Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Post Is Made from 100% Procrastination

For the first time I'm understanding the difference between wanting a vacation due to desiring a break from a job I don't like, and wanting a vacation due to a sort of tired burnout. Maybe this is naive of me, maybe people who like their jobs are saying DUH, but at this point I could really use a couple of days where I don't have to do any work. I enormously enjoy each category of the work I'm doing, all for different reasons, but I'd really love a breather. My body could use a respite from teaching, too. I've been subbing a lot in the last couple of weeks, and although more money is always good, I think I'm ready to drop back to my regular schedule of (now) 6 classes a week rather than, for example, this week's 8.

My first reader has gotten back to me about the Greenland book, and because he's very kind, he has allowed me to go back and forth with him at great length about the manuscript. Last night I composed the third in a series of e-mails to him in Microsoft Word before pasting it into the body of the reply; with his paragraphs and my responses it was about 5,300 words. I feel guilty asking him to talk about my work in such great detail, but he continues to insist that it's okay.

The actual substance of his feedback has been very surprising. He told me that I've written a bummer of a book, something which is okay with me but which I hadn't really connected the dots to realize. He said that it was actually interesting and not impossible to follow the language, and that he didn't find the setup too holey, issues I worried over endlessly. He noted that there are many more characters than a modern novel usually has, and I honestly hadn't really thought of that. I don't know if it's a flaw per se, but both he and Matt said they had a hard time following who was who, so I think a family tree in the back of the book is in order. Just, like, not a complete one, or some surprises will be lost.

While I'm pleased to see that I've still got enough of the book in my bones to talk to him about it in detail, I find that I have zero motivation to dive into re-editing it. I definitely need further perspectives - especially from women, especially from people who like reading novels more than this friend does - but there are even a few easy fixes my friend pointed out which I could implement easily enough now, and I haven't exactly jumped right on that. I could do it, it's not a confidence thing, but I'm totally not interested.

I think it's because I'm working on the horror book, and don't want to dilute my writing energy back to a book with such an enormously different group of characters. So perhaps, after all, it was a bad idea to jump right into the new book without being completely finished with the old book. Of course, at my current rate of work, I'll be finished with the horror book by my tentative deadline (April) and definitely by my drop-deadline (June), and will be able to take a break between the full closed-door draft and the first open-door draft to hunker down on the Greenland book. Plus, I won't know until June whether my Greenland book won grant money, and I can't really send it out for publisher approval until I find that out. So maybe it worked out better this way, rather than worse. I'm just worried that the feedback will kind of dim in its fresh usefulness in my mind, and I won't remember all the resolutions I had for making things better.

Last night I knitted myself a coaster for my desk, so I could get rid of an old coaster with bad memories (um...never mind) and I put on The Social Network to amuse me whilst working. I still stand in utter awe of that movie's script. It's like All About Eve; I could put it on a continuous loop for about 14 hours and listen to it and feel smarter and smarter all the time. Every time I see it, someone else's performance jumps out at me. This time, again, it was Andrew Garfield's. I wanted to steal his character out of that movie and run off with him to Mexico the first time I saw it, and I felt that way all over again this time.

This was the result, by the way:

Turned out a little lumpier than I expected, but I don't have any emotional turmoil attached to it, and it'll keep condensation from ruining my desk. Which is the point.


Catherine said...

Quickly - I thought a family tree might be useful, too! But I assumed it was just me. :)

Katharine Coldiron said...

That's three of you, so I have granted your wish.