Tuesday, July 3, 2012
The paper of the manuscript is soft as cloth -- the front and back pages almost drape. I've been sick for weeks. I think it's the manuscript that's doing it to me. I have people waiting for the next Swill, and in theory, I could finish it in four days, give or take. I've been there for weeks. Months, actually. To tell the truth.
I think it's the manuscript that's doing it to me.
Or, rather, it's what the manuscript means.
Working on this novel has shaped my life as much as any other single force in my recent life. I started it eight? Nine years ago?
It hasn't been that it's taken me that long to write it. It's taken me that long to learn how to write it. I'm not going to go into the whole story now -- I'll do that when I'm done -- but so far, my efforts to write this book as well as it needs to be written?
I have spent money and shed blood. I've travelled more on my own behalf than I ever have in my life. I've met writers I respect and admire, including one of my Major Personal Writers. You could put together a very convincing anthology using the writers with whom I've consulted. I have made contact with a circle of up-and-coming writers who I greatly enjoy. I have had the kind of experiences that you aren't supposed to have, received very specifically the kind of reception new writers are told not to expect.
The two people closest to me in my life have both responded to reading the novel by growing measurably more respectful and appreciative of me; it is entirely reasonable to say that it's helped bring romance into my life. When I started the book, I had strong, if unstated, convictions that there was something immoral about self-esteem; now I'm attempting to cultivate self-love. This book has taught me about myself.
Part of that has been forcing me out into the world -- my performance work spun out of the novel, my artwork spun out of the novel, and my first professional publication came about as a direct result of my seeking aid on the novel. While the novel itself is unpublished, it is the force behind what public exposure I've received.
And it's given me an ulcer, put me in the hospital, got me placed on psychiatric medication. (If you're a 'just take the meds' type, let me tell you -- sometimes the docs have NO FUCKING IDEA what they're doing, and they do it irresponsibly on top of that. Sometimes it works that way.) I've been pushed to my limits in all directions.
It's time to get the fucker done. I'm not going to be able to function freely until it's out of my system. I honestly think Swill will get done faster if I do this first, and that goes for everything else in my life.
You aren't supposed to invest this much in a single work of art, especially one in a dying form going out into a chaotic market. But I needed to write it, and this is what it took.
So I'm going to start the last round of the line edits to day -- input from the manuscript, reading aloud, that stuff. Producing the final copy. I'm still sick, I've got lots of stuff I should be doing, but this is the thing to do now.
And the thing is? It's going to be a delight. I love this fussy part of the work, getting all the little details just so.
And then I'll be able to forget about it and get on with my goddamned life.