Now What?

I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was Monday morning and the Curmudgeonly Lion had already left for work, so I had the house to myself for about forty five minutes. Normally, I would’ve used that time for writing, but the draft was finished now. Finished and spell checked. Finished and spell checked and printed, laboriously, on the household printer: requiring a new ink cartridge and multiple infusions of paper. It was time for me to stop picking at it, already.

I contented myself (no pun intended) by creating a table of contents and a title page and a handful of other small formatting tasks. Trying to be near the work without actually working on it. I’d promised myself that I’d put it aside for the summer: the whole summer, and let it rest. But I’d worked on it so long and hard that now I was struggling to let go. I’d spent the weekend occupying myself with social pursuits: going to a friend’s Game Night on Saturday, taking a scenic drive along the coast with the Curmudgeonly Lion on Sunday, going to another friend’s housewarming party afterwards, and after that hosting my writer’s group. I did laundry. I taught myself how to make Cornish pasties (*Actually, they’re only considered Cornish pastys if they come from the Cornwall region of Great Britain, otherwise they’re just sparkling meat pies*); Anything to keep my mind occupied.

But now it was Monday morning and now I was getting on the bus for my morning commute, and now what was I going to do?

Surf social media, is what.

I’m sure there were more productive things that I could do with my time, but I caught myself avoiding them. I’d spent so much time in the company of this particular muse that now I didn’t know what to do without a project at hand. Now that I’d completed the story, would the voice leave me? Had I set enough of it free that it wouldn’t need me anymore? This character had belonged to me for so long that he felt like family: but he wouldn’t be mine forever- as soon as people began reading his story he would belong to them. And maybe the book would take off and gain a life of its own- a part of me felt this was inevitable- and then he would be bigger than me and evolve in unexpected ways that I wouldn’t be able to help our control.

I hoped the world would be good to him, but there were no guarantees.

I thought I might be starting to understand what parents go through.

So, I spent the day in a kind of neutral holding pattern between feelings- waiting for some reaction to hit. A sense of victory or a sense of loss or a sense of satisfaction…

It didn’t really hit until therapy. I was trying to describe my sense of self and suddenly strong emotions bubbled up over the fear of losing this part of me that had gotten me through such a tumultuous time in my life. I wondered whether I needed to let go- to set this part of myself free. Aurelius pointed out that i wouldn’t really be losing a part of myself: that this part of me was just as connected to me as any other person: real or remembered or invented and that I couldn’t lose that. I wasn’t sure I understood completely, but I felt reassured.

So, I gave myself permission to stay near the work for a while: to write up a summary, to update my query letter, to consider questions to ask my beta readers. With a little time and space, hopefully something new will come along to seize my attention.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 1, 2019.

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