I’m writing a book. That’s nothing new, really. But I’ve been struggling with it. I have this scene I was trying to get to, a scene I had envisioned months ago. I built steps to get to this scene, I planned it out. I put in references ten chapters ago that would become relevant here in this scene. I looked forward to getting there. I finished the last two chapters in a bit of a hurry, saying “Oh, I’ll go flesh that out later, I need to get to that scene!” I finally sat down a few days ago to write it…
And it didn’t work. I mean, at first I thought it was maybe just a little tweak I needed. I sat back and thought about it. I talked it over with some people. I gave up for the day, and right before I went to bed I got an inspiration and scrawled a bunch of notes. Went to bed thinking: ok, relief. It works now. Tomorrow, I can write it that way.
But I woke up at 2am, knowing better. It still didn’t work. I lay there for hours, rotating it in my head. He has to get there… she has to say this… he can’t do that… so he does this… no, that means… no. No, no. nonono… And before too long I was pretty upset. This wasn’t working in a lightweight, gee I need to tweak this a little way, but in a great big, ohmygodthisdoesn’tworkwhatthefuckwasIthinking sort of way.
So then it was morning and time to get up. I headed to work. But I was distracted by this, mulling, chewing on it like an old bone. All day. I get to work and am faced with a heap of fabric. A previous effort has fallen down, literally, onto the floor. And now, we have the elephant to consider again.
See, my boss is redecorating a room in her house. We’ve been working on it for some weeks now. Last week we bought fabric to hang on a wall. She had a batik elephant (beautiful thing) hanging there on the near wall, and we struggled to find things that went with the room, the situation… and this elephant. Not that fabric, clashes with the elephant. No, that goes with the elephant but not with anything else. This goes with the elephant if we get rid of those pillows. These go with the elephant if we remove this table. It went on and on. Last week, we thought we had it licked. Yesterday morning, not so much. On top of my failed writing, it was really wearing on me. Simple creativity is lost and lost. I am old and cannot function. Did I think I could select fabrics?
Did I really think I could write a book?
And then she says to me… it’s the elephant.
I nodded, but didn’t hear, worrying. She said it again: It’s the elephant. That’s the problem.
She was right, too. There was no reason not to move it. The moment we knew it, we knew it completely; we moved the elephant to another room and opened the world up for this wall. Much easier. Much, much better. And I stood there, thinking… duh.
Of course I can write this book. Of course I can. It’s not the book that’s stopping me. It’s the damned elephant.
So tomorrow, I’m going to delete my failed effort on this scene and move on to the next one. I am sure it will go much more easily now.
God, I hope so.