Return from the Abyss

For the last eight months, I’ve been working feverishly to complete Hypocrisy, my fourth novel, and am delighted to announce that the first draft is done. Whew! While writing this book, I’ve neglected my wife, pushed aside many of my domestic responsibilities, I have piles of papers that need to be filed, scanned, or shredded, and I haven’t written a new post on my web site and blog in months. Overall, I’ve pretty much been consumed by this book; completely removed from civilization. While writing the other three novels, I did feel a disconnect from the world, and I suspect that many writers experience the same phenomenon. But while writing Hypocrisy, I lived in the story with my characters every conscious minute of day and night.

My wife will verify the fact that my short term memory of late has been terrible. I watch movies and programs on TV, believing that I’ve never seen them before, until my wife reminds me that I’ve already watched them. On the plus side, forgetting what I watched makes each show something new, so when I’m clicking through the channels, I have more choices than “normal” people.

But here’s an interesting fact: In spite of my deteriorating memory, I remember every scene, every character, every plot twist, and just about every word—all 93,494 of them in this book. I’m sure that if I lay down on a leather sofa for intense therapy, a qualified shrink could figure out why when I’m writing I live in another dimension. I guess I suffer from an affliction many “artists” suffer from: Addiction to your craft.

Here’s the crazy part about this bizarre situation.  Although I told my wife that once the final edit is done, which shouldn’t require tremendous effort on my part, I would take a month or two off, clean closets, organize drawers, wash and wax our cars, cook some new, exciting dinners, and find time to just relax and let my brain regenerate. But here’s the thing. I’m already thinking about my next book. The plot is loosely organized in my head. I pretty much know how it’s going to begin and how it will end. In fact, the two main characters are reappearing from previous books so I already know them well and don’t have to spend a great deal of time developing them.

What does all this mean? Simply that somehow, I have to find balance in my life; a balance between writer and member of the human race. I have to devise a way to “turn it off” when I’m not in front of the computer writing. It’s going to be a challenge, but somehow I have to slay this demon. Lest I end up in a padded cell. Hmm. Padded cell? Oh, no! Think I just got another plot idea.

 

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