I’m trying to find a way back into the work. This must be what happens when you stop to complete another project midway though the one you’re supposed to be working on. I had a similar thing happen to me once when I wrote a novel about going to California. Now I’ve been to California, and that novel still sits incomplete in a box somewhere in my apartment.
It might have something to do with headspace. The current project that I’m circling like someone who’s just downed a deadly animal; looking for signs to see if it’s safe to go in and skin it, was written in a mental headspace that is anything but happy. Sometimes it’s hard to dive back into something so personal and so miserable, when all you want to do is try and be happy and pay your bills on time. Still, I can’t just leave the whole thing incomplete, the work on it needs to be done and it needs to be published, because I have this crushing need to get things, and the idea of shoving a 70 page manuscript into a box and leaving it to rot sounds about as appealing as throwing myself off a bridge.
It doesn’t help that I’m wrestling with that glow and lethargy that comes in the aftermath of finishing something else. When I published, “Poet in the Moment,” I told myself that I would take a bit of a break and work on getting it out into the world, a task that isn’t exactly as heavy duty as sitting down and combing through a large piece of work. However, after the initial week of attempting to do that, I can’t sit down at my desk without seeing the accusing eyes of the manuscript I should be working on staring me down.
It should be as simple as prying off the cover page and getting to it, but it’s proving to be beyond hard to get back into the swing of the work. To finish something, I need to live inside of it, I need to know every angle of it, every word, every feeling, so that I can write about feelings and emotions with complete accuracy. That’s the way that writing is for me. I can’t do it objectively, I need to be right in the fucking mire of it, slaving it out with a past version of myself that opened up and bled on the page.
The process is painful. I end up smoking too much and thinking about how I should be working on something that I can’t muster up the sanity and the courage to work on. Every calming song becomes something you’d repeat over and over in a torture chamber, and your whole world becomes a jittery feeling of, “you’re fucking this all up.” I could just sit down and write on it, or write something else, but that’s not going to work; that’s not going to let me sleep at night. This fucker needs to get taken down, and if that involves becoming a miserable wreck while I find a way into the prose, then that’s what needs to happen.
There, I feel better now.