Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Broken Speedometer

Matt finished his reading of my Greenland book this week. He's the first person to have read the majority of what's in there, and even the experience of hearing him say my characters' names was weird. It's been a private experience to write the thing until now - which has really not been a positive thing - and to suddenly have someone else know what I wrote has been both wonderful and kind of unsettling. He helped me with some minor problems and suggested solutions to some major ones, although so far I've been too lazy to take them. (That's my task for today. Thus far I've accomplished a lot of reading on Longform.org and this blog post. Well done me.)

On Tuesday into Wednesday I did another read-through and fixed small issues, eliminated a lot of dialogue tags that weren't necessary, and looked for the right place to incorporate the one new scene Matt suggested. He also advised me to rewrite the ending and gave me a context for a new one that is probably better than the one I have, but I'm very reluctant to do that because of how much fun I had writing the current one. When those changes are completed, I'm planning to wheedle help from some more friends. (Some of whom are likely reading this. You poor saps.) I think what I'm going to do is print the book as a private project on Lulu, order five or six paperback copies, and send them out that way. It'll be a lot easier for my unlucky friends to read than a honking great sheaf of paper, and while I don't think I'll actually save money on paper and toner cartridges (although I might), it'll be simpler and easier to ship.

Technology, man. Can you imagine when I would have had to type carbons? Egh. The very thought of it makes me queasy.

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I told Matt yesterday that I think my anxiety-meter is broken. If you'd told me six months ago that my life would be situated the way it is, with so little security and so much chaos and every day bringing new uncertainties, I would have fainted dead away and had a panic attack upon awakening. But I've got this eerie new confidence, not only that things are going to be okay but that they're going to work out the way they ought to (whatever that way may be), that in the meantime we'll manage, and that all the things that appear to be obstacles are really just smoke and mirrors. I told him I thought my anxiety-meter, previously such a source of terror and heartache, was now like a broken speedometer; no matter how much I gun the ignition, how fast things may be hurtling by outside the windows, the needle rests patiently at zero. (Incidentally, in this metaphor, I'm driving a kickass Chevelle Super Sport.) I am imperturbable. It's kind of like the beginning of Office Space, when thanks to that shrink, Peter is just...chill...about his workplace all of a sudden.

Maybe I'm just mentally ill. Maybe someone's been feeding me Quaaludes. But I'll take it, you know, it's a zillion times better than the awful scratching anxiety, which makes the inside of my head sound exactly like this all the time. It means I can write, and sleep, and devote real energy to teaching my yoga classes. I don't really need to know exactly how fast I'm going.

2 comments:

Kristen said...

Just wanted to say how kick-ass I think you are for writing this book. I'm so impressed. Also, on the subject of your book and its language, did you see this?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/arts/television/in-game-of-thrones-a-language-to-make-the-world-feel-real.html?_r=1&ref=television

Katharine Coldiron said...

That link broke my browser, so I think I'll have to look at it another time...but thanks very much for your compliments. :)