||[Dec. 11th, 2010|11:31 am]
A writer's life is not bound by the same work conventions as others...it's not a M-F job unless you're one of the very unusual, perfectly organized writers (I know one or two. I am in awe, but I don' t have time to be in awe very long, so...moving on...) Depending on deadlines, illnesses, etc, etc., etc., most of us seem to work very long hours and every day of the week...or close to it.
So not realizing it's Saturday already is normal. Unless I have an event scheduled, Monday-through-Saturday is all the same, dawn (or before) to midnight (or a little after.) Not all sitting at the keyboard (sometimes, but not always)...there's cooking, laundry, cleaning, shopping, and the business side of writing (correspondence, phone calls, etc.) If I'm not sick (or too far behind on a book) Wednesday evenings and Sundays are taken up with choir. Sometimes, when we have a big performance coming up, that includes some other rehearsals as well.
Toward the end of a book--and esp. with a rapidly advancing deadline--the days blur into one another, the divisions and position in the week meaningless. I creak out of bed (the sounds of older bodies rising are very like the sound of older trees dropping small limbs and dry leaves--crackling, crunching, rustling, thumping.) Stagger in to turn on the computer, hoping the leg that fell asleep because I didn't wiggle enough during the night will wake up soon. Brush teeth, hobble out to the kitchen to fix cereal and take morning meds. Hobble a little less back to see if the computer's ready yet. (No. though technically much faster than the old machine, it takes as long to be useful because of all the wonderful (!) software that must be waked, checked, and connected one to another.)
This is work I chose to do, so I'm not actually complaining...it takes as long as it takes to write a book, and I want to write books, so...that's just a fact writers must come to grips with, the same as people wanting to be farriers coming to grips with what this means to their backs, day after day of bending over with a horse leg clamped between their knees while they trim and shoe. But it does mean losing track of time, of days of the week, and numbers within the month, because the writer's head (this writer's head, at least) is deep in the book being written, living alongside of, and within, all the characters. Very much not in this world.
But somehow it got to be Saturday, when my temporal faculty was still stuck in Tuesday (it's been stuck in Tuesday all week, because had I not been behind on the book, and sick for several weeks of November, I'd have been singing MESSIAH with my choir and the Austin Symphony on Tuesday--the date had been stuck in my brain very firmly since summer.) So on Tuesday night, I was working on the book with most of my brain, while one small part was doing a White Rabbit imitation over in the corner, jumping up and down and saying "Late--late--late--too late--they've started--" and I was trying to shut it up. I put Rachmaninoff on the player (very un-MESSIAH-like, Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto) and worked until sometime after midnight, when I fell into bed I've missed, of course, all the big MESSIAH rehearsals, and I've also missed singing with the choir at services (coughing your lungs out on your fellow singers just before and during the holiday season is not appreciated and besides, my voice was nothing anyone would want to hear in between the coughing fits.) So that further extended the temporal disconnect.
It's Saturday already. The book is waiting. All the chapters are laid out in a row, and deep combing has dealt with most of them. Gaps are marked for filling. I've been up since dawn and will be up until the brain shuts off, whenever that is.
Just in case anyone thought "Oh, it's easy, you just crank them out in a few weeks." Some (lucky!! talented!!) writers have minds like that. Not me. And--if you haven't already discovered that you're one of the fast-writing fraternity--probably not you, either.