Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sleeping while operating heavy machinery

This morning, or this afternoon rather (when I finally woke up) I reflected on the old Animaniacs short "Good Idea, Bad Idea." As a child, they were funny, and the soothing baritone of the narrator's voice did much to massage those lessons into my memory. I stayed up entirely too late last night engaged in geekery that I don't wish to describe (read: ashamed). My eyes hurt, and upon realizing that I had plans today, I blinked to stare at the ruin my weekend has become as a result of reckless action.

Last week, about Wednesday, I finished the books I was working on (rather, the drafts thereof). I was on a bit of a high; I even thought enough of myself to mention the completion of the feats to the fellows in my writing group (admittedly, they didn't ask what I was up to, and I wanted some pats on the back). Consequently, I felt like maybe I had earned myself a brief vacation. What transpired during the rest of the week was, comparatively, like binge-drinking in some nameless, Spanish tourist trap. I squint even now to wonder at what I've been doing with my time.  Thus far, I have two rotten pages of a short story done and some gaping spots of memory to fill in.

On the other hand, it has been good to live in a different world of my conceiving. The books I was working on had their own habitat and characters and climate, as all stories do. The new book I'm working on (a continuation of the first book I have contracted) is much more singular, that is to say not split in three. It has no fewer stories but overall is one thing, that I can more leisurely swim in. I stand in the shower and wonder at conversations between characters, alike and dissimilar; I cut the grass and ponder at the order of major events. Driving to visit one of various friends, I puzzle at my different characters' motivations. It's a neat place to be. Though, at some point, words have to get on the page somehow.

So, tomorrow I go back to work for the summer semester. I'm taking with me one of my various, trusty pens, and on whatever paper is available I will begin scratching out an imaginary future for an imaginary world. My first problem, conceptually, is not what happens first, but what should be described as happening first. Sometimes I think maybe I would benefit some from just peeking into one of those "How to Write" books, hoping for answers to questions like this. In my experience, one orders such things however, takes a step back and turns one's head sideways while staring. If it's not right, one simply goes back and re-orders them. This seems like a less than efficient way.

But today is shot. All I can think about is the sun going down so I'll have an excuse to crawl back into bed. I rub my eyes but the ache in them does not dissipate. It's times like this that I think that maybe it might not be so bad to go by the Caffeine Temple and pray just a little. The dark stuff demands only, what, some of my growth, a bit of dependence, possibly a few years off my life? That doesn't seem so bad.

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