Tunnel Vision: A Day In The Life

It has been over a month since my last post.  It is not as if I did not have anything to write about, or that I had forgotten about my blog.  If anything the opposite was true– I kept geting ideas but did not have the time or mental space to compose any new posts.

Why?

Because I was finishing my manuscript and found myself in a state of tunnel vision.

Sometime in January, I met up with my friend at 1369, one of our favorite meet-ups.  It has been a mild winter, but the cafe was cozy, small lamps glowing at each intimate table.  As usual, she arrived early, and I was a little late.

I made my way to the table in a flurry, peeled away my layers of jackets and sweaters, tucked my hat into my bag.  My pen was still clipped to my tank top– or maybe it was my bra strap.  My friend pointed, “Uh…I think you might have forgotten something.”

I shrugged.  “That’s kinda how I roll these days.”

Pen handy, half here and half in the world I was writing.  Most days I did not talk, I barely spoke to anyone.  My work became a vacuum which only sucked more violently as the story approached it’s conclusion.  I can be obsessive about my work, I know, but this was more than mere workaholism.  I found myself reliving the story that I was writing, a story that I actually experienced.  It was a difficult period in my life, but it allowed me to become the person I am today.

Henry Miller claimed, “The best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature.”  I suppose I found myself in a comparable situation, and writing the story, though sometimes painful, also provided me with some healing.  I finished the manuscript, finally able to forgive all the parties involved, including myself.

This book though, is by no means ‘DONE.’  It accumulated to a state of critical mass, and I reached a point where the words 90,000+ words lost all meaning.  ‘Done, For Now,’ I relinquished the manuscript to the hands of my trusted readers, who will give me feedback at the end of the month.

I promised myself to not read it, and a short period of separation anxiety soon gave way to a feeling of loss.  I kept asking myself, Now what do I do now?

I did not have the energy to start a new project.  In fact, picking up a pen, even to write in my journal, was daunting.  I slept in, I read.  I went to museums and art galleries and stayed up late to watch movies or play Super Nintendo for two weeks and yesterday finally had the energy to get back to writing.

My two week break was rejeuvenating, but it had also put my work in perspective.  That night at 1369, my friend asked, “So what is a typical day for you like anyway?”  Back then, I was working every day, never giving myself a break.  I would write until I hurt, or could not think anymore.  I resigned myself to bed displeased, always feeling like I failed.

I returned to work and there was necessary housekeeping that was neglected while I was finishing my project.  I cleaned my writing desk.  I started a Facebook page, and yes, a twitter account.  And here I am now, posting in my otherwise neglected blog.  I have also been organizing my other projects and snippets of stories that I have written on inspired whims but have yet to accumulate into new manuscripts– but soon will.

The challenge of writing my first book has been not knowing what to expect, and always expecting the impossible.  I am curious to see what new challenges will present themselves as I produce new work, but I am more excited to have the mental space to actually enjoy the ride.