. get back to work and stick it to you publisher!

Anna said...

Well honey, all you can do is put one little page in front of the other. Page by page is doable. (Or I guess bird by bird.) It's worth it a million times over. You've accomplished so much, just by getting someone to buy it BEFORE IT WAS EVEN WRITTEN! Next time, you'll have more authority over the contract. Next time, whatever whatever. It'll never be your first.

THIS IS YOUR FIRST!!!

You'll pull it off, you'll see.

A.

jennifer said...

I am praying for you, S.I., for clarity, and creativity, and strength, and sense of call. And I am already grateful for the work you have pout into this book, just from what I get out of reading your blog.

aaron donley said...

You will do it and the paydirt will be glorious.

Go Suzer.

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