September 18, 2020
Alaska Bridge, a place to cure restlessness

A Writer’s Restlessness

This morning I feel restless.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired still–

climbing to alleviate restlessness
I swear I get on the wall too, but no one takes a picture of me climbing. They must be dumbfounded by the sight.

I’ve been trying to up my climbing game and the skin on my fingers is peeling, I have blisters between my first and second knuckles, and my forefingers ache.

But my brain is restless.  So I finished reading Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel–I know I talk about her and her work a great deal, but it’s because I’m in love with how she paints her main character. How Thomas Cromwell is both opaque to the other characters and transparent to the reader. The time she writes about is convoluted and complex, with so many players and wills, and the changes in that time’s landscape we still feel today.

But after I finished reading the book–spoiler alert–Anne Boelyn dies (gasp!), I am still restless.  But at least I have figured out why.

I am restless because I want to write.  I finished large edits on Friday, handed the draft to a beta reader, and now I feel like I ought to sit on my hands (at least in regard to that book) for a few days.  So yesterday I edited a short story I wrote last week, while I procrastinating about those edits. I did some of the tedious ends of this business, looking for places to submit my work.

There are a few other (at least three) books in my brain I could start in on.  I am excited, but trepidatious.

They used to bungee jump off of this bridge in Alaska. We visited there a few years ago on a motorcycle trip to McCarthy.  Andy said he’d done it. I say: No.

Like stepping off a bridge with a bungee cord strapped to my feet (I would actually never do this.  Instant vomit comet, and with that whole gravity thing, I’m afraid of where that would go).

The anticipation of starting in on the book I have as a draft half-written brings me a great deal of joy, as long as I don’t start it.  All of the rest of my work, waiting to hear back from submissions, beta readers, etc, that’s okay, but the good chance of rejection ruins that writer’s high.

So I guess I have to go–I have a draft to get reacquainted with. I’ve been waiting to get to this moment for months. So that’s my pep talk.

Psst:  anyone who is reading this who is an artist: GO DO YOUR ART.  PUT DOWN THE DEVICE, BACK AWAY SLOWLY, AND GO DO YOUR ART.

The writer’s restlessness doesn’t stem from boredom, it stems from unused creativity.

You can quote that from yours truly.

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