Yesterday, I took a sick day. A day away from everything, including this space, to have a little medical-thingy seen to. Wasn’t pleasant, but wasn’t horrible-horrible, either. Gave me a perfect reason for perfect self-indulgence. And naps. And ice packs. And words.

I’ve been sitting with the current chapter for what seems to have been a long, long time. Trying to find the distance from it to make sure that this critical section–a setup for a very important revelation to come—does what it must do, does it in a way that is at once complex and clear, does it in a way that leaves the reader uncertain and curious about what is actually happening…and leaves the door open to the otherworldly experience (in itself a precursor of something to come) that concludes the chapter.

Finding closeness in distance. That’s an irony inescapable for writers, I think.

Niceness would be finding that every issue, every hiccup, every yawn,, every not-so-much in the writing would become apparent at every sitdown. It ain’t so. That clear-eyed self-evaluation is often hard-won…and often, when it comes, it doesn’t last long.

Untangling pages of assembled thoughts is an exercise akin to combing a thick head of hair—one single hair at a time. The one you’ve just worked on looks nice. And maybe, too, the one before it. The rest, the other several thousand of them…not so much. Not yet.

The trick is not to let the hair become a hair-shirt, a scratchy and uncomfortable thing that won’t ever fit and won’t ever look good and won’t ever please anybody. The trick is not to wear yourself out trying to wear it to best effect.

The trick is, probably, to walk away from the damned thing for a few days. But that, unfortunately, is not a trick I’ve mastered.

For now, I’m stylin’ that hair-shirt. I’m stylin’ the boogers out of it. And I’m doing my damnedest to make it look as good as I can.

NEWS UPDATE…AND A PREVIEW: A couple new posts coming up–a delightful little personal award for Skydiaries from bloggist Laura Stanfill…and a staggeringly wonderful reaction to The Spiritkeeper from Aussie writer Jo Bryant. Stay tuned!