And now I am sitting here listening to the printer whirr and spit out one agonizing page at a time, at a prehistoric rate. The thing is a behemoth, and at this rate my manuscript will not be printed until sometimes next year. And I don’t have that long because I haven’t showered in… a while, I’m not sure whether I have eaten and the dogs have been barking for about fifteen minutes on the downstairs balcony while I ignore them, to write this…Let me be clear that when I say I’ve finished my book, I mean I’ve finished the Third Re-Write of said manuscript, which combines the first time I “finished” the book, when I believed it needed to be told as fiction in the Third Person with the tenses all fucked up, and the second time I “finished” the book, when I turned it into First Person, fixed the tenses, and then disregarded most of what I’d written in the First Draft. This Version has a different focus, and includes both of the other Drafts, as well as some stuff from some of the one person shows I’ve done. Obviously I also had to edit out a lot of stuff, which feels roughly as comfortable as donating your stem cells to science.
Who says writing is organic? Yes it is, but not really. The editing is a fucking slog, and almost impossible to undertake with children waving their arms at you in the background, trying in vain to get your attention. Damn those children, what the fuck do they want now? as for the dogs, let them bark for now, as I need to write this, whether or not I feel that anyone needs to read it.
I hate how you have to live life to write about it. It’s so inconvenient. I wish I could go about my days in a hermetically sealed pod, never bothered or concerned by anything in the outside world, simply living the Life Of The Mind. Living in Los Angeles is probably as close as I will get to that idyll.
I am vaguely aware that there is some kind of political event going on in this country? I walked by someone’s window while walking the dog last night and noticed a couple of dudes that looked very familiar (I once had a sticker featuring one of them that said “Hope”) and they were engaged in some kind of debate? Anyway their suits fit terrifically well, and they seemed very earnest about something, but I was too busy scooping up my dog’s crap at that point, so I lost focus.
Yesterday I was driving with the kids and there was NOT ONE MELTDOWN on the way home after I picked them up. And I had managed to stop writing in time to cook chicken soup from scratch and I knew that when they got home I could feed them and the sun peaked through the clouds, not setting yet, but giving a sneak preview of it, like a coy burlesque dancer. We saw what looked like a meteor streaking through the sky, but may have been military maneuvers as we live pretty close to an air force base.
Suddenly David looked up and said: “Wow, look mommy, it’s like paradise up there…” And for a moment I felt that it was paradise down here too, until we got home and after the soup, one of my sons punched the other in the chest for some perceived injustice and my equilibrium went to shit. But I still remembered that moment…
So keep plugging along, because there is room for all of our artistic endeavors, and tell your crippling doubts, fears and insecurities to go fuck themselves (I know I have to, to write even one word.) Don’t compare yourself to others, how prolific they are, or how successful, how deserving or how undeserving, because it will not serve our art. You never know when grace will descend on you as a writer, as an artist, or as a human being.I pray we are ready for it.