Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3rd

Oh boy. This whole, having finished my story thing, it's a whole new world of pain. Of pride, yes. But holy crap. I never thought, not really, that I would be seriously thinking of submitting a story until I was in my mid forties or fifties- another words, a person so distant from the current me that the projected me was a complete stranger, a complete transformation.

She, this future me, would be blissfully confident and serene and wise and gifted. She would be a good driver, too, by the way, and might even clip coupons. But most of all, she would be a professional in her writing. She would have professional contacts and know her way around the publishing business, or at least her tiny corner of it.

But it turns out that I didn't wait around to become that person. That or I'm in the painful process of becoming some version of her- the non coupon clipping version, no doubt. And I'll never be a good driver. I'm resigned to that now; age will only make that worse.

I forgot about the becoming part.

Furthermore, Keith is investing money into my writing. He believes in me. That is so breathtakingly terrifying. We are going to buy Microsoft Word, so I won't write anymore on the funky Microsoft Works Word Processor, which produces documents that no one else can open and if they do, it's with weird punctuation. And we are getting a new copier and lots of paper.

Some publishers accept electronic submissions and some do not, so I expect to go through a fair amount of ink and paper while copying out three hundred pages however many times, since I will be sending it out to multiple people. Mostly agents, I think.

I am just going to try and take it one day at a time. I know it may sound strange, but yesterday, the entire day was almost swallowed by anxiety. It took up weight in my head; it was like I was twenty pounds heavier than I normally am. But a thing I have learned in life is that often, the greater the resistance to an action or an idea, the greater the benefit of pushing through to achieve it.

I don't know if this is a spiritual thing or a metaphysical thing or what, but it just seems to be true. The thing I want the least to do, the thing I think I cannot do, is fairly often the thing that serves me best in doing.

But I want to be careful in saying that, because I don't mean suffering for suffering's sake is good. I don't believe in that, not for a minute. But pushing through suffering, whether it comes from anxiety or depression or grief, or what have you, in pursuit of freedom or greater perspective or some other higher goal, that seems to be always worth doing.

Anyway, my prior life experience tells me that I should just push through and once through this, I'm going to reach some place I will like to be. I just anticipate it taking so long. Months of waiting to hear back from people. Lots of rejection, and then trying to find the courage to send it out again.

And then maybe it does get published, and drops like a stone without a ripple. A failed first book. No one will take a chance on my second one. Or else I'll get awful reviews: "Insipid and poorly thought out." "Tired ideas." "Weak plot lines and characters no one can relate to."

And so on and so forth. I hate living in my own head sometimes. I wish I could take a break and live in someone else's for a little while, a nice little summer vacation.

Anyway, putting the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy firmly aside, I am very proud of my story. I have been rereading it, preparatory to sending it out to be edited, and it amazes me. I see all the layers and layers of work that I put into it. I see what I first wrote, just a slender thread, and I see how I fattened it up and untangled and unwound it, and unwound it, and unwound it, until it stretched out and came round full circle.

And I wonder. Where does it come from, a story? I didn't know where I was going, when I started. But not only was I going in an interesting direction, but it's all tightly woven, with repeating themes, like the sense of home and our sense of time and how we make peace with our past. And then it came around full circle, and ended up where it began, but with a sense of fulfillment, self awareness and peace.

I did not sit down and think, that's what I'm going to write. All I thought was, I like these characters and I want to spend time with them. That's it- that's all I was thinking.

It's like the creative endeavor links us closely to the invisible mystery at the heart of life. It pulls into being the truth that was hidden inside, that we didn't know we carried. That is the most awesome part of writing, in the old fashioned sense of the word.

And then, my friends, I think about the story I'm writing now. If Torii expands and takes on weight and theme in the same way that the Ceallach story did, then that story is going to be breathtaking. But I can't think about that too much, because if I do, the weight of my expectation will crush my ability to work on it.