It’s 1:30am on a Saturday night and I am a) home – I know, right? – b) extraordinarily tired and c) unable to sleep. Last night’s chemically-enhanced six-and-a-half hour dance session to Limewax might have something to do with the first two, but sleep is something I rarely have a problem with. And I swear I was two inches from passing out from sheer exhaustion driving home from G’s old house. So what gives? Is this what insomniacs feel all the time? How hellish.
Scrivener says I am 4,329 words into my new story but it doesn’t feel like that much. I have sketched perhaps a third of the story in fragments only and the more I write, the more of the story I find, and the more I can feel it burning at the back of my head. There’s a point where “I want to write a story” becomes rather a matter of “this story wants to be written”. It’s lame (not to mention an incredible clich?) to say that stories and characters take on a life of their own (and anyone who says so ought to be first punched in the face and then evaluated for schizophrenia) but there is an awesome kind of momentum that happens when you’ve written enough to really feel the shape of the story to come. The unwritten segments start haunting the empty lines, like backwards phantoms – ghosts of things that don’t yet exist, slowly pushing into being. (Perhaps it’s creativity, not immortality, that is the reversal of death.) They follow you around, pulling at your sleeves, distracting you at the most inappropriate moments (in a bar without a pen or paper, ten minutes before the news goes to air, that cloudy place on the cusp of sleep) until you pin them down and give them shape.
The toughest part is getting the skeleton of the story built. I am about halfway through the transition period now, between wanting to write and needing to write. I can keep the lid on it for a little while longer, but another few thousand words and I might suddenly fall off the planet. Six months ago I was wondering how I would fill 10,000 words. This time I think I will be lucky if I turn out less than 50,000. I medicated myself out of writing for three months with alcohol and weed, but the bug comes back within a few days, and stronger than before. Now don’t think I could stop if I wanted to, and that’s not even thinking about the story I’m supposed to be writing for my Masters.
This is not complaining, although it may look like that, taken at face value. I don’t think I could be happy any other way.