I told a bandmate of mine, when we were rehearsing Sunday night, and it was getting past my bedtime, that I had to get up at 5AM.
“Why?” he asked. I hesitated to say. “Personal reasons?” he asked.
“So… I’m waking up at 5 to write,” I told him.
And he thought that was great, solicited a slap me five for it (up high, down low, too slow), and went on to talk process with me. Now this is the universe conspiring to help me, see? I need to accept that help. Because he talked about the most difficult part for him being the finish (the last 10% is always the hardest – that’s true of tax returns too), and that if he didn’t push through it, he would just start something new, because that’s the easier part. And that is something I struggle with so much that I have been justifying to myself that there is nothing wrong with working on multiple stories at once, but there is, because it enables you to avoid the hardest part of the process by moving on to something easier. That’s why I never finish anything. That’s why, as I always say, I have lots of potential.
So, I think if I follow the signs, then I will go back to working on one particular story that I put down a while ago, even though it’s not the most recent story I’ve worked on (its been so long I’ve forgotten the names of some of my characters) and almost doesn’t feel like the one I should finish because it’s not even the furthest along. But a teacher I had in Jr. High school, my favorite teacher ever, has recently contacted me in response to an old request I made of him to play the Muse. Well, actually it started when he joked that he couldn’t wait to read the book in which I based a character on him. And so it occurred to me that there was a character in a particular story I was working on at the time the lent himself perfectly to that, and I actually changed the name to his, Mr T.
It soon became obvious, however, that I didn’t really know Mr T so well. How much does a teacher really reveal about himself to his 9th graders. So, I asked him if we could get together so that I could get to know him better, for the story. And he said, sure, but then it didn’t happen, and now a year or two later, he emails me to ask how it’s going.
Decisions need to be made, plain and simple and sometimes the choice is obvious. Just like it was ultimately obvious that the only way I was going to find time to write was to wake up at five and the only way I could to do that was to go to sleep at ten. No matter how much I didn’t want to do that it was the obvious answer. Right after that, Mr T emails me, and then my bandmate tells me I need to FINISH SOMETHING. The decision to work on this story – working title: The Immortals – over something else I was working on more recently – working title: Robert the Robot – also makes sense on so many levels. Because Mr. T has contacted me, and has actually sent me some emails telling me stories about himself that I can work into the character, and so it is time. I must gut it out with this one story, because when it gets difficult, that’s when you have to get mean, and if you just start on a new story, it will be because you are avoiding the difficult not because it’s a good process. You’ll finish nothing. If you want to get to that new story, finish the old one. So obvious I wonder why I didn’t realize it before.
I’m about ready, after only a week, to move on from strictly journal and blogging to a project. Cover me…