It occurs to me that the last thing I said about the novel I was writing was that I was going to keep writing it. A few days later, I stopped.
I reached 15,000-odd words. I was really chugging along. I had developed some plot and the characters were having good conversations and there was even a tie-in to my upcoming massage appointments, so I could justify them further by calling them research. But all it takes is a couple of bad days and then you do the little calculation, let’s see, 14 days left in November, divided by 35,000 words, wow, and I write about 1,500 words per hour but for days at a time there is no naptime longer than 45 minutes and yes, there are evenings, but I am only conscious for an hour after the kids are in bed and I like to use that hour to communicate important information to Saint Aardvark.
After I had the awesome massage last Saturday I decided I would spend any free time focusing on my body and let my mind fester a little longer. I officially gave up on the novel last weekend, after a full week not writing but thinking I might get back to it any minute. It’s not even a justification or an excuse this time, I really think my body needs my attention. I am slouchy and sore, achy and twisted. I have been paying attention, over the past week, to how I sit and stand. I usually sit with my lower body facing one way and my upper facing another. Then I turn my head. Unsurprisingly, it hurts.
Do you know how hard it is to relax your neck? Excellent Masseuse told me to take a minute to think, “My neck and shoulders are relaxed” every night before going to sleep. I try, but I can’t tell if my neck is relaxing or not. I have to tense it up and then relax it in order to feel any different.
In the novel I was writing, the main character, a gay man named Terry, inherits the coffee shop where he works when his boss, who had no other friends, dies suddenly of a heart attack. Terry decides to turn the coffee shop into a wellness centre and goes to a seminar for New Age Entrepreneurs, where, amidst the organic granola bars and soy smoothies he meets a yoga teacher about to open his own studio, a very tall man named Umberto. They fall in love and I am sure they will live happily ever after even if I don’t write their story.
I feel good about letting it go. Since I wrote the last words, over 2 weeks ago, I have hardly given it a passing thought except to be relieved that I don’t have to feel guilty about lying on the floor for half an hour instead of writing. I have precious little time to myself and I am simply not willing to give it up for anything right now. My resistance to the idea of disciplining myself to spend every free moment of my day creating an alternate universe leads me to believe that the peace and quiet I am sometimes lucky enough to enjoy during the middle of my day is alternate universe enough for the time being.