I've been thinking about this post for weeks but haven't put it up yet, at least in part because The Sinus Infection That Doesn't Die seems to have taken up residence in my head and I would swear that it seeps into my brain. Oozes, maybe.
A few...days? weeks?...ago, LL Barkat posted this, where she features a letter to her being-born book. It fed her mind and her writing and allowed her to come back to it with different eyes. Since then, I've written several letters to my first-drafted novel, and this is a conglomeration of all of them. I'd hoped to find, in the writing of these letters, what wasn't working about the book, because my intuition told me something had broken and I didn't know what. I did figure out the problem, and I'd like to think the letters contributed at least a bit.
I love you. I feel like I need to say that straight out, so I don't forget it in the wandering, confused place I feel like we've entered in the last several days. Because it is confusing to know that I love you and also that something isn't working. I feel like I've almost abandoned you, like the temptation is to leave behind what doesn't work and find something that does. But the truth is, no matter where I go from here, something will always be unfinished if I let you languish in this state. I'll look at you out of the corner of my eye, pretending not to see but really seeing nothing else, and I'll always wonder what might have been.
I don't like wondering what might have been. This dislike seems to have served me well thus far, having played a key role in netting me, at the very least, a husband. So I trust it again, and plug away at looking you square in the face and finding a shape that fits both what you've become and what I want to say, through you, to the world. You will be finished, someday, even if it's only so I can point to you and say, "That? That was my first novel," and beam with pride.
So I'll sit with you, if that's what it takes, though I don't promise a terribly high tolerance for banging my head on the wall. I'll sit with you and try to figure out how to put the pieces together a different way. I'll walk around and around you, looking at all the angles until I find one that works. And then I'll rebuild, if I have to, or at least rearrange, until the pieces fall together in a different way.
This process feels like one big game of pickup sticks, that most frustrating and odious of games, or maybe Jenga, which was always a lot more fun. Either way, I want to pull from you what is unnecessary, what doesn't work, and leave in place your core, your weight-bearing walls. Of those, I'll tear down what I have to, though I'd rather not bring the whole house down on my head.
Off we go, then, on this journey into...well, into wherever we're going. I suppose you're going to tell me that it wouldn't be nearly as much fun if I knew where we'd end up and, begrudgingly, I'll agree. So let's go, already. Let us away!