I finished, finally, completing edits on another manuscript. This one won’t be published for a while. This was a side project between Metal Fatigue and my next memoir. I wrote the first draft more than a year ago, and I decided it was time to polish it up and get it ready to be included in a collection of shorter works. I am now filled with excitement and dread about starting the next full-length project.
I am excited at the thought of having written it. Since I haven’t started yet, the past tense of writing is a long way off, but I am motivated by the idea of having another book completed, published, and on the shelf. I also like the thought of having written something that readers will enjoy, of course. I have some funny and thoughtful things to say in this next book, I promise. But my excitement is for the end of the process. The journey has some promise, but I know there will be bad stuff along the way, including sloth, anxiety, loneliness, and tedium.
I still remember how hard writing the last one was. The memories of that excruciating process are beginning to fade, but they are still in my mind. The choice to start writing another book is a male writer’s version of a woman choosing to have another child. I know that’s a bold claim, and I don’t mean to overstate it, but I suspect if a woman could recall the actual physical sensations that come with pregnancy and childbirth (for example, crowning looks exceedingly unpleasant), very few would choose to become pregnant a second time.
The human mind has a remarkable ability to remember the past, but, thankfully, it deletes the pain and suffering from the files. I think I’ve forgotten enough of the labor pains from the last book to get started.
Of course, I also have to overcome inertia. I have lust for inactivity, particularly when a television is nearby. I especially enjoying sitting still watching television with my family. I do sometimes write while sitting with my family as they watch TV, but I try to get a bit of distance from distractions when I am deep into a writing project. I am more productive when I am alone, but being alone can be lonely, and I’m not great at loneliness.
I’ve done everything I can to delay getting started – including editing a draft manuscript and grilling dishes that would seem ungrillable such as pizza and chile verde, which I will blog about another time – but the time to write has come. I must open up the folders of memorabilia and journal entries from my family’s trip to Europe last summer and put my fingers to the keyboard.
Stay tuned for tales of failed attempts to leave tips at Swiss restaurants (it’s harder than you think), riding in elevators that were similar in size to the pneumatic tubes at the bank, and learning that Abbey Road – made famous by The Beatles – is not found at the Abbey Road station on the Underground. In a separate writing project, I am still working on my sternly-worded letter to the London Underground route planners who decided to put the not famous Abbey Road on their map. Grr!