Da Boyz (Clancy and Moe, cats) are chirping and racing up and down the hall. The writer sits staring out a window at a sky that, disappointingly, promises to clear. The writer took to bed and slept for 12 hours. The writer has not brushed her hair; she is wearing the clothes she slept in.

Meet Lynn in half-on invalid mode.

The problem with the scene-in-progress is massive. The burden that it has loaded onto the writer’s shoulders is about the weight of a house. Or a planet. Or a universe—which is fair enough, given that the universe is what the chapter is about.

I am full-out suffering over it. Was bound to happen. That’s what I do. The lover-on-the-page is not giving me what I need, what I’ve asked for. And I can’t—won’t—send him packing.

I set the problem aside, on a pedestal, stare at it and fret. I’ve tried reworking it (a process that won’t stop), I’ve tried making mental note of the parts that are working well, the ones that carry the viable kernels of the section. And now I’m going to set it aside for the day. I’m going to let it float around me like an anxious ghost, but I’m not going to engage it. I will keep the mental door unlocked, but the lover will have to come to me.

Instead, I will indulge in an unexpected opportunity. Glorious K is having a get-together in SGF, 130 miles away…a gathering of my dear K and wonderful new friends…few-enough people that meaningful conversation will be possible. I’ll let the miles spin out under my car. I’ll think without thinking. I’ll get to help cook (the place at gatherings where you’ll always find me.) And I’ll let Change do its best to shake me out of the brain-stall.

As far as change is concerned, this is chump change to be sure, as wonderful an evening as it will be. It is not change at the level of the psychic paper shredder trash bin of starting the chapter over. But I’m hoping that even a little bit of distance from the work will let the story miss me just a little. We’ll see.

For now, I’m just waiting. Jingling the chump change in my mental pocket. Hoping for the absence that makes the head grow fonder.

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