I am staring down the barrel of eight solid hours of desk-warming. I am here, just barely on time. I have on no makeup and am 100% wearing sweatpants and sneakers (I have on a striped top to distract from this truth). There are no students until April. My grades are done and besides for some light reflections and preparation for the next school year, I have very little to do. So I am here to write, essentially. Write and research.
Research is by far the easier side of the whole writing scheme. Research is where I get enthusiastic. Writing is where I get sleepy, mainly due to bearing the weight of my anxieties regarding capital w Writing. The whole point of having a day job is so that I can write without worrying about Writing. And yet, and yet, like so many before me, and so many after me, the day job gets all the energy and the writing subsists on the dregs, frail, exhausted dregs. This means when I do actually put words to paper, they feel more precious. Which is a bad thing as words are not a limited commodity.
Right now, I am researching for a novel that will be my second novel. Well, technically my third. A long, long time ago, when I was pregnant with my fourth kid, in desperation, I wrote a novel called The Timeless. I was trying to write a cheap book for Amazon and it was a cheap book for Amazon. It was about a group of ageless people, immortals, living in this mortal world. They were endowed with gene-repairing elements in their bodies. They were not superheros, not Highlanders, not anything, just one-offs of the human species. I had listened to an interview about gene-repair and the possibility that soon we would get to a point where we could become immortal and the idea came from there. It was a small thread of an idea and my writing was small as a result. Nothing was fleshed out. It was timid and terrible. It was a classic first novel. (To be fair to my desperate writer self, I did write it before a lot of other books by the same name and concept were written. I was actually told to pull it due to copyright infringement, despite the fact that I believe I was ripped off and just hadn’t thought well enough of the idea to copyright it first. )
With my second novel, I am writing about a family here in Japan. It involves Japanese mythology as well as bi-cultural family dynamics and the role of the media in shaping our perspective. It is about belief, it is about shapeshifters, it is about courageous children. I am almost finished researching it but it is going to be huge when I am finished, epic even. I have learned a lot with this one despite the fact that my enthusiasm has waned a million times. I have come to accept that enthusiasm is a frivolous, albeit fun, feeling. It is like having a crush on someone. A light fizziness that makes you feel full even if it is empty.
To continue with this metaphor for a moment, writing a novel, on the other hand, is a marriage. A lot of hard work, all uphill; you are lonely and doubtful and prone to throwing things across the room. You might not finish it and even when you do, you will always have regrets.
(And then there is writing, both lower and upper case. Writing is like being in love. You are compelled, the longing is unshakable and never far from your mind. You would sacrifice everything for it, if need be, devote yourself completely to it. )
Right now I am married to my second novel and flirting with my third. I was going to get a divorce but I think there is something left in the marriage, something worth the fight. The third novel brings me back to Florida but also gives me the opportunity to research the occult and quantum physics. And in the meantime, I am writing two short stories, one about a dystopian Tokyo and the other about a teenager raising a half-shapeshifting baby. Both of which I hope to finish during this long stretch of desk-warming.
And now, of course, I should be working on those stories that I am so smitten with but I am here, with you. Procrastinating. As usual.
Jya, one more cup of coffee and I am good to start. And look at that, two hours gone already. With only six more to go after that. (As well as the next three weeks.) Okay, okay, I am going. Dystopian Tokyo wasn’t built in a day, you know. (Well, actually it became a dystopia in a matter of minutes but the aftermath takes time.)