Fear: The Black Death, part 3
The last we heard from our amateur author, it was balls-to-the walls rewrites and editing. Then, the first symptoms began to appear. My muse would disappear for no good reason. A new love, perchance? Interesting, but not life changing. Ah, if I’d only recognized the tell-tale signs earlier (no pun, well, maybe a little one.) Next came the dreaded procrastination and excuses. We’ve heard them all before. “I’ll start tomorrow, I’m so busy today.” “First, I’ll do _____ (fill in the blank) then I’ll sit down and write.” “But, I’m working today, babysitting, visiting a friend.” Blah, blah, blah. All are the first critical signs that The Black Death is knocking at your door.
As I sit at the death bed of my muse, I ask myself where did I go wrong. She is on life-support, IVs of creativity and motivation. But, it can’t go on this way. I can feel her spirit drifting away from me. Am I keeping her with me because of selfishness? Am I past hope of reviving her? Would I be merciful just to pull the plug now and be done with it?
Alright, enough of the dying muse metaphors, I can’t write. My novel those two months before I was all fired up to edit/rewrite, has a layer of dust I could write my name in, if I could, well, you know. Yes, it’s been a busy summer. I continued to work at school and home with an autistic young man, I am looking at back surgery, and my son is very ill. But, my novel should have been my escape and a way to release stress. Instead, I turned it into an anxiety point in my life. Now, I see The Black Death’s real poison; the loss of passion.
Where I felt desire and hope, I now sense emptiness. I grieve the loss of love for the written word. I don’t know who I am any more. Very soon I need to make a decision, to “pull the plug” and let my writing die a natural death or to keep trying to breathe life into that corpse that was my dream of being a writer. Not a decision I make lightly, but maybe it’s time to face reality and do the right thing.
Fear: The Black Death, part 4
It’s done. Just a few hours ago, I would never have guessed I would write that. I have completed the rewrites/editing of my novel. Like a dreaded dentist visit, it was way less painful than I imagined.
To bring everyone up-to-date, my second novel is about a young girl with autism and two friends who come to her aid. “The F.N.B.” (Friends Not Bullies) sat finished but unpolished for months. I had lost my passion, confidence, and motivation. I had written a couple of articles for Page & Spine about my progress. But, after weeks of writing nothing, I was about to give up. I wrote, what I thought was my last installment of “Fear…” The dear creator of this site refused to let me and told me to read “Write Something, Damn It!” by Lee Hill. (TWT-Jun’13 – ed.) The combination got me rethinking my decision.
One morbid thought moved me to finish the novel. In the next few months, I will be having back surgery. I have a compression fracture that will not allow me to stand or walk for more than ten or fifteen minutes. I am in constant pain. The fear of back surgery is sending me into constant panic attacks. The surgery has to be done but I know the risks. One, even if remote, is paralysis. If that happened, what would be one of my biggest regrets? I knew then I could not leave my book unfinished. Even if no one ever reads it, if it's never published, I will know I completed it. I said it was morbid.
Maybe that is one of the best motivators; fear. When I began this series called “Fear: The Black Death”, I never imagined that it would be fear of being physically unable to write that would move me to do it while I can. We authors are a dramatic lot. But, whatever it takes -- right?
A huge thank-you to Nancy and Lee for just the right pushes when I needed it. Anybody know a good agent?
ESSAYS BY D.J.S. HARRINGTON