I have been meaning to post for weeks now, and thought I had posted more than just my favorite books of 2015 post back at the beginning of the year.
So as we near the end of the first quarter, where am I at? What have I been up to?
Well, first thing — I finished the draft of a new novel. A novel I really like, one that’s in a contemporary setting with a dash of speculative and a full side of snark. It’s chilling out for a couple months so I can come to it with fresh eyes before I start hunting for betas. Immediately following the completion of the draft came the expected post-novel exhaustion and general out-of-sorts-ness. At least I know to expect it now.
After, I dived into an old novel that I had rewritten and set aside several years ago. In reading, I figured out why I left it in the drawer so long; it’s non-sensical. Utterly. Back when I wrote it, I was rewriting a prior, failed version of the same story and at the time I was sure I was improving it. Taking my medicine, I read the whole thing, took notes and could really see why it failed. Sobering, yes, but useful, and a lesson I plan to put towards the next novel.
If I thought I was tired after finishing the draft, I was bone-tired after reading through the trunk novel and had some thinking to do. Struggled with deciding what to do next, what to focus on – what ideas, what forms, what style. Too many choices, not enough time to do them all. Paralysis. Squeeze a trip to the home province on the same weekend that Daylight Savings lurches forward, and I’m just about to Sleeping Beauty all over this place.
So, a bit drained, a but uncertain on how to proceed, and humble, knowing how much farther I still have to go. But I have come to a place where I can safely have a chat with myself and maybe, this time, have it stick. These aren’t angry voices. Picture them as two old friends who don’t have to bullshit each other, sitting on a dock with a beer in hand watching the sun go down.
“So, about those dreams.”
“You wanna make fun of ’em? Got enough people already that do that for me.”
“Nah, man. That wouldn’t be cool. I do, however, want you to think about ’em.”
“That’s all I ever do.”
We sip our beers a moment as a loon cuts a white line across black waters and cries out to its mate somewhere in the growing dark.
“Thinking isn’t doing, but you know that already. What I mean is, you can’t make all of them happen right now. You can’t do all the things, as the kids say. You have to choose.”
“You think I don’t know that?”
“Think you’ve been afraid. Think you’re worried about closing a door too early, and regretting it later, but if you don’t pick a door you never leave the room.”
We say nothing a while. I watch the loon.
“Besides, doors close but they don’t lock. So, what it is you reach for? What’s your comfort? What’s your joy?”
I think, but not for long, and finally smile. “That’s easy.”
“Say it, then.”
A cry answers from across the water. The loon rises up, seeking its mate.
“Yeah,” I say, finally easing into the Muskoka chair. “Novels.”