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My great Skydiaries friend Alexander Zoltai has been observing that this space has been rather grim lately. So it has.

Today will be different. I will it to be so.

I have looked at the recent chapters. Looked at it again. And again and again. Like the hopeful half of a hopeless relationship, I have optimistically, determinedly waited for the hog of discontent to clear. I have chipped away at words and phrases and whole paragraphs that disappointed me. I have wound up nights at the page dreading the read, dreading the lack of oooohhhh that has been epidemic there. I have watched popular films, breaking them down in my head to their remarkably ordinary component parts, trying to understand why the clock ticked,

And last night I figured it out.

It is not the construction of the chapters. Or the substance. It is the chapters themselves.

We are 100 pages into the story. We know the characters…the main one is a gem. We know the arcane world in which they live. We know the improbable, extraordinary entity that drives the work. And at 100 pages it all falls flat.

We are at a revelatory moment. Our POV character discovers the secret that has been hovering over the book since the first pages. The moment must be huge.

It wasn’t.

I kept trying to squeeze the emotion into a plot-point not large enough to fit it, like a shopper trying to fit a too-big foot into a too-small shoe. No way in hell that one is walking in a fit like that.

The understanding came through the side door. Through an invention that—should I decide to adopt it—will turn the book into something very different from what it is. A something that may push the unlikely to the unreadable. But that dare offered a gift. The realization of the non-fit.

Which means that I am left on a broad bank, looking longingly at the wide river, with no conveyance to get me across. And that’s okay. Better to swim for the far  shore under my own power. Better to flail for a while than to sink under the Weight of Wrong.

What that means to the writer is that the momentum is vanished, a frightening reality. That the labor of days was for naught. That one must throw one’s self to the mercy of the Universe once again.

I am resigned, not cheerful. But it trumps miserable and befuddled any day. Noplace is not the wrong place. In that knowing is Freedom. In that dubious knowing, I have turned this morning into the Morning of Me.

 

A tale of the wintertime blues….

These are the tough days. The same work that had promise in the morning bites anatomy after the sun goes down. After dark, I am as afraid to look at what I’ve done as a kid who’s afraid to check out monster country under the bed.

At what point does a book die? When is the prognosis too discouraging to go on?

A work that inexplicably succeeds and fails by turns carries two truths inside it. And the inability to decide between the two is debilitating.

Is it as good as I’ve hoped; as good as I’ve worked so hard to make it be? Or is it Dorian Gray, a monster hidden behind a pleasing exterior? Is the problem found in that perhaps I’m not inclined to like anything right now—about anything? That I have isolated myself into a creative coma in this solitary life of mine? That I am speaking a hard truth to myself? That I am suffering the winter doldrums? That the book has been in front of my eyes for waaaaaayyyyyy too long? That I have been sucked into the vortex of unfairness of the recent events of my life?

What would I be if I cannot be what I am?

Enough. Enough. Work and perspective are required of me, now. And focus on the good and the right, as microscopic as both good and right seem to be right now.

Work hard, Lynn. And focus on tomorrow.

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