Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Frell. I woke up almost two hours later than I'd intended, and now I have to rush, because I have to get my pages done today and go to the market to get everything I need for the dinner I'm cooking for Spooky tonight. At least we already got the wine.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,283 words on "The Dry Salvages," bringing the total to 23,983 words.
And I began exercising again. One of the things that would-be writers should be forewarned of, and never are, is the toll that writing takes on your body. Sitting in a chair, all day, every day, writing. I was in very good shape once, really. Then I began writing. Now, all those things that kept me in good shape are consigned to my distant past and I have to force myself to endure painful and painfully boring exercise. I was never any good at exercise. It was always something I had to get as a by-product of something that I actually wanted to be doing. But now I have no choice. Stairmaster and hand weights or death. I think most writers choose death. Taken as a whole, we are a doughy, portly lot. Of course, these days, Americans in general are a doughty, portly lot. Anyway, I refuse, even unto pain of exercise; I shall not let myself go entirely.
Which brings me to Matter the Next. I believe that I've reached one of those crisis points and I'm writing about it here because it pertains directly to my writing. I have worked myself to a tattered shadow and, when I've finished "The Dry Salvages," I must have some sort of substantial break. Not just days when I can't write, but days when I'm not expected to write, during which I can rest and reload. It's making me sick again. The last time I got this bad was towards the end of 1999 and the consequences were rather dire. This time I will intervene on my own behalf. Never mind that I have not one moment to spare for such a break, I must have it anyway. At least the space of a week. I need months, truly. I need time to go out and fill my head and soul with The World, with all those aspects of it which I loathe and regret and love, with the faces and words and actions of men (which I cannot fathom), with Nature, with light and darkness, stars and sun. With the sea and with cities. Museums and galleries. Graveyards and ruin. A world which I can at least pretend is outside my psyche, sensory fragments from this bubble frozen in the forever-expanding matrix of chaotic eternal inflation. I need a break, that's all.
I try not to unduly romaticize the lifestyle of the writer. That romance is mostly a lie and people who come to this life seeking it, believing in it, requiring it, will find only oceans of monotony. But it's also an endeavor unlike most others. And you cannot sit day in and day out, indefinitely, telling stories, spinning pretty sentences. At least I cannot. There comes a bottom of the bucket, and I have to find the well again.
P.S. -- It's Christmas. Time for eBay!