Monday, November 16, 2009

Fiction writer at work--or not

I am cynical of fiction writers who say they LOVE writing. Give me a break.

I love having written. I love having a new book arrive in the post. It hasn't happened often enough.

What I love even more is finding ways to avoid writing: a door needs to be painted today, the shower door needs LimeAway today; I need to file five years worth of paper today. I have a cold. I'm aging. I'm demented. So many reasons not to write.

But today, Monday, the beginning of a new week, I said I would write and exercise. Bonanza goals. And I did both and read a great deal of a Pat Barker Trilogy, REGENERATION, about World War I and the British poets who died in it. I did not make my bed, though.

Back to writing: I sat dutifully and comfortably on the sofa with my lap top and bled out a page of new writing. Then I looked up the definition of "besotted" on the Microsoft dictionary, and then in a moment of fiery self-destruction, I deleted the page I'd written instead of the dictionary page. I jumped up and flayed my limbs and repeated the s-word more times than you care to know.

I ate a Lindt dark chocolate ball.

I thought of that Hemingway novel, where a young writer and his wife travel through Europe staying in small hotels. The protagonist, unlike me, works at his novel every morning. The wife is lovely, young. He is "besotted" by her. It turns out she is also mentally ill and when the novel is almost finished she shreds up the manuscript in a fit of rage.

This is the good part. Hemingway has his writer-protagonist get up the next morning and start the same novel over again. That's what writers do, I remember thinking.

And that's what I did today. I sat down and rewrote the page. So I "have written" and I have "rewritten."

I'm feeling quite smug.


Robin said...

S-word = Stupid, right?

From the Colorado Springs library today I have a slightly tattered copy of "The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman". I plan to read it on the plane this Sunday.


whirligigdaisy said...

Ugh. This sounds too much like my life. Only I didn't write so I didn't have a page to accidentally delete. So feel proud Louise, feel very proud. Have two dark chocolates. You deserve that. . . and more.

ann cannon said...

Robin, KATE BJORKMAN is one of my favorite books ever. Ever!

You only ate one Lindt chocolate ball? I call you master.

Katy said...

I love you like crazy. I read this out loud to Bryce, and he was laughing too. His favorite Hemingway short story is "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place."

I'm glad you rewrote the page.

Louise Plummer said...

Robin, I'm glad to hear it's been read.

Whirligigdaisy, I can only have one Lindt ball a day. Three Lindt balls are 220 calories. It' disgusting that I know this.

Ann, master of my domain!

Katy, I love "A Clean Well Lighted Place." I hope it's not true. It ends with "nada."

Gold-E said...

Oh so many times have I deleted a work of art only to have to start all over. For me it's never as good the second time.

If it makes you feel any better, I only make my bed when the cleaning lady is coming over. I know, kind of defeats the purpose of a cleaning lady, but I wouldn't want her to think I'm a complete slob :D

Louise Plummer said...

Gold-E, Ha ha ha, I used to clean for my cleaning lady too. So we clean out of shame. It's funny.