My Dirt Ring
May 27, 2010 § 19 Comments
Something different happened the other night. I sat down next to my husband on the couch. A hard copy of manuscript revisions was in one hand and the laptop rested on a pillow over my crossed legs. This scene isn’t that different. It happens rather frequently and is often what we consider our “quality time.” Hey, our knees touch. That has to count for something, right? The something different was that I started to nod off. I literally could not keep my eyes open. I’d made a pot of coffee at four that afternoon and drank every bit of it. I went for my typical evening run with the children in the jog stroller for that extra boost of energy. I sat down with all these grand plans to edit, write, and read over my queries, but fifteen minutes into all this, I started to fall asleep. My body couldn’t take it. Stubborn as I am, I refused to concede. I got in a less comfortable position and tried to keep at it. Still my head dipped every now and then.
My husband looked at me funny. He does that a lot. “Maybe you should go to sleep.”
“No, I want to get this done.” This had never happened before and I couldn’t stand it. My fatigue probably added to my stubbornness. Then I asked myself why? Why did I want to get this finished so badly?
I don’t realize how hard I play with my children until I’ve drained all the water from their bathtub every night and look at the ring of dirt that lingers with the small patches of soapsuds. We are fierce in our play.
At the end of the day, I look forward to writing. There are certain thoughts or phrases that have built up in my mind all day and I feel like I’ll explode if I don’t get them out.
I don’t know much about writing. I’m still figuring it out as I go. There are others more talented and articulate than I who give great writing advice on their blogs. I’ll leave that to them, but I’ll say this about my writing at the end of the day. When I don’t get it out, I feel like my entire body will burst.
The short story. Mine are never over 2k words. I write five pages, print out, edit, revise, consider critique, and repeat. I do this until I can hold a hard copy in my hands and say, “Look at this. I created it. This is something I’d want to read and it’s polished enough to send out.”
I haven’t done this with anything novel length and ache, ACHE to get there. To hold 81k words in my hands and say, “Look at this. I created it. This is something I’d want to read and it’s polished enough to send out.”
The manuscript I’ve finished is not even close. The new one I started leaves me emotionally drained, sobbing even. It is so difficult, dark, and sexy. I sit down to write and am terrified, but if I don’t? All the leftover drudge and dirt found in the bathtub is still in my head. All the things I’ve accumulated are still stuck in there.
There are times I think I started blogging/tweeting too soon. The relationships I’ve made are precious and irreplaceable. I’ve received opportunities I would not otherwise have, but it’s distracting. Not in the sense that I want to be on twitter or read blogs more than I want to write. I do love reading what other writers have to say and find their advice invaluable. It’s a great community and I love how everyone encourages one another, but I also see everyone else’s success and ache for it that much more. I’m not stupid and know this isn’t why I should write, but it is an honest emotion just the same.
This blog is somewhat a release for the dirt ring, and I’m always thankful when people read and comment. I’m rarely serious, but when I have been, it’s meant the world when people respond. It feels great when strangers respond, but even more so when people I know and love say validating things. My husband never reads my writing, or so I thought. The other day he said something that HAD to have come from one of my blog posts.
Me: You read my blog, didn’t you? You read it. What did you think? Did you like it? Did it make you laugh? What did you read? Did you read all of it? Did any of it bother you? Did you hate it? YOU READ MY BLOG. I’m so excited. What did you think?
Me: This is why you never admit to reading my blog, isn’t it.
Him: (huge smile)
I stopped asking questions after that. It meant everything to know he’d read it (If you’re reading now, thanks. How does chicken spaghetti sound for dinner?). It reminded me why I’m on twitter and why I forget to blog. I should consider it my lifeline while I’m out here treading water in the writing/publishing world.
I’m going to keep going, keep rinsing out my dirt ring. And if you’re reading, thank you. Would you like to come over for chicken spaghetti?