three-fold anxiety, elephant gestation, and summer 2010

Right now, I am curled up in the mental fetal position at my desk eating my feelings in the form of a large-ish bowl of Life cereal. NO JOKE. I am stressed as hell because I have a novel workshop tomorrow and I am giving myself SERIOUS ANXIETIES over nothing. This ain’t my first rodeo, so I don’t know what I am freaking out about, but WHATEVER, I am running with it and when Life hands you lemons, you should take that shit back to the store and buy the cinnamon kind instead.

Part of my freaking out is just the general anxiety of knowing that some people I trust/respect are reading my (very, very raw) work and are going to tell me what I did wrong (and right, but that falls on deaf ears pretty much) for TWO HOURS in the very near future. The workshop system is fucked up on a lot of levels, but writers are nothing if not gluttons for punishment, so we just. keep. doing. it. I expect this insanity twice/three times a quarter and I deal with it pretty well.

The second part of the anxiety is really frustration. I’m not writing my book linearly. I don’t mean that narratively (shit starts at point A and ends at point B), I mean actual craft-wise. I’ve never written a novel before (three NaNoWriMo attempts be damned.) and I’m not the kind of writer that can force readable writing out when the spark’s not there, so I am jumping around in the timeline, fully aware of what is missing and mostly how it’ll shape where the story is going.

If my brain says, “Yo, write this scene that happens in the last third of the book,” I’m going to write the fucking scene that happens in the last third of the book. I’m not going to be all, “Nah, man, that has to wait, there are still a hundred pages between here and there!” because by the time I get from here to there I will have lost everything good about what I wanted to write.

Fuck that.

So, my classmates and professors get whatever it is I’ve written with outline and explanation of what is missing. I have worked HARD to make it as clear and understandable as humanly possible and I am nutso-insane SICK AND TIRED of having to apologize for it.

It’s not even the people around me! My readers are all REALLY SUPPORTIVE. It’s like I am being COSMICALLY SHAMED into changing the writing method that works for me and that’s total bullshit. I shouldn’t have to apologize for writing what comes easily, naturally. I should be able to write whatever-the-fuck I want to write without feeling like I am breaking some bullshit rules no one bothered to tell me in the first place.

I understand it changes the reads and critiques I’m going to get, but that’s my problem to deal with and one that I am fully willing to accept. I have no problem with, “Hey, I don’t know where this is, so I can’t be of much help plot-wise,” because I will be like, “HEY COOL, I APPRECIATE THE HEADS UP.”

I cannot legitimately be the only writer in the HISTORY OF WRITING PROGRAMS to write non-linearly while shaping the first draft of the novel. And I am real, real tired of having to kowtow and apologize like I’ve done something wrong.

Embracin’ my methods straight-up from HERE ON OUT. TAKE THAT, COSMOS.

The final part of the anxiety isn’t nervousness, it’s fucking-ready-for-this-shit-to-be-done-ness.

My MFA program is great and I am grateful everyday that I get to work with the people I do and that it’s turning out as well as it is and that I don’t, yet, have to work a real job and try to fake my way through real life responsibility.

But I am LEGIT ready for summer. I am in my EIGHTH month with this novel, not counting the three to four months I spent hardcore percolating the story way back in 2008 and I am SICK of this motherfucker.

I love the story still, probably even more than I did when I first came up with the idea, and my writing gets better every single time I sit down to burn through pages, but I am sick of talking about it, thinking about it, critiquing it, breathing it, living it. And I’m not even DONE.

The writing process BLOWS. It’s like African elephant gestation, an abominable pregnancy that is NEVER GOING TO END.

I know it’ll be worth it, that all the agonizing and stressing and misery and anxiety and suffering will be something I can be proud of, but eff that right now. I just want to get drunk and hang out in my BFF’s pool and crack wise about some serious bullshit and get up to some shenanigans.

So, PEACE OUT, SPRING 2010. I am ready for your scantily-clad sister Summer and all the debauchery and freedom she’s got jammed in her jorts pockets. BRING IT ON.