We stepped outside the greenhouse and the lights went cold. He reached out; his palm froze against Saturn’s gelatinous ring and pulled away from his wrist like wet paper. I felt the romance leak out of our suicide as I saw the black hole. I punched him in the face.
So I just had an epiphany.
I was writing an email to a friend, I like to let her know what I’m working on even though sometimes I feel quite intrusive because she’s made of awesome and does all the awesome things (more on confidence and conversations with other creatives later). I wrote sometimes I get discouraged or find things hard because a project feels too big for me to handle. And then I thought about that.
Havoc’s Moon, my work in progress, feels too big for me to handle.
In a way, that’s kinda cool. I feel like I just got a positive diagnosis or something because I’ve identified something I can work with.
I’m not going to shorten my book. One of the things that made writing Past Life, my sci-fi novella, fun was its smallness. So I just need to figure out how to translate that into a longer thing.
I’ve got way more characters in The Slaughter Chronicles and many plot lines. Whenever I think about my story I feel like I’m looking at a huge world map, my scope is so wide I can’t see any of the topography clearly.
So now I’m going to work on zooming in.
Writing as a person who has a “day job.” I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m not a business person. I can’t afford to just write and make money off of my writing. I have zero expectations that writing will make me financially stable. But writing isn’t a hobby for me, writing keeps me alive. Writing gives me the strength to go outside my apartment and exist as a human being in a society filled with other human beings. Sometimes being human is scary.
But I’ve found, more harshly than previous bouts of writer’s block, in the last few months I haven’t been able to write. I haven’t found myself capable of putting the ideas forming in my brain onto the page. I have several works in progress and several ideas for how to make them awesome but when I turn on my iPad to write I can’t make the words happen.
So what do I do?
Now I only write numbers.
05 line the 26 day line 2018
My initials are not letters but curves in the road, a roundabout, a punctuated swirl.
I never write my initials the same way twice
But the lab techs and quality know every time it’s me because they
I don’t know what they write I do know
I don’t write words anymore, only numbers
10 line 04 line 2017 JH
And so on
And so on
With ballpoint pen
I used to hate writing with ballpoints but you can get used to anything if you do it long enough curls in the road like a ribbon, a strand of hair, a stray thought that begins where you are and takes you where you want to be with who you want to be with but if you lose focus you have to error correct and then there are more numbers and more lines
The physical physicality of writing
For some reason we were talking about directions first thing in the morning, literal directions and written instructions.
Me: wow thanks for making sure the left and right side of my brain are working.
Mr. J.: Yes because that’s how you know to take a left instead of two rights.
Me: Two rights EQUAL a left so fuck off!
Mr. J.: No they don’t…(dramatic pause)…It’s three rights make a left.
Me: fuck off
Mr. J: wow you really learned a lot from those gen ed classes in college
Me: Can I ask you a question?
Mr. J: …Yeah…
Me: Do you like my writing?
Mr. J: Sure.
Me: You sure?
Mr. J: Yeah.
Me: You promise.
Mr. J: I’m a little confused by your formatting.
Me: (here we go) Explain.
Mr. J: You know when you have really long lines. And then a short line. And then another short line. And then a really long line?
Mr. J: (laughs)
Me: (zero composure) You mean my paragraphs?
Mr. J: No (defensive)…unless that’s what they are…
Me: (falls over)