Monday, November 20, 2006

Turn and Face the Strange Changes

I’m back from the road. Actually got back last week but have been unburying myself from piled-up mail, backed-up e mail, and mountains of cat hair ever since. Plus, you know, sleeping. I could easily use another three weeks of sleep.

I’m still waking up and having no idea where I am. I suppose that will pass.

It’s disorienting not to be moving. And I feel like I’ve changed in some fundamental way. People I’ve known for a long time are telling me that I’m different. They say I seem happier. That’s a funny thing to hear because I feel just as chaotic inside as I’ve always been. And yet I know there’s been some kind of shift. It’s something to do with identity. For all that I live in my head I’m really a terribly concrete person, and it is so endlessly satisfying to have a real book out, and another one already turned in. It just explains and justifies everything, somehow.

But I do feel different, and I’m not entirely sure who I am any more. I’m watching myself as I would a stranger, trying to figure out what she’s thinking, what she’s going to do next. It’s a little scary so I have thrown myself back into the two things that are most familiar to me – writing and dance.

In the morning I work on my story for THE DARKER MASK. In the afternoon I work on TRAVELLER’S TALE. While usually I want silence when I’m writing, now I play music all day long – I can’t get enough of it – everything. Old surprise tapes. U-2 endlessly, Van Morrison, Lightning Hopkins, Todd Rundgren, Modest Mouse - even, weirdly, Diana Ross. Evenings are dance classes, then back to writing again for a few hours. I went back to jazz and was thrilled yesterday to get to do a combination to “All That Jazz” – the equivalent of a dance orgasm. Tonight I’ll go swing dancing for a bit and that will also feel somewhat like home, although I’m not entirely sure that I’m ready for so many strangers touching me just yet. But at least I won’t have to talk.

The thing is, none of these familiar things feel the same, either. I’m very restless, burning up. Perhaps it’s just that this stage of writing is always like this - like being pregnant. Not that I know – this is pure speculation. But I’m irritable, and uncomfortable, and hungry all the time – not for food - and there’s not much else I want to think about – it’s all about the baby (book), and I just want it to be DONE, and OUT, but of course it’s going to grow on its own time – such a long time, too. But I know the only way to take this edge off is to finish.

And I know all this has brought me close to who and what I’m supposed to be. But it’s all very strange.


Anonymous said...

Alex, welcome home!

Richard Cooper said...

Home again home again jiggety jig!

billie said...

Welcome home -- loved reading your experience of 'new authorship' and all the changes.

I get that same restless edgy feeling at certain points in the writing process. That's about the time my husband starts saying, "Don't you need to go write some more?"



Alexandra Sokoloff said...

A friend of mine says that when she doesn't write for a while it starts to feel like severe PMS.

That pretty much sums it up!

elainesbrain said...

Welcome back! So today I went to check in on you via your blog and made a tiny mistype:

And it pulled up an "Amazing Bible Studies site."

Cut and paste the link above and check it out yourself! Hmmm!

Always merry and bright, Anais...

Happy Turkey Day! xoxo E