Interstitial Moment:

I am currently mired in a revision of a novel and it is giving me the gip. Actually, as I recall, every revision of a novel does this. Only when I’mtruly and horrible in the mire, when I can feel the Peat Hag hanging onto my heels and pulling me under, do I know I;m having trouble with a book. I think this is related to childbirth. Once it is over and the gorgeous new miracle is in your arms, you forget all about the pain and blood and muck and mire. You coo at the infant and think about having another.

So here I am, up to my knees in a peat bog and sinking fast. And the trouble is the editor’s notes and what she sees as problem places. The first go round through, I have treated each of her points with care, fixing this, shoring up that, giving a character who has had too little to do/say a bit more business.

But as I work this way, the entire world shifts. I mean the entire world of the book does a 90 degree or more turn off its axis. That’s because as I tend to her notes, I have forgotten gravity or some other important law of the book’s universe. I have forgotten that every change changes everything.

So now I am in the next iteration of the novel and I am seeing how offkilter the whole thing is, and I despair. I do the hand on brow, falling on the fainting couch, head in the oven thing. Nothing goes together any longer. There are no interstices. There are too many holes. The whole is holey when I want it to be holy. It is a mess. I am not a writer, I am a messenger of doom, gloom, badness, madness and. . .

You get the picture. I am in the middle of a muddle.

Yes,, yes, I have said it before. I even said similar things in the birthing room or whatever we called it back in the Eocene. “How did I get in this blankety-blank mess?” EVen though I know how and now who to blame.

So I shut the computer off. Watch Cake Boss and the Bourne Legacy. Fiddle with some poetry. Play Boggle. The usual distractions. I even (gasp) went grocery shopping. And cleaned the kitchen. (You can always tell a writer is eschewing the revision process when her kitchen is clean!)

And now it’s time for bed. “Ah well,” I say to my best friend, Scarlett, “I’ll think about that revision tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day”


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