I think I’m settled in.
Moving was something, up until recently, that I always enjoyed. The opportunity to go through everything, downsize, economize, re-evaluate was not something to sniff at. Of course the last few times I moved it was more pack-the-boxes and have-someone-else-shlep them and then unpack them on my own terms. This time I was in the thick of it. I had shuttled over boxes upon boxes of books before the big move and then mountains more during the two days it took to actually move. Felt like they lasted forever.
And then the head cold set in.
But I managed through the tissues and the medicine, muddling through the unpacking. It was the first time in several moves where every decision ended up being mine alone. I even turned my mother’s offer of help away because I knew if I had someone else help put my stuff away I’d never know where it ended up. So while the move itself was Saturday and Sunday, Monday through today has all been unpacking.
Monday was tough. I made incremental progress on the kitchen; I could cook a meal, albeit a primitive one. Tuesday was worse. On the heels of a terrible night’s sleep and a head cold that had me sneezing and coughing and popping tylenols, I felt like all I was doing was moving boxes from one room to another. Whenever I looked up, nothing appeared to have changed. But surely I was making progress, right?
Last night I went to dreamtime chasing a glass of wine and two cold remedy pills. I slept. Seven hours straight. A miracle. Not that I was all that motivated this morning, but I had enough rest to be able to say, “Take it easy. Putter. Don’t worry about it. This will take weeks, just do a little here and there.”
So I did.
After a while, I’m looking around me and there are spots in the apartment that are done! Still more things got done, homey things like a hanging basket for my onions and garlic, watering my plant, slapping magnets on the fridge. Everything started to come together, finishing by themselves. Even though I ended up removing the old stove hood and maneuvering the fridge into a near-impossible space, most of today’s work were the little things. Little things that all added up into a home.
‘Cause that’s what it feels like now. A home. There was a point yesterday when I was feeling very low, when I thought the five days off weren’t going to be enough and that I would be living in boxes for months to come. But almost on it’s own it came together and I am sitting in my new apartment, a place I could would feel okay bringing someone into even with the few odd bits left to be done.
It strikes me that novel writing is damn well near the same thing.
It’s a huge task. Daunting. Terrifying. But it must be done. This undertaking cannot be avoided. So you begin with all the best intentions, trying to keep the boxes in order, trying to put things where they belong. Then it becomes this huge, impossible tangle. You throw everything into the room and hope and pray that maybe it’s in the right room. Cross your fingers, dig in. Suddenly it’s a slog and it feels like even though you’re moving, you’re not accomplishing anything. It is never-ending. You want to just crawl into bed and forget the whole mess is even there. But you can’t. You can’t live with boxes. So you keep shuffling, keep ploughing through.
Suddenly, there it is. You can see the whole picture. It looks like a thing with purpose, with unity. There is a point to all of this, and you are so close to the end that it almost does it on it’s own, using you as the vehicle. You work with a new lightness, a new surety. When you stop at last, lift your head, you see that it’s done.
It’s done. And you almost can’t believe it.
Not that the apartment/novel is perfect. Far from it. Lots of fiddly bits left, but not so that the piece is unlivable/unreadable. There are enough bones and flesh here to simulate, support life. But the same with a novel. Getting that draft done feels the same. Sure, there are things to tweak, to rearrange, but the whole of it is there.
So, yeah, there’s still work to be done. But you don’t mind so much.
In fact, it may even be fun.
Good night. This will be the first entry in a new, refreshed, reinvigorated blog. I want to be here more often, and bring with me good news.
I will be continuing work on my third novel and I will begin revising my second novel, which is currently going through chapter-by-chapter edits with the writing group. And a few small pieces are knocking around upstairs that I want to get down onto paper.
Yeah. This is gonna be good.