March 5th, 2008

Book Book Book

Getting (re-)Started

Thanks for all the kind and encouraging words in response to my last post. To more fully explain my mental state, I offer this two-part cartoon:

Except with a lot less procrastination and a lot more piano-banging -- or in this case, laptop-banging.

I'm used to having three days twice a month where I can't write or even think straight; I've even come to factor those times into my overall writing schedule, because they're so predictable. This difficulty, on the other hand, can't be written down to any of the usual cyclical-hormonal factors, and it's unnerving me.

I knew I'd be in a bit of a slump after the exhilaration of finishing my revision of Knife: that was why I took a whole week off after finishing the book just to relax and think about other things. I was actually looking forward to getting back to Touching Indigo at the end of that hiatus -- but no matter how I tackled that first scene of Book II, it refused to come together. Even once I got the dialogue down, I couldn't make the narration happen.

And then I went back and looked at the work I'd done on Knife, which at the time I'd been so pleased with and generally proud of -- and I hated every word of it. I picked up another author's book, one I'd read before and enjoyed -- and I found fault with that, too. Which made plain that this was an irrational mental state rather than an objective problem with my ability to write -- but knowing that doesn't actually solve the problem, alas.

I don't feel that taking more time off is the solution, because aside from a few head-bashing attempts I've now taken at least two full weeks off writing -- actually closer to three. And the less I write the more frustrated and daunted I feel, and the more conscious that the lovely productive writing habits I built up over the ten weeks I was revising Knife are going down the toilet.

It would be nice to be able to embrace the "give yourself permission to write crap" philosophy and just hammer out something at random -- but while noble in intent and effective for many, that strategy doesn't work at all for me: if I think I'm writing crap I won't want to write at all. So right now the only thing I can think of is to keep doing something related to writing, even if it's only making notes. Something that allows me to feel like I'm making needed progress, without pressuring me to deliver a level of prose that my brain isn't up to at the moment.

Eventually this block will clear, I know.

I just wish I knew when.
A Pocket Full of Murder

On a happier note (literally!)

I've occasionally mentioned before that I sing as part of a vocal duo, performing at church services and conferences and so on. My fellow singer/pianist Marsha and I have been working together for the last three years, and we'd had so many people ask us whether we had a CD that we finally decided to do one. So since last September, we've been getting together every month or so to record at a private studio.

The album isn't finished yet -- we only have four tracks out of fourteen mixed so far -- but last session our producer gave us a copy of the rough mixes to take home, and it was neat to see how they turned out. So today, in a fit of presumptuous enthusiasm, I set up a MySpace Music page for our duo and stuck the samples up on it.

If you're listening to the samples and wondering which voice is mine, I sing the higher part most of the time; in "He Takes Away" I sing the solo on the second verse that begins "Behold Him rise, the glorious Son..." and in "Depth of Mercy" it's my voice on the line "Would not hearken to His calls".

Now back to house-cleaning and other such exciting activities...