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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All Day

Today I spent all day sneaking up on my book.

I read the entire internet and made popcorn and worked on a picture book and did the crossword puzzle. Because I have been writing books for more than 20 years, I recognize that this certainty of failure is not only not fatal to me personally, but not even a mortal injury to the current book. That doesn't make it any less terrifying or paralyzing. Nor do the long years of our acquaintance make me and this pit of I don't have a clue how to do this friendly. We hate each other. We're a married couple in a terrible Tennessee Williams play, or maybe Edward Albee.

And it's not just that I don't have a clue how to write THIS book. I don't know how to write ANY book. Or even a coherent sentence.

Muffins. I could make banana muffins. I often make banana muffins on days like this. And in fact I have four bananas that are pretty much shouting at me from across the room to PLEASE peel them and throw them with some sugar and butter and flour into the stand mixer.

I resisted. All day I resisted the siren song of those four bananas. Banana muffins would be capitulating to the beast of CAN'T WRITE THIS FRIGGING BOOK.

And now, just 40 minutes ago, I made a small dent, a change of a sentence from close past to further away, moving the event described in that sentence from earlier today to two months ago... and there it is. The way forward (and back) from here is suddenly clear, or clearer.

Maybe tomorrow I'll find myself again at the bottom of that deep hole. I'll probably make the muffins -- the bananas' destiny calls, after all -- but right now it's just before 7PM and though to any objective observer I accomplished a rounding error from ZERO today, I feel relieved. Maybe even proud.

It was a good writing day.

How was yours?

Rachel Vail

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rachel!

    It is such an awesome honor and gift to discover you. My son Jude and I were roaming around the "junk shop" about a month ago when we came upon this awesome book "Mama Rex and T: Turn Off TV," which I grabbed because we don't watch TV and also because I am always looking for mother/son single mom stories.

    I expected to read something lecturey which you often find in kids books about not watching TV, which I was okay with since I really don't want Jude to end up raised on the tube like I was in the seventies and the consequent ways I struggled (struggle!) with reality! But... what I found was much better. You have captured me and my son exactly. I immediately ordered a bushel of Mama T and Rex stories from amazon and we are reading and loving them over and over.

    It is so validating to see myself (and some of the parts of myself I am not completely proud of) depicted in such a loving humanasoar way. I can't even begin to thank you for the many gifts these books have given us and will continue to do so as we peruse the series...

    As a writer, teacher, and writing therapist, I go on and on about the deep healing that comes out of seeing oneself on the page, and the entire process and content is life changing... my mantra is "write your truth"... it's amazing to see how that is played out in fiction! What a pleasant amazing dreamy surprise to see how much reading oneself in the pages of a children's book can incite so much healing. I am deeply grateful to you, Rachel! I can go on and on...

    Look forward to reading the rest and the others as JJ ages on... Hope to meet you someday and perhaps write together even... you are a gift! Namaste and much love, Rox www.writingwithrox.blogspot.com