on its way to full

So Thursday morning was luxuriously wide open and the plan was to write a blog post and read about 50 pages of the novel I’m working on. I read the first paragraph of the novel about ten times and then put the papers down. Okay, blog post. Nothing. I answered a few emails and then found myself staring at some website–not reading or thinking or even looking out the window. Just zonked.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I’d been working on my essay for this next packet–on narrative distance in beginnings–how to choose whether to begin with “It was a dark and stormy night” or “a woman”or “Ms. Last” or “Angelina Last” or “Angelina” or “she.” Now I had time to work on other things, but it seemed as if there was nothing left up there to work with.

So on Thursday morning when, out of the blue, a friend called to see if I wanted to go to a movie at 1:30, I knew that was exactly what I needed–to get out of this room and away from this screen. To get lost in another world. I couldn’t even remember the last movie I’d seen. The rest of the afternoon, I listened to music and read. It was as if I could see the needle moving past 1/4, past 1/2, and on its way to full.

10 thoughts on “on its way to full

  1. Oh, we’ve all been there! Sometimes you just need to walk away from the writing, and do something else, don’t you? I think sometimes we need time off because our brains are actually chewing on something, and we’re not even aware of it. (It sounds like you are chewing on narrative distance, and what distance you want to be writing from.) Well, I hope you enjoy the movie and the time off. I love these photographs, by the way, that go with this post. They make me feel I’m inhabiting a lovely, shadowy space. Best, Kim


    • I just hated to be wasting all that uninterrupted time when I could have read my ms straight through. And I do know what you’re talking about: when you’ve been at your desk all day and you go take a shower or get in the car to drive somewhere and your brain, finally released from your strings, pops into creative mode. But in this case, it was some sort of cumulative burn-out all the way through. My brain was not chewing on anything, not functioning at all.

      Much better though now and back at work.


  2. I love this post, your honesty and the images especially. Yes, sometimes it’s best to not work. You clearly deserved it. Check out YA fiction for narrative distance – it’s in your face; it’s so close.

    My daughter and I enjoyed “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” too. That was the perfect film for you to see that day. Although I love the way Elizabeth Strout writes, I didn’t like Amy and Isabelle half as much as Olive Kitteridge. Fun to see your links.

    Friday we last power so my friends talked me into bagging work for a 2-hour lunch at a new Greek restaurant in town. I feel refreshed, and now I’m working on a similar post.


    • Thanks, Sarah. Yes, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” was perfect for the day. Amy and Isabelle is a reread for me–to look at the voice of the narrator. I preferred Olive Kitteridge too. I enjoy writing so much I often fail to make time for the other things I enjoy–like going to a movie. Thank goodness sometimes my body insists.


  3. It’s amazing how quickly a day can fill up. I’m typing this as I sit at the start of a perfectly wide open Saturday. I’m sure I’ll blink and it will be gone.


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