The Missing Week (and a Half)

Every so often I come down with a raging case of writer’s block (1). It’s completely natural and to be expected, but each time it occurs I’m reminded I don’t have a real job and begin to think fondly on my past days as a worker bee (2).

I’ve started two manuscripts, usually what I like to juggle, but just can’t seem to muster the will to really get into them (3). I know distraction is part of it, my January 2007 debut novel still is title-less, but that should be resolved on Tuesday and my agent is still mulling over a few manuscripts, but I can’t help but think something deeper and more sinister is at work and is causing this not quiet bone crushing inertia (4).

Maybe I’m anxious about what this new phase in my ‘career’ will bring me? Maybe I have a fear of success? Maybe I just have writer’s block and will get over it in a day or week? Maybe I need to go window shopping, as my husband suggested (5)?

On the bright side, I’ve begun reading again after a prolonged dry spell. Fiction, especially good long format fiction, is still beyond me so I go to bed after casting a guilty eye on ‘The Kite Runner’, waiting on my nightstand, a book mark about a third of the way in. But I’ve finally started receiving my Atlantic and Harper’s and have started on a David Sedaris binge and am finding it all quite enjoyable.

Another plus that comes from writer’s block is I still have the need to express myself and since I’m not writing, I’m cooking (6). The only problem is I currently have to do my cooking on an electric stove. This really grosses me out. I hate that stove. A lot. I came from a six, SIX, burner Viking to a four burner (one which is lopsided) electric stove, which doesn’t so much as cook as it does burn things unevenly. In my opinion, people just aren’t meant to cook on electric stoves (7).

I’ve thought about nipping out to the movies, there are plenty I want to see, but find some excuse or another not to. As convoluted as my life is, I like to keep banking hours, at my desk by nine, shutting down around five or six, and pretend I have a modicum of professionalism about this whole endeavor (8).

I’m not worried about a prolonged bout of writer’s block and I know once things are resolved I’ll be able to buck down and get back to work (9). Until then I’ll have to suffer in relative silence and continue on with the whole charade. And, yes I know, there are worse things I could have to suffer through (10).

(1) In this case it’s a sub-category of what-I’m-supposed-to-be-writing writer’s block since I really had no problem writing this.
(2) There is something to be said about having a steady job. I remember waking with great anticipation as to how my skin would look, how my hair would dry after my shower, and of course, what’d I’d wear. Nowadays, none of this matters and my personal grooming has adjusted accordingly.
(3) These would be my fourth and fifth manuscripts. My second manuscript is due to my editor in April and its done but in need of a polish. In lieu of flying revising blind, I asked my sister (a very capable reader and writer) to take a look at it and to be completely honest with her comments. As incentive I’ve bribed her with homemade baked goods.
(4) At one point I actually imagined that my self-imposed uselessness was causing unnecessary drag on the earth rotation around the sun. How’s that for self-centeredness!
(5) Why hadn't I thought of this before! Of course, window shopping. The solution to my and many world issues. The man is brilliant. And generous, considering he knows I may do some actual shopping and I haven’t gotten my advance check so it would be coming out of his pocket.
(6) A recent dinner consisted of chicken with caramelized onion crepes in a raspberry sauce, spring green salad with a honey balsamic vinaigrette and banana and Nutella crepes for dessert.
(7) This is why I don’t get some of the Canadian design shows where they seem to prefer electric stoves, even when doing complete remodels. As good as the final product is, it’s always ruined for me when I spy those coiled burners, or even the fancy flat stove tops with the circles where the ‘heat’ emanates from.
(8) As such I’ve determined the romantic thriller/suspense manuscript I’m working on needs more research. Research that will have to be conducted in Italy and Switzerland with train trip through France.
(9) My sister promises she’ll have my manuscript back to me by the end of the month, which fits nicely into my plan to devote the four weeks of March to the polish.
(10) For instance, my self-imposed get super-fit scheme. I put my regular gym membership on hold and purchased a month long pass for Core Fusion classes. After the fourth class I had to admit it was working, my abs and back felt stronger and I was seeing results, but I was so BORED by the class and the technique I quickly abandoned it despite the sublime space and access to their heavenly locker area (which is where I want to go when I die). I’ve reactivated my gym membership and plan to be faithful for now on, while getting a little extra on the side to augment their wide array of classes.

(Originally published on margocandela.com, 02-06-06)

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