Old Man Saturn: Ditch of Dreams

I feel like, despite the unmistakable mountain of dishes waiting to be washed and an impending grocery delivery later this morning in the freezing Hamilton Morning weather, which feels a bit more like late January than early March, but anyway… I made it to morning, and it feels like one worth taking part in. So far, so good, anyway.

In other news, I’m starting to understand my problem with the novel project, because… get this… I’ve been trying to enter a new territory that has been carefully walled off and allowed to fester for about one century starting pretty much yesterday (or last year, something like that), and I’m trying to get my papers in order so they’ll let me in through the front gate. Which is closed. And locked. Every day. But I can still hear things happening in there, and there is evidence that migrant workers are slipping in and out daily. I just have to pluck up my courage and pick a rusty fence

In other words, like I told myself on Goodreads (what? You thought that message was for you? Don’t be daft! I don’t even know if you exist. Obviously I was leaving myself bread crumbs. Read a book sometime, would you?): There is no such thing as writer’s block. There is only, always, and forever, the answer you least want to hear (yet).

In my case, I’ve been trying to curate and orchestrate the tempo and flavour of the opening. I’m trying to win auteur points, and without achieving an audience first. It’s an advanced case of Build It And They Will Cum (mise en place), only I actually thought I knew enough of the story to be able to hide and tease the reader with what I know, which turns out to not be the winning strategy. I’ve been trying to be a genial storyteller, when my tool set clearly includes a pith helmet, torch, and machete. Obviously, that means there will be no safe roads in

I’ve been acting a role consisting of two parts senior editor with a trusted author’s latest unseen manuscript, two parts Hollywood tour guide, and two parts real estate agent selling blocks to customers unseen using nothing more than hackneyed sales pitches and canned script instead of just answering the poor sap’s questions honestly.

So now I’m thinking about what question needs answering first, this morning. Asking the right question stops being impossible the minute you stop avoiding the hard questions and resign yourself to needing to take the slow path just as much as your audience. Oddly enough, getting to the heart of the answers you need seems slow and painful and completely unnecessary, as well as potentially dangerous, if you, like me, have a tendency of freezing up when confronted with an unknown variable in an area of previously-professed expertise.

The grocery delivery person (who, surprise, is always a man… here in Southern Ontario, at least. Systemic, do you think?) usually calls me via mobile phone to warn me of his ETA. It’s passed 7:30 am. So of course, I want to be in my fuzzy green bathrobe, drinking lukewarm tea of questionable vintage, whilst under headphones listening to crunchy progressive rock music and mouthing the words to the songs like an incantation, all in the somewhat suspect process of trying to initialise the new early morning writing ritual, which, predictable, looks and feels an awful lot like one or two of the old rituals, only without the sassy flourishes or misplaced air of self-assurance befitting an experienced professional writer, which I am taking great pains to remind myself that I am, in fact, not.

Feeling mighty proud of myself, but it’s actually going to be a horribly long slog from here to the peaks of Kilimanjaro, and I’m stuck waiting in the sitting room for the day to simply inform me that play time is over. It’s had to accept this before it becomes inevitable, however, because this state has a soft, comfortable habit of taking a week or more to clear off. The last four days of serious attempts to get back in harness have been met by a dizzying array of self-imposed mental barriers and IRL responsibilities that are nebulous and ever-present… like a Paul McCartney tune on the radio speakers overhead in the grocery store.

Speaking of groceries… I gotta go see a man.

Best Wishes,

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