It’s not worth the agony of trying to get back into it.
A Canadian writer I once studied remarked in an interview that she would begin a new book “when the pain of writing became less than the pain of not writing.” How many times in my life have I gone through that particular stage?
I had my next unpublishable magnum opus all set to go last fall, research mostly done, notes, outlines, new Scriv on the way, when our 25-year-old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Needless to say our entire lives went into a fugue-like hold and I was pretty incapable of stringing two words together to ask for milk at the grocer’s, never mind actually putting strings of sentences down on screen. Kiara is doing fantastically, I’m happy to report, still not out of the woods (she’ll never be out of the woods with this thing, but with luck and prayer and a few more years of treatment she’ll at least find a safe path through them) but keeping up with her studies and horses, and enjoying as normal a life as could be expected under the circumstances.
I on the other hand remain in a strange kind of limbo. I’m pretty much obsessed with her welfare, which anyone who has a child in his or her twenties knows is the worst kind of poison you can offer a newly independent and fiercely self-directed young soul. Thank God for both of us there are a few hundred miles between us. My creative writing has been confined to a somewhat irregular email newsletter I send to about 100 of Kiara’s closest friends every once in a while detailing her progress, with a few personal paragraphs of reflection. It’s something. Not enough, though. So I’m thinking the pain of not writing is beginning to win over, and here I have to commend and thank David Hewson for his very timely book, Writing a Novel in Scrivener, for its help in pushing me over the edge.
Zut alors, back to work.