T-Minus 4 Weeks …

It has been quiet around these parts because life has not been the steady predictable thing I had expected to be. (Waits for your roars of laughter to die down, then continues.)

I had expected to be able to spend September rather leisurely editing my novel and packing for the big move. Instead, I picked up another contract that will see me through right up until my move date. The job is in a different division of the same company, and instead of sitting at a computer all day I now work at the warehouse — which has been great fun. I’m on my feet, I’m moving around. I feel like I’m back in a restaurant but don’t come home smelling of food. Plus, there’s something deeply satisfying about organizing things.

But the leisurely part of my plan has been blown straight out of the water. I’m just managing to keep on the slush reading — just — by sticking to a new weeknight reading schedule. I have only barely dipped my toes into the CODEX community, and hope that post-move I can better integrate into that community. I’ve also been on a mini-editing binge — getting stories that I’ve sat on too long out the door and polishing a few others, some old, some new from the summer, to get them out the door. I have four stories making the round, four! That’s a record for me. If I can find some sort of rhythm to my work schedule, I can double that.

On the novel front, I’ve gotten the feedback on STAR DOOR from both my in-person writing group and from VP classmates that lent their eyeballs. I have compiled them into a massive grid and looked for commonalities. Things my gut told me I needed to strengthen were things that the majority of the beta readers pointed out, but the rest of the feedback has been rather contradictory. I’ve (arbitrarily?) decided to fix the three big things and then send it out. Trying to nail down that work to a timeline right now is dicey, but needs to be done. I still really believe in this novel. I’m proud of it. It’s sure as hell not perfect, but I think there is something there worth working on, worth sharing.

And then there is the new novel, which now has my two main protagonists, my antagonist, motives and goals, and the overall structure of beginning, middle and end. It itches most pleasantly in my mind and I’ve created a playlist of music to start listening and dreaming to during work. BLOOD is waiting (still) for a second pass. I’ve sent out the first act to a few people, an alpha read to be sure. No feedback yet on that, but those same eyeballs just finished STAR DOOR, so I can’t be surprised.

But with four weeks left I find I am more and more often paralyzed by all the things I want to do, and need to do. The physical reality of paring down and packing up my life is intimidating. It’s not that I will miss all this stuff — I live lean, have lived much leaner, and enjoyed it. Have less stuff to think about makes focusing on what you really want that much easier. My leanest days, however, were based on me taking a few things and leaving the rest to come back to. There will be nothing to come back to after I am done and that … that’s a little scary, but good. Necessary.

And it feels, weirdly, like I’ve already moved, but that I’m displaced, out of sync. The new film isn’t set into the teeth of the projector’s wheel, and the old film keeps replaying the last frames over and over. I know that too soon the old film will finally snap and the screen will go bright and blank just before the new one finally catches and starts to play. Or the buffer window finally catches up and the next video plays. Your metaphor may vary. *grin*

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