There once was an author Corona
Who said of her new book “I’m gonna…”
Write it, she means,
But then life intervenes
For so long she now says, “I don’t wanna.”
Ahhh, it’s so predictable. The novel languishes while everything else has to take precedence, and now it seems like a territory I’m as reluctant to reinvade as a parent is to go into a room where a child is finally taking a nap.
Will it wake up flushed with sleep, demanding to come out and be part of the fun again? A novel is too inert for that, like the piano keys tucked under a closed lid, or a car waiting silently in the garage. Or like something in the freezer, mutely allowing itself to be pushed to the back, taking on a fur of ice while it burns with neglect….
There I go being a writer again, always looking for the poetic language, the simile, the just-right image. My book is none of those things. It’s too big even to make my long to-do list. I don’t put “go to work” on my to-do list either. Or breathe, eat, sleep, or check my mail. Some things pulse like blood. Some things are on a “never don’t” list we have no need to post.
A book isn’t really like that either. It can be forgotten, at least for a while, but it has this nasty habit of morphing into something really scary, like the monster under the bed that slipped in when you made a quick trip to the bathroom.
I’m afraid of the computer folder the manuscript file is in, like kids are afraid of the house where the crazy neighbor lives. It’s part of a mental map though, and I always know when I’m nearby. In fact, I’m never more than a few mouse clicks away.
A big writing project gets built up in the mind beyond all reason. Writing a novel takes me over, demands more than I think I have to give. But all I have to do is start reading from the beginning and I will fall in love all over again with my story and my characters, and with the sheer joy of being the one who can change it all, or change none of it. Add to that the pleasure of knowing I am finding a way to teach readers important things about far-off times and places. Given all that wonderfulness, t’s hard to remember why I ever stopped writing even for a day.
Just writing this diary entry is helping me get ready for the Fibber McGee closet that is my book. I’ll open the door and it will all come tumbling out on me–every last blessed bit of it, written and yet to be created.
“Welcome back!” it will say.
“I missed you,” I’ll reply.