Loose ends and junk drawers

I’m at loose ends. It was bound to happen: in the space between finishing one large project (a draft of a handbook for a client) and staring down another one (nothing special, yo, just hunkering down to complete the second draft of my novel manuscript), all those niggling things that I thought I would do with great satisfaction once I had the time now feel kind of lame. I don’t want to look back on the space of these precious few, relatively unscheduled days in between and think, “Well, I organized the junk drawer and made some hummus. And bought those AAA batteries.” I want profound things, but I’m not exactly sure what those things are or how to achieve them. And I am, at this point, sane enough to know that a pristinely organized house is a) not the answer, b) won’t last, and c) not possible. Especially not as the mercury rises in the city that was awarded the distinction of being the hottest place in Canada just Monday. I thought we moved away from Toronto for precisely this reason.

I could go to the gym, but in this sort of mood the idea of running or swimming to nowhere seems like the wrong approach, just more busywork to fill the void as opposed to, say, embracing it. I am a bad relaxer: we all know that. Or now we do.

Let’s say this: let’s say that I will look back on this time and see myself hovering just out of sight of a precipice that leads to brilliance. Let’s say that I’m going to dive off, within 72 hours or so, into an air-conditioned, Internet-free space for hours each day in which my only choice will be to get into my characters’ heads and lives and stay there, keeping all the plates in the air until they have come to some kind of resolution – whether that’s neatly stacked back on the shelf or smashed to smithereens, or somewhere in between. Let’s say that I’m going to write all this stuff down even when it hurts, even when the junk drawer or the Lego pieces or the hallway dimmer switch seem like an oasis in a dry land.

Let’s say that this is a necessary part of the process. Let’s just say that, and maybe I’ll prove that I’m right.

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Maybe this is a sign: I'm up on Shmutzie’s Five-Star Friday posting this week. Well, rather, Rob is, for his post on surviving a week alone with my boys. Have a look.