157 pages into the rewrite…and how did it get to be Thursday again? How did it get to be March? Where did those tiny tree leaves come from; where did the daffodils go?
The sameness of days isn’t a sameness at all, although it seems to be when I find myself asked “How are things going?” The routines are there: the made bed, the cats fed, the exercise, the coffee, the day’s post. New birds are at the feeder; more of them. Eagles are nest-building nearby. The wind is fierce. The sky changes.
My life. Except.
Morning to late afternoon, my world is in the pages. In the subtle smoke of words. Of emotions created, intimate and real. Of another world altogether. Come evening, I enter a kind of stasis…a life suspended, waiting for the night that will bring the morning that will bring the writing back.
And that’s okay.
Heaven, as the David Byrne lyric goes, is the place where nothing ever happens. When the day disappears, I am where the work is. When I’m writing, I’m doing, not doubting. The mosquito-buzz annoyance of the real life is not humming in my ear. When the true day is gone is when I am most present and alive.
Any wonder, then, why the finishing of a book is such an emotional loss? Like a departed soul, it is a thing the writer gets to keep forever…but its daily there-ness is gone from one’s life. Mourning the last book and needing the next takes on a druggish proportion. It is a fretful place, consuming and uncomfortable. It is the party to which one has regretfully gone, at which one knows no one.
No surprise that students feel such separation anxiety at school that they turn four years into ten…that writers rewrite until the metaphorical pen has scratched clear through the virtual page. Like David Emory in The Spiritkeeper, we simply refuse to say good-bye.
I may know what day it is. But don’t ask me the date. We don’t have those on this planet. We know where we are by words alone.