Roadblocks

by  Christian A. Brown  |  January 31, 2016  |     No Comments

My plans to dive headfirst back into the latest manuscript didn’t go according to my desires. As a writer—as someone who makes (fictional) reality—I think I possess a natural tendency towards control, and likewise, a fear of losing it. When we chatted last Sunday, I was raring to go on Feast of Mercy. Then, Monday, I had to get my manuscript package ready for my new editor, and as a result I got less work done on Mercy than I would’ve liked. No worries, I thought, tomorrow is another day. Unfortunately, Monday night, our shower valve decided it was going to spontaneously leak. Perhaps ‘spontaneously’ isn’t the right word, as we’ve known since the valve was installed over two years ago that it was wonky: overly tight and probably put on incorrectly, and yet, we kept pushing the necessity of having it looked at to the back of our minds—PROCRASTINATION IS BAD AND LEADS TO LEAKS.

By morning, our shower had fully shit-the-bed/ pissed-the-floor/ whatever your choice of expletive, and water had been dribbling from the leaky valve, as well as from the turny-thing under the valve (I’m not a plumber, dammit, I don’t know the word), and onto our floors. Obviously, day 2 of my “Amazing Manuscript Revitalization Plan” was in the crapper. Day 3 wasn’t much better, though on day 4 and 5 I made a few strides/ pages into the material. (In case any writerly folk were wondering, anytime I’ve been away from a manuscript for a week or two, I’ll reread and redraft everything that I’ve written up to the point where I left off—I find this very helpful in ensuring continuity and that there are no loose plot-threads). On Friday, it was the anniversary of my mother’s passing: a looming shadow that cast its pall over my mood and thoughts. All in all, out of five work days, I had maybe three that were serviceable when accompanied by the music of men tearing open walls, or a feeling of loss, or a general sense of disorganization and a lack of focus.

However, life is entirely what we make of it, and rather than stew all week, I took myself to task for all of the other duties of work and home that I’d been putting off. I finally got to those darned emails from a month or more ago. I did laundry–lots and lots of laundry. I made lunch and dinner for the household every night of the week. I took stock of our home and found a few more things for the handyman to fix while he was here—stuff that I likely would’ve ignored until something else in the house broke down. I worked on some lighter pieces that you’ll see in some pretty cool publications (soonish). I did everything I could that didn’t require the state of absolute absorption that Geadhain does. And you know what? It wasn’t terrible, in retrospect. I’m looking back over my week and I’m grateful that I had this chance to refocus, to take care of odds-and-ends, before I descend into the all-consuming abyss of my work. Once I’m in there, I don’t come out until I find the treasure (ideally, and not coal) buried deep, deep down.

In a way, I’m glad that my household had a break from the frantic, neurotic person I become when immersed in a manuscript—he’s not always the nicest person. I’m also glad that I was forced to deal with the niggling problems that I’d been wishing would disappear—they never do. Furthermore, I’ve had the time to form some great new habits that I’d started in the new year, stuff that I would’ve dropped or let slide once I continued with Mercy: Paleo eating and meal-prep (oh my God I have an eight-pack again—more on that later), devoting time to other writing-tasks, organizing a mailing list. Losing control didn’t make me lose as much—time, progress—as I was afraid of losing.

It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks. But you have to take away his toys first.

All my love,

—C

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