Three hundred and ninety-six pages. I finished the rewrite, sent it off, and suffered a day or two of fuzzy/nervous/giddy-tired energy. I cleaned my house, a task that has not been properly attended to in five or six months. I googled recipes with ridiculous confines: low-fat, low-calorie, easy, five-ingredient, chicken. Then, added: fast. I fantasized about having an extravagent holiday open-house, adding a patio to our backyard, actually hanging up the curtains I ordered for the bathroom months ago. Reading every book in my to-be-read pile. I decided I would map out the rest of my daughter's home-school year, week by week. Plan a garden. I will read Einstein's papers, the Bible, Genesis to Revelation.
Then came the exhaustion, the true exhaustion. All the adrenoline leaked out sometime in the middle of the night and I slept like a dead person. I just didn't move. Two new cold sores popped up. A sore back. And, because there were sandcrabs mentioned late in the book, residual sandcrabs flashed at the oddest moments. They simply sprang to mind, and I saw it happen again and again: they crawled into miniature sand-dunes, a wave washed them out, and they went crawling, burrowing in once again.
What I was seeing was myself over the last several months: being washed out of Goliath, the small factory town that serves as a setting for my novel, and burrowing back in time and time again. Trying to find another sweet spot, another place in the wet sand to push in, enter. I think the writer can appreciate the tenacity, the single-mindedness of the sandcrab.
Giddy-energy, exhaustion, and now--always--gratitude. What amazes me is how the work continues to be its own reward. The harder I work, the more it takes from me, the sharper my writerly instinct becomes, the more stubbornness it requires, the better this writing life is.
Geez, I love this stuff. Love it, love it. Am I crazy?