Friday, August 24, 2012

PERMAFROST


The day starts out late, around 8:00 AM. 
Coffee, the newspapers, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, checking emails, Facebook, Twitter, looking for something to get excited about. I’ve been working pretty good on my novel this week and last night around 10:30 I’m exhausted, my eyelids closing while I’m reading ‘Hong Kong’ by Stephen Coonts (it’s my first ‘Jake Grafton’ novel that I’ve read by thrill-master Coonts and it’s pretty good) and I’m re-thinking the scene I’m working on in the novel---I think I have the way to end it. Got it, I’m thinking, then considering whether to open up the computer again (it’s getting late and I’m already tired) but no, leave it for today and end it up when I’m fresh.
But I’m not fresh. Coffee and the newspapers and computer and emails and web-surfing only put me in that never-land; mid-day blues thinking it’s either nap time, go-out-to-lunch-time, get-out-of-the-house-at-all-costs-time, hit email refresh over and over until someone checks in or something is on sale (Sears, Jeep Parts, Expedia sale on rooms in Laughlin, NV., Cabela’s camouflage hunting gear) that I need or don’t need, go to the library-bookstore-carwash, do something productive on this Friday afternoon.
Writing is tough.
I get my thousand word allotment, sometimes 900, sometimes 1100, then edit, revise, streamline, punch up the verbs, cut out the fluff, and I’m feeling good about the story but it’s tiring and taxing and today I need a break. But the break doesn’t reveal itself very easily. I have no coffee house where I hang out. There’s a bagel shop, Norm’s, The NY Delite deli, Wolfe’s Market for a good sandwich, drive the Jeep around and listen to sports talk radio. Read. Sit in the sun, find a park and take my little notebook bag and mechanical pencils and write, sit here at the computer and punch keys and act like I have something to say . . .
But today, I don’t. I’m spent, drained, tired, happy, alone, wired-in, online, waiting for baseball, for Chinese food for dinner, an excuse to go out to Palm Springs or Laughlin or Joshua Tree or Big Bear Lake or Hollywood or Los Feliz or Skylite Books or Book Soup or go to a reading or a book fair or a department store and buy shirts, jeans, shoes, sandals, get a battery for my Omega, go to the wildlife refuge and talk to the hawks, the porcupine, the owls, to the raccoon and see the stuffed bobcat and mountain lion crouched and still up high above the glassed exhibits in the visitors center. They never bother me there.   
Nothing today.
I don’t have it, I know it.
It’s not too bad, it’s not the end of my literary career, it’s not the meaning of life. It means no failure, it means no success, it means nothing at all.
August 23 and I’ve gotten 4000 words this week. Pretty good words. Pretty good tension, a turning point, a decision to be made, choices to consider, sides to choose, re-alignment to be struck, a line in the sand has been drawn. It’s a good place to be. A major story point, and I’ve gotten it there. Delivered the reader and the characters to an apex, a climactic  moment, lives on the line, raw and exposed and desperate and hopeful.
Tonight I’ll hear coyotes and hawks and maybe a squirrel munching on my steer skull they’ve almost totally eviscerated. Maybe the howl of a train or the wail of a siren or the cheers of a crowd after a home run. 
Plan a trip to the Grand Canyon.

1 comment:

Timecheck said...

I've realized for a long time that planned activity drives out unplanned activity, and that creative thought takes place during the unplanned time. You've expressed the danger and lure of ritual, of routine, very well.