Okay, forget it. Forget whether it is writer head that doesn’t love me or the chapter itself. Forget whether I started the book before the ethers asked me to, or I punked out under my own steam. Forget all of it.
Time for a walk.
A new chapter is an exercise in immersion. In Method acting. A session with Other and Elsewhere. See the place. Be the place. Smell it, feel the air, feel the street underfoot. Do what the character does; experience the physical place as she does. Find her reactions there.
Do that, know what you want the end impression to be (the state of the character if not the actual end of the chapter), and the thing will come.
Not so fast. Not so simple.
Commerce takes its toll. The hours to work are limited. In that long walk, one can barely get up a NYC Walker’s head of steam before sleep insists that you attend to its needs. Cats and bodies need feeding. Exercise asks politely for your time and is quietly refused.
When a good, long, vigorous pace is required, a saunter is all that is managed. One wishes to take a physical walk in the dark; better sense prevails. One wishes for a contemplative stroll down the road by the river on a cool near-Fall afternoon; the river is 900 miles away. One settles for the make-do of the moment—the ordering of notes into a chapterly progression, in the hope that some seduction, some driving enthusiasm, will emerge.
Good luck with that.
These are the days of I-wish-I-could-shut-myself-up-in-a-dark-quiet-room-for-hours. To tempt imagination with the promise of letting it out of its cage. It’s not gonna happen. Not for another couple of days, at least. I am locked in the box of my head, within the box of my 14th floor space, about to ready myself to move to the box of Commerce. One of those days in which I feel acutely the burden of what I have traded imagination for.
Now excuse me, it’s time to get ready for the office.