This week? I am noveling. Still. Still and still and still. I say this like it’s a bad thing, but really it’s just a … hard… thing. An attention-taking thing. An otherworldly thing. Like reading a novel, writing a novel also takes me to another place and space and time and world. I find it hard to surface and return to day-to-day things like bill paying and blogging and doing the dishes. This, I know, sounds like addiction. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it’s an addiction shrouded in creativity.
Today, I realize this: Noveling is completely different for me from writing short stories.
Writing short stories is like eating chips. Little nibbles here and there, put them back in the cupboard. Come back a day later, sample again. Short and sweet. Sometimes, big indulgences, but mostly little bits and bites.
Noveling is like a twenty-course meal. You have to dress the part, prepare to sit there through the appetizer and first small plates. Through the great conversations and the horrible man who hits on you with spinach in his teeth. You have to sit there even when you don’t know which fork to use, when you’ve lost your napkin and stained your dress, when you are so full that another bite will surely make you explode. It is getting dark, your hosts want you to go home, they’re sighing, go home already, and still you have to sit there. There are dishes to be done, and food to be thrown away and children to put in their beds. And still. You. At the table. Your empty plate and full belly, your stained shirt and drink-flushed face. Your uncertainty about what to say next, where to go, what to do. And so you sit and sit and sit. And the food spoils rotten and melts away. The flies come. The plates crack. Your lips too. You might dream. You certainly sleep. Or at the least, there is darkness.
And there, finally is a new day, bright enough to blind, and you can see everything before you as it really is. Delight and dirt, the gorgeous decadence of cobwebbed cake, the lovely shine of a wet-licked fork. And it is time, finally, to rise from the chair. To push it away from the table and step back into the reality of the world for a little while.
That’s how I novel.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.