Not a full story mind you, but a thought, a kernel of an idea. It was compelling and I wanted to get the concept down before it faded so I rolled out of bed and booted up scrivener and started typing.
At first it was just generalities, there was this couple and they did a thing and then something happened, all so I could dump it out on a page. Just a page. 1 page I figured, and then I’ll break fast.
But 1 page became 3 and then 10 and I still had something I needed to get out so I kept on writing.
It felt good. Really, really good. I am used to having ideas flow when inspiration hits, but this was something new. The first time that I truly felt like a muse had sat down in a chair beside me and whispered into my ear.
As I wrote, the plot became evident, and then the theme settled over my shoulders like a mantle, an aegis, and I wrote and wrote. Through breakfast, through lunch, I wrote until dinner before I was finished. Before I had it all out.
It sort of felt like I was holding a fire hose all day onto which somebody had installed a garden nozzle and I desperately held on, hoping to get it drained before it burst.
When the dust settled I had hammered out 7,500 words. I don’t know if that is great, or good, or ok. I don’t believe it matters in that sense anyway, because 1,000 good words trumps 5,000 shitty words any day of the week, but I was feeling the high.
After dinner I wanted to get back to it and fix up the beginning generalities that I had started with. An hour later I had added almost 2,000 more words (and erased a few for good measure), for a grand total of almost 9,000 words.
This is a personal best that I have filed away on a mental shelf to pull out and dust off and internally gloat over during some of those dark, wordless days I know are coming.
So yesterday was a good writing day.
This morning I asked my wife to sit down and read it. I was still feeling pretty cocky about my skillz and needed her to bring me back down to earth. She’s a very practical person and she doesn’t often gush over artistic endeavors, which can be very sobering. If I can get an ‘It was good’ out of her then I’m ecstatic.
So I watched the kids, and she went and read the PDF that I compiled out of scrivener (love this writing product by the way – go buy it!) and paced impatiently for an hour while she read.
By the time she finally decamps from the computer room I’m feeling pretty anxious, and her face is hard to read, very blase, and I can’t wait, so I start asking the typical questions. “So, what did you think?” “Was it okay?” “Did it make sense?”
And that’s when she started to cry.
She couldn’t really verbalize why: It was terrible (what occurred in the story, not my story itself) and terrifying. It hit her deeply and it took her a while to compose herself again.
So now I’m torn.
I feel terrible that I have given my wife the gift of a small breakdown, horrible that I made her cry.
But then I really had to fight hard to not smile while she was crying because, shit, MY writing made HER cry.
Right now I’m feeling pretty stunned about the whole experience, slightly ‘out of body’. I need to put some more work into the story still, it’s not whole and it needs a coat of paint (there are a few rough tense shifts and grammar problems, some ambiguity – but hey, I was writing fast) but I think I’m going to walk away from it for a few days. Let it settle, and then come back at it fresh.
It will also give me more time to ride this high before I have to get back into that particular trench and clean out the last mile.
Happy writing, from the Prefect Writer.