For reasons I won't go into here, next week I must embark upon some personal maintenance. This requires some... sacrifices that will last five days. Just no sex or alcohol.
Yeah, you heard me right.
No. Sex. No. Alcohol.
I may as well just curl up and die right now. But it's unfortunately necessary, and just as well.
Of course, the timing could be better because I'm also struggling through editing the last chapters of my third book. Never a completely fun endeavour, to be sure.
Like the beginning of a relationship, the first chapters are the honeymoon. There's an overwhelming sense of relief. Thank God it doesn't suck. Then I realize, Hey, this is pretty good.
Actually, it's really good.
It's a joy just to open the file, to look upon what I slowly realize to potentially be the most beautifully strung together words known to civilization, and to know it is utterly mine. No other eye has seen these words. It's like I've got a hungry, young, late 1980s Brad Pitt locked in my basement and I get to go and sit and watch him in his little cage... blonde hair swinging, perfectly symmetrical face snarling, naked body glistening with terror-induced sweat...
Then in the middle of the process we, the book and I, begin to settle into a more comfortable rhythm. The book knows how to titilate me without that accompanying fear of stepping wrong just because I didn't know. Sure, sometimes the lovemaking is lackluster, but in general I know I'm building something great here. It just will take some more time and patience. And along the way I rediscover that great conversation or sex scene that I'd forgotten. It hadn't made sense at the time, but I stuck it in there anyway in hopes that the fates will grace me with the why. And they do; or at least part of it (because it's only the first revision and I get to hop on this delightful carnival ride again, and again, and hopefully again once someone buys the damn thing). But I'm catching on now to the book's nuances; to the growth of the characters and the importance of certain plot events. While not as scintillating as editing the first scenes, it's still exciting. I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I open the file.
And then the end draws near.
Things have been going so well and then suddenly, I hesitate. A new character appears out of nowhere, and I think, Who the hell are you and why didn't you show up during the rough? Get the fuck out!
But the newcomer won't leave. He is accepted into the circle. Everyone likes him but me. He settles in and sticks his tongue out at me over the shoulder of my main character as they chat. They're interested in each other, I can tell. He's no good for you, I think. He's not likeable; he has no useful skills or even any morals.
I resolve to ignore him and write him out in the next revision. But he keeps... turning up. And then it hits me like a thunderbolt. The book has replaced me, the author, with this new friend. It's enamoured with this friend, but I can tell this friend is greatly complicating something that had once been pure and beautiful and eloquent.
My writing around this character becomes stilted and clumsy. I'm tongue-tied as he courses his way through the book, meeting and greeting and eyeing me occassionally as if to say, "Yeah, I'm here to stay, so you may as well find me a bed."
I stall and blog and sort through my closet. I actually play army with my kid. I read. Sometimes I sit down to write, but it's only to realize that this book will have to be dragged kicking and screaming toward its end days. Not the happy conclusion I forsaw and so I tentatively suggest to the book that it might cooperate.
To which the book replies, "I'm the third book in a four-book series. You even resurrect the main character in a fifth book, for crissake. What did you expect, roses and a box of chocolates? This isn't fucking Valentine's Day. It's Steak and Blowjob Day, so fire up the grill and get on your knees, bitch."
"I trusted you to be a good book!" I cry in agony.
The book ignores me and gives the favored newcomer a sharpened sword and Mark 22.
"Hey! That's not your gun!"
But my words are muffled, what with the book's dick in my mouth.
The new character doesn't care. He takes the pistol anyway. He disappears, weapons in hand, secondary character in tow. But I know in my bones he'll be back. He'll reappear in that hornet's nest I call the final book to the series.
And it all happens without a word of explaination. I thought I knew what was happening here. I was learning the prevailing themes. A pattern was emerging from the fog of seemingly unconnected plot events. It was turning into something... good. It was fun to read. It was a good book.
Now the last three chapters seem to be utter, rancid bullshit and I don't know how to find the holy grail in all that muck and waste.
I know from experience that it will come. It may strip away part of my soul as it does, but it will come. It's just a waiting game. And while I wait, I may as well augment my misery and quit drinking and having sex. And I don't dare try to fill the void up with food, because I need to lose five pounds anyway.
It all starts Monday.
I feel mean. I want to be nasty to someone.
I feel a bloghop coming on.