Thursday, July 2, 2009

Keeping at it

It’s been slow-going, but today I managed to slog my way through a good portion of the rewrite I’ve been working on. It’s a difficult chapter, and showing up at the page to write has not been easy. I let too many things distract me. E-mail. Laundry. The cats. An Iris Murdoch novel. A scratch game of bingo. When I finally decided to pack up everything and head to the Bridgehead down the street—and focus on writing—writing suddenly became easier.

It felt like a long drought, but when my pen moved across the page the doubting subsided and the voices of the characters with whom I’ve been so intimately acquainted, once again spilled on to the page. At that moment the writing felt easy, and I was reminded that, day after day, I must just keep at it. No matter how hard it seems, I need to start out somewhere because once I get past that initial hesitation—that little voice that whispers, “Do you think anyone is going to find this interesting?”—the rest will follow.

Today’s experience reminded me that every time I steady pen to page, I am trying to dispel from my life the detracting presence of an altérité rebelle au logos. This “rebellious other” is that self-doubting inner voice—mocking me, tearing away at what is the core of who I am: writing. In the act of writing, I am swept up in a feeling that is both wonderful and terrifying—that I am being true to self. I’m not pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m not chasing after the dreams or aspiration my friends and family hold for me. No, I am staring down that rebellious other, catapulted to a bold, new vista … and held there.

The air is warm and humid, and the full veil of night is in place. It won’t be long before I retire for the evening, but I will go to bed tonight happy to have completed that difficult section, happier to have simply written at all. Tomorrow I will show up at the page again, unsure how hard or easy writing will be but write I will.

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