This was the first “official” weekend of working on the new book, a strange place to be.

Technically, the work began during the past week, when the story sent me to the tape recorder during the dark, quiet hours. Technically-technically, it began much further back, with the original notes and ideas that I set aside to take up with The Spiritkeeper. But these were the first couple of uninterrupted days in which I sat my butt down in the writing chair and told myself “This is what we’re working on, now. Get used to it.”

Started this morning with a three-mile walk–a contemplative pace, rather than the hell-bent-for-breathlessness of Saturday’s run-walk. The sky was fat and grey, the air was cool, the breeze was brisk. And the inner landscape,that was utterly strange.

You think I’d be used to this by now. It wasn’t all that long ago that S’keeper was presenting me with exactly the same feelings. But no. This is the seat between the rock and the hard place. The mornings are full of promise, the evenings empty and full of tremulous uncertainty. I do not find myself worn out at sunset by the fulfilling immensity of the day’s accomplishments. I have a sense of restless incompleteness when the sun goes down. There is no collection of words on the page to pat me on the back and congratulate me for a solid day’s worth of getting stuff down on electronic paper. I am here and not here.

The challenges are hugest at this stage, the thinking-about stage. When the actual writing commences, the tasks become more manageable, more finite; clearer and more parcel-able. Right now, they’re not even identifiable, really. One looks at the wide-open inner spaces where the story is hiding, and isn’t sure quite where to focus. The muscling of a character out of the void is rather like trying to move a mountain that you haven’t yet been able to find.

One waits for a voice of an idea to speak. But ideas speak when they’re ready, not when you are. I am already beginning to know the main character. I have inklings of the rest of them. A bigger structure begins to present itself, and a greater meaning. But it isn’t all there. I don’t even know my main character’s name yet…and there are few things worse than having to call him “X”.

I know this doesn’t all need to get finished in one weekend. The writing won’t start in earnest until I have at least one notebook filled; until the piece stamps its feet and absolutely refuses to be left alone any longer.

That will happen. Its time will come. But, damn, right now….

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