Monday, April 5, 2010

Not Flying Through This Draft Just Now

I have been not writing for the last week, because I've been not having time to write, mostly. Today at lunch I worked on the chapter in which I'm in the middle, and it was one of those "What's this scene about? What's this chapter about? What's this book about?" sort of writing sessions that I abhor. I need to stop and read from the first page up to where I've left off, have a good look at my notes, and then start up again with the prose. It's exceedingly frustrating lately, because I'm running ragged and feeling disconnected with life itself; how am I supposed to concentrate on an entire fictional world at the same time? But! I did manage about 350 words and have a pretty clear idea of the rest of this chapter and I have come up with some good ideas to push through the narrative discourse of the entire story, so that's all fine.

More vexing, possibly, than the time question is the problem of finding a spot where I can physically write. I work on this book during lunch, and it's becoming harder in this neighborhood to find a restaurant that's not wall-to-wall crowded. Is that so much to ask? I'm not even asking for quiet; I just need a chair and a table large enough to both eat and work. Someday, maybe, it will warm up outside and I can sit on the lawn and write while I eat lunch. Someday. Maybe.


  1. I'm sorry you're writing is not going as well as you would like.

    If it's any consolation I've been shoveling a ton (literally) of dirt from one spot in the backyard to another, putting in fence posts, and trying not to kill my 5 year old daughter who's been on vacation since last Friday. I have not written one word in 10 whole days. I am having withdrawals.

    Luckily she goes back to school tomorrow.

  2. Anne: The book is still great, but the process is slow right now. Honestly, the restaurant situation is the worst of it. It's hard to find a 3-dimensional physical space in which to sit and write. I don't know why that's so hard suddenly.

    We dismantled an old wooden grape arbor and built a new one of copper pipe, braided steel cable and steel fittings in its place this weekend. Digging post holes and setting uprights in concrete was part of our fun, as was building a replacement clothesline pole that was only being held up by the arbor we tore down. What larks! During all of this work, the weather kept changing from sunbreaks to rain to cold and windy to hail. Hail! Now I have about 100 board feet of useless old pressure-treated lumber. Can I burn that in the fireplace, or is it toxic somehow?

  3. Sorry to say you absolutely CANNOT burn that wood in the fireplace. You may be able to burn it outside in a fire pit but not in an enclosed fireplace type grill. You need air to ventilate. It has all kinds of poison in the pressure treatment.

    Can't you find something else to build out of the wood? Recycle, reuse, renew. If I lived closer I'd take it off your hands for sure.

    And hey, that new arbor sounds fab! The patina on the copper will be outstanding in a few years time. Good for you. Take some pics if you get a chance. I'd love to see it.

  4. We have vague plans for some raised beds, so maybe I'll reuse the lumber there. When the light is better and the grapes have leafed out, I'll take photos.

  5. Wow. So much physical labor going around. While at my parents' last week, everyone was tilling up for their gardens. My dad's is about an acre. (Bless his heart.) My yard is successfully unplowed, unarbored, and unpost-holed.

    My writing on the other hand is under quarantine. I'm not sure medicine will do the trick. I'm going to have to operate.

    Sorry about your table situation. That's a bummer.

  6. Scott, I'll give you the advice that I often give Michelle. Move down here to Los Angeles with me. Plenty of sun. Granted, last night was not the best example. Hang in there, my friend.

  7. I say we all move to LA. Davin's never complaining about posts or grape arbors or dirt...I think he's living in a haven over there, down there, whatever it is situated to whom ever is reading this.

    Scott, I'm sorry to hear you're a bit stuck on the book. Sounds like a wall that I have no doubt you'll get over. Isn't it strange that even though you know the story and you've written it once, it's still a beast to get through again? I thought rewriting Monarch would be simple, but it was more difficult the second time around. I was more aware of what I wanted to do, I suppose, which possibly goes hand in hand with Davin's post today.

    As far as when the weather warms, I'm sure you'll find that all of those people taking all the tables inside will have moved outside at that point. Go figure.

  8. I moved AWAY from LA and I have much more writing time now!

    Rewrites are frustrating. When I get in those jams, I read what I've rewritten so far, and then step away for a good week to let those fresh images incubate. When I sit back down, it wouldn't matter if I were at the circus with a clown dancing next to me... NOTHING can dim the fresh vision.