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9:40 p.m. - February 15, 2003
It's less a re-cap and more an excuse to look away from the work I'm supposed to be doing, to have done. But that is the privilege of being a writer, telling your editor I'm not done yet and there is little she can do. I think.
Working on the book tonight Ė surprise Ė and revisiting a section I think is weaker than it ought. Just cannot let go. The just is dismissive and I know why Iím struggling with revisions following revisions following revisions that donít really need to be tweaked, but knowing the reason Ė or is it only a symptom? Ė doesnít galvanize what Barbara-the-Editor likely considers a proper response. At disparate moments throughout the day certain passages will come to mind and Iíll think But I could render it this way and the cycle goes for another spin, just like a Tibetan prayer wheel but lacking the bits of paper and cloth fluttering. If anything, itís my mind that flutters and cannot settle down between deciding whether to use a semicolon, create two separate sentences, or scrap it all in favor of something else. Iíve got to get a handle on this Ė this is only the first book and there are five more. One and five; a ratio, 1 : 5; 20%; not even halfway close to passing Ė I can think of it in scholastic terms as a motivator but even this, too, lacks the momentum Iím seeking. What a pain to realize the inner cheerleaderís graduated and moved on after I inked the contract.

Iíve been working on this for too long and have nothing to show for my time.

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Specís been making an effort but he approaches things the wrong way. Out of the blue he turned towards me and asked, Tell me about what it was like to be abused and how that might affect our relationship now, as if he memorized the line from a self-help book or Dr. Phil and I was taken aback by his straightforward request. I donít know how to talk about it and generally resist the notion Ė hence, minimal progress with the former therapist Ė and thereís no way Iíll talk about it during the day. Yeah, during the day. For the longest time I didnít understand that either, until I realized that I blush and feel ashamed and itís easier to hide at night. That was another in-traffic moment Ė I resist saying epiphany only because Iím resisting pretentiousness as well tonight; one must, with Spec Ė but itís one thing to make a connection and another to engage in communication. Told him we could talk about it later and he said No, no, letís talk now and so we did a bit, talked about the difficulty Iím having in developing a timeline or a sequence of events and reconciling that with the images and sounds and the physical sensations that creep about and sometimes overwhelm. He asked about my dreams at night and that was sensitive, but how many times has he lain there next to me wide awake and not run off into another bed? He says I talk in my sleep and utter the oddest phrases Ė but he couldnít recall any Ė and overall I kept the discussion superficial and it wasnít difficult to talk about. Thereís a relationship between superficiality and degree of difficulty, I realize. Iím increasing my dodging skills.

But the thing that strikes me most is that Iím having an easier time talking about it in general. Things get rocky when I try to make correlations between then and now and become frustrated at feeling a lack of control, like Iím caught up in this current that springs from his mouth like that Indian goddess; zero authentic me, just a series of reactions to something I didnít put into place. I hate that feeling of being a pawn, of not being able to call the shots. So we talked, he asked a few questions about what I remember most, about the images, and I told him itís more like listening to a story and you leave now and then for pee breaks, returning and itís a different part of the story but still the same story. Looking at it this way does little to calm me down when I become afraid of the wind but it has to be good, doesnít it? And then in the middle of our talk I blurted out Thatís why I donít like smokers, because he smoked and I couldnít stand the smell and then I thought Maybe? I distrust smokers automatically because of him? I donít know and thatís the truly insidious part of everything, this self-doubt I have and goes back to the being adrift in somebody elseís current. How sure can I be about things, especially things that arenít linear? And the inclination to dismiss it wonít succeed because I know. I just know.

And Spec took all this in and didnít say anything and I wondered if he wasnít paying attention and I felt hurt. He said itís a lot to absorb and I became irritated; if you canít handle it, then donít ask.

Thatís all. My eyes are tired and I want to go to sleep.

 

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